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June 28, 2021

Baby Bank charity fears ‘long-term lockdown’ for low-income families

Little Village press release

Embargoed until Monday 28 June 2021 at 00:01

Press contact – Emma Gibbs 07593 135790

Baby Bank charity fears ‘long-term lockdown’ for low-income families

Baby Bank charity, Little Village, says it fears that many families living on the breadline will continue to be stuck in ‘long-term lockdown’ for years to come, thanks to a combination of job losses, ill health and mental health problems, all caused by the pandemic.

Little Village carried out a snapshot survey of the professionals it works with. The survey found that over 80% of professionals are concerned about the long-term impact of the pandemic on low-income families.

The charity is like a baby bank, providing essential items for families with children aged 0-5 across London. It also offers emotional and practical support for parents who have nowhere else to turn for help. In 2020 it supported 5,534 children under the age of five, which is almost double the number it saw in the previous year.

Little Village surveyed 147 of the professionals such as midwives, social workers and charity professionals who refer low-income families to it for support. According to respondents:

  • 83.3% said that children in poverty are suffering immediate difficulties as a result of the pandemic
  • 81% said that children will suffer long-term consequences of the pandemic
  • 97% said they had seen an increase in mental health difficulties during the pandemic
  • 90% said the Government needs to put more support into looking after low-income families at this time

A similar survey was carried out a year ago and the new survey has highlighted a 13% increase in professionals’ concerns over the long-term impact of the pandemic.

So concerned is the charity about the number of families needing its help, it has launched an emergency fundraising appeal, ‘Village Support Bubble,’ aimed at raising £60,000 to ensure it can continue its vital work.

Little Village’s CEO, Sophie Livingstone MBE, said:

“Lockdown is easing for most people, but we’re really concerned that life isn’t going to improve much for families trapped in poverty. We’re calling this ‘long-term lockdown’ as we think that for many poor families, life will carry on with many of the same limitations we’ve seen during the pandemic, and this could last for many months or even years.

“Families tell us they are struggling to pay bills, buy food and clothe their children. They see others going out and spending money, which makes them feel even more isolated.

“Little Village is busier than ever, seeing families who continue to suffer the consequences of the pandemic and this shows no sign of stopping. We have just launched an emergency fundraising ‘Village Support Bubble’ appeal so that we can continue to provide essentials like clothes, buggies, cots and nappies.”

One mum, Louise, who received support from Little Village during the pandemic, said:

“Things are opening up and people are going out, going on holidays, going to the pub, and that makes me feel isolated and it makes me feel like a bad mum. I can’t get the children the things they need and the things they want. I feel like I’m not good enough.

“Just because everything’s opening up it’s not like I can look at my bank account and suddenly I’ve got money, it’s not happening. Everyone is bragging about going out, going shopping … ‘I went out and got the kids this,’ but I can’t afford to get my kids anything. It was better in lockdown in a way, because everyone was equal.

“Now everything’s getting back to normal it’s made me more aware of that gap, there’s the people that can do things, and the people that can’t.”

A professional who refers families to Little Village said:

“Sadly, I expect we will be seeing the after-effects of the pandemic for several years after it has officially ended, for children who have been living in poverty.”

Information about the Little Village Support Bubble fundraiser is here.


Notes to editors

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