Sir David Amess supports new charity Sunshine Baby Bank ahead of their launch on Saturday

A new charity, called the Sunshine Baby Bank, is being launched this Saturday 20th June to support vulnerable children and their families in Southend-on-Sea and Rochford. The Sunshine Baby Bank has been fast-tracked for approval by the Charity Commission in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Inspired by a network of baby banks across the UK, the Sunshine Baby Bank will buy and supply new and donated baby care items for the parents of infants (0-5 years old) who are living in poverty.

Established with an initial donation from local residents, the Sunshine Baby Bank will help to coordinate support between the NHS, local government, other third sector agencies and private companies to alleviate the suffering of an estimated 34% of children living in relative poverty across large parts of the locality. A situation which is thought to have deteriorated further since the Coronavirus lockdown.

Commenting on the launch, Sunshine Baby Bank trustee and local resident Nicole Schnackenberg, said:

“The Covid-19 crisis is having a devastating impact on those families with young children who are living in poverty. Parts of Southend-on-Sea and Rochford were already suffering from some of the highest rates of child poverty in the East of England, and this support is now urgently needed by families and single parents cut off from their usual support networks.”

“All the evidence suggests that life chances, mental health and educational development are significantly improved by alleviating poverty in children’s early years. By establishing this charity, we aim to bring relief to children when they most need it and hope to their parents who are struggling in very difficult circumstances.”

Laura Cooper, also a local Sunshine Baby Bank trustee, said:

“As the government’s support for companies and furloughed workers is withdrawn over the coming weeks, it’s inevitable that many families in the locality will face impossible choices between keeping a roof over their heads, putting food on the table and providing essential items for their children. The Sunshine Baby Bank will be a ray of light and support for these residents, providing free essential equipment in the challenging times that lie ahead.”

Sir David Amess, Member of Parliament (MP) for Southend West, said:

"I am pleased to welcome a new charity, the Sunshine Baby Bank, into Southend-on-Sea and the surrounding areas to give much needed support to parents of infants. Parents with young children who struggle financially at the best of times need our support, but especially so during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is important that children who experience poverty get the help they deserve, and Sunshine Baby Bank will do just that. I look forward to working with them in the future and wish them the best of luck with their launch on Saturday.”

In its first year, the charity aims to help at least 500 families, beginning with a summer campaign to supply hundreds of free bundles of new items and equipment.

The Sunshine Baby Bank will not have any direct contact with the users of its services, and nor will it hold data on users. Instead it will work through health, education, children and community professionals for referrals to its services. For more information please refer to the charity’s preview website at https://sunshinebabybank.org.uk