'Baby bank' set up in Derry to provide struggling mums and dads with all equipment they need but cannot afford

New support service being offered by local charity

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A Derry charity has opened a 'baby bank' to provide struggling mums and dads with all the baby equipment they need but cannot afford.

The 'Little Ducklings' bank is based at the Kinship Care NI headquarters on Carlisle Road.

It came about after staff at the organisation's social enterprise charity shops, 'Kindness of Strangers' and 'Kids 'n' Kinship,' noticed a high demand for prams, cots, bouncers, changing tables and play mats.

Jacqueline Williamson, chief executive of Kinship Care NI, said they were already helping families on an ad hoc basis.

"Having a new baby is a very expensive time and some people's circumstances are such that they can't afford everything that their baby needs.

"A lot of people would private message us asking for things.

"And we would always have put items away for families who are struggling from big items like prams and travel systems to the very, very basic everyday items like vests and nappies."

In response to the high levels of need, the decision was taken to open a dedicated 'baby bank' where all items would be supplied free of charge to people who cannot meet the costs associated with having a baby.

"Just this morning we had a girl come in who had a baby boy nine days ago and needed a pram," said Ms Williamson.

"You could see the relief on her face."

'Little Ducklings' has now appealed for anyone with baby equipment in new or nearly new condition to drop it in to any of the local Kindness of Strangers' and 'Kids 'n' Kinship' charity shops.

"We would people only to donate something that they would happily put their own child in," said Ms Williamson.

"We are able to accept prams, buggies, changing stations, high chairs, baby walkers, milk prep machines, sterilisers and baby monitors, baby bedding, nappies, wipes, unopened toiletries and sealed formula, but unfortunately we cannot accept car seats.

"What we are able to give out very much depends on what we get in.

"Everything that is donated will be used by people who need it in the Derry area.

"The Derry people have always been incredibly generous and are great at looking after their own.

"When you have a baby you buy this and that but within a very short time you don't need it anymore.

"You might put it away but 9 times out of 10 you won't need it again, but someone else will.

"We've already had some really great donations of barely worn baby clothes that are as good as new and lots and lots of nappies of all sizes.

"The generosity and kindness of local people is amazing."

If you would like to donate any items you can drop them off at 'Kindness of Strangers' 2 Castle Street, or 'Kids 'n' Kinship,' 5 Castle Street and 71 Spencer Road or Kinship Care's NI office at 67 Carlisle Road.

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