Spurgeons marked the third Christmas season for its Together for Families programme in Wiltshire by delivering its 176th ‘Baby Bundle’, to a young mother-to-be from Trowbridge. A Baby Bundle for an unborn baby includes items such as nappies, cotton wool, maternity pads, blankets, cot sheets, muslins, hats, bibs and vests, sleep suits and baby clothes, for the first six months.
Each bundle is lovingly made up to order and, depending on availability, might also include a highchair, stairgates, bouncy chair, play gym and – especially at Christmas – toys. They are put together to help families identified as being in financial need, referred to Spurgeons by midwives, health visitors, social workers and local children’s centres.
All bundle items are donated by charities such as NCT, traders from Wiltshire Little Pickles Markets, local businesses, members of Mothers’ Union groups, local churches, voluntary groups and parents from Spurgeons’ nearby children’s centres.
The voluntary groups include some dedicated knitters’ groups, like at Seymour Community Hub, Kingfisher Church and the Craft Ladies group from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, for example, who give their time and skills to craft cardigans, teddy bears and blankets for the families.
Churches in Westbury have helped in other practical ways, particularly with storage.
“For the families who receive the bundles, getting a hand-knitted cardigan or crocheted blanket shows them that someone cares enough to create and pass on these beautiful items,” said Ruth Brooks-Martin of Spurgeons’ Together for Families project, in Wiltshire.
“We’re so grateful for everything that is donated for the baby bundles; without the support of the many kind people who give and make clothes, donate toys and supply other baby items, the scheme simply couldn’t run,” she added.
Spurgeons set up its Together for Families project in Wiltshire in March 2017. The programme is designed to support local churches and communities to provide safe, nurturing groups for families in their area.
Churches and community groups have been supported to set up or develop parent and toddler groups, while 250 families have completed New Parent, New Baby courses over the last two years. They have also delivered several volunteer training courses, helping to secure a real lifeline service for local families.
If there are any churches or community groups in Wiltshire who would like to set up a parent and toddler group, or similar, or could do with some support for an existing group, they can contact the Together for Families team through Ruth Brooks-Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07901 332829.