These three south London mums are setting up a baby clothes and equipment donation service out of a Nunhead Pub, and here’s how you can help…
Lead image: Tom Victorio-Jones
Founded on the principle that it takes a village to raise a child, Little Village is a donation service that provides clothes, toys, equipment and books for children under the age of five in need.
Families effected by poverty or who require a little extra help are referred by professionals, GPs and food banks to receive essential items donated by local people through the initiative. Existing branches in Wandsworth and Camden have already been extremely successful, having helped over 1,000 children so far.
We can’t make everything better, but we can make a difference
Now three south London mothers – Marie Dixon, Hannah Brinley and Tessa Blunden – are bringing the idea to the borough of Southwark. According to figures from HM Revenue and Customs in 2014, 28% of children in Southwark were living in poverty and 2015 estimates from the campaign group End Child Poverty suggest that figure is closer to 37%.
‘You know these are children who are less likely to have somewhere safe to sleep and they’re less likely to have a warm coat to wear in winter,’ Blunden says. ‘And this is a problem that we can help do something about. We can’t make everything better, but we can make a difference – and Little Village is a fantastic way to do that.’
When the service is up and running in the next few months, the trio will be holding weekly drop-in sessions, which families can attend after their referral to select the things they need.
‘But it’s also a chance to just get out the house and meet other parents and so receive a little bit of extra support and have a cup of tea,’ Blunden adds.
The sessions are set to be held at London’s first co-operatively owned pub, The Ivy House in Nunhead, which Blunden was a key member in saving. And given that it was designed to benefit the community, it’s the perfect location for Little Village.
We know what it’s like to be a parent. It can be really challenging under the best of circumstances, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for local families to help each other
Brinley tells me that when she had her son just over a year ago, one of the major things that shocked her was just how much stuff babies need. Lucky to have a number of friends and family who had things to donate to her, it really made her realise how hard it must be for people who didn’t have that. So when Blunden told her about Little Village, she was sold immediately.
‘We know what it’s like to be a mum, to be a parent, and we know that that can be really challenging under the best of circumstances,’ says Blunden. ‘It can also be really lonely and isolating, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for local families to help each other in a way that’s sustainable, local and friendly.’
Find out more about Little Village Southwark in the video below:
Find out more about Little Village here