19 March 2024

New report shows families in poverty being left out in the cold

Launching its 2023 Impact Report today [Tuesday 19 March], London’s biggest baby bank network, Little Village, reveals it supported more families than ever before in 2023 and currently can’t keep up with the scale of the demand. 

The charity supported 8,529 children in 2023 and when its lines open, on average receives one referral from a school, council, social worker or health professional every 45 seconds. 

In 2022 the charity supported 7,006 children – revealing a 22% increase compared to 2023. 

By gifting essential pre-loved items including cots, prams, clothes, shoes and feeding equipment for 0–5-year-olds, parents said they had enough money to pay for bills and buy food, which they’d otherwise have struggled to afford. 

In 2023, Little Village gifted 1,916 cots and beds, 2,385 buggies, slings, and scooters, 7,747 coats and 15,573 pairs of shoes so that children can have the daily essentials they need. 

The report also showed that 1 in 2 parents (48%) were feeling anxious about how to support their children and are now regularly turning to baby banks like Little Village for vital help.  

Little Village chief executive Sophie Livingstone MBE says that we can’t keep waiting for action to give children living in poverty the best start in life: “We need urgent and thorough systemic change to give parents greater support and their children a chance of a better future. Too many families who are already really struggling, are being driven further down. 

“Currently we can’t keep up with demand. It’s a sad inditement that we could open another 20 hubs across London tomorrow and still not scratch the surface. We speak to mums and dads every day who are distressed and worried about what the future holds. Our baby banks are a critical lifeline to these families but they need more support.” 

According to The Childhood Trust’s report*, 39% of all London’s children are currently growing up in poverty, meaning many families are coming to Little Village baby banks every three months to get the basic essentials they need. 

A parent Little Village supported said: “We need to have our voices heard. Too many families are struggling and in 2024 it shouldn’t be like that. We want to give our children a bright future but it’s so hard in the current climate. The help baby banks like Little Village provide is a lifeline and at least gives us some temporary relief from the impossible emotional and financial balancing act we have to live through every day.” 

Read the report: RLTV42 Impact Report 2024 WEB.