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Community rallies together to help Bromley families in need

PUBLISHED: 10:38 13 June 2014 | UPDATED: 10:38 13 June 2014

Volunteers Nancy Lengthorn, Georgette Purdey, Tracy Griffin, Emma Martin, and Jo Gibson, outside Georgette's garage where they have been storing donated items.

Volunteers Nancy Lengthorn, Georgette Purdey, Tracy Griffin, Emma Martin, and Jo Gibson, outside Georgette's garage where they have been storing donated items.

Archant

Child or baby items you no longer need could make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable parents.

This is the thinking behind Bromley Brighter Beginnings, a charity established in 2012 to support destitute parents, providing them with items like cots, baby clothes and buggies.

Families are referred by midwives, social workers and health visitors and the charity is staffed entirely by volunteers who are all mothers themselves.

Chair Emma Martin said: “We’ve got about 15 volunteers and we have a huge network of supporters in the community and people donate things for mums, people with young children who have fallen on hard times.

“I think it makes a huge difference to people because the people that we are dealing with have come from very, very difficult backgrounds and often have a great deal of personal problems.

“If they feel that somebody is on their side for the first time it makes a massive difference.”

So far more than 50 families have benefitted from the hard work of the charity.

“We have been amazed by what we have seen here, the level of poverty that we have seen on our doorstep.”

A main tool they use is Facebook, and they have a group which currently has around 400 members.

When they get a referral they will post a message asking for the items needed and a volunteer will pick them up and deliver them.

Volunteer Georgette Purdey referenced a case of a woman who had fled a scene of domestic violence with her children, leaving with nothing.

After putting a call out on Facebook they had around 50 offers of items in an afternoon.

Georgette said: “When the bags came with all the toys and clothes for the kids she was just overwhelmed.

“It was quite an amazing example of how the community can rally together.”

The volunteers are now struggling to find room to store all of the items kindly donated to them.

Georgette said: “We do have a smaller storage unit, very small, where we do have some basics that we keep but we don’t have a lot of space.

“Sometimes we have to say no to stuff which is a real shame. I have been storing some stuff in my own garage, we are starting to get quite a high turn around.”

Emma added: “As we have grown we are now starting to take much bigger items, really we need a small warehouse or something but it’s obviously very expensive.”

Emma hopes to see the charity grow and spread to other areas in the future.

“In the longer term I would like to see this all over the country. This isn’t a Bromley problem, this is a problem that we have everywhere.

“It’s such a simple thing, people are recycling things that they don’t even need anymore but it’s making such a difference to the self esteem of these women.

“If it appeals to people here, then it will appeal to people everywhere.”

For more information about the charity visit Facebook.com/groups/BromleyBrighterBeginnings or babypacks.org.uk.

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