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9 December 2021

Press release: Duchess of Cambridge invites Little Village volunteers to attend Royal carol service

Four volunteers from Little Village attended Together at Christmas, a community carol service hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge and supported by the Royal Foundation, at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 8th December.

The event, which was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as other members of the Royal Family, paid tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organisations across the UK who have supported their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. The service will be shown on ITV at 7.30pm on Christmas Eve.

Little Village is a baby bank, providing essential items for families going through tough times across London. It also offers advice and emotional support to families who often have nowhere else to turn for help. In August 2020, the Duchess of Cambridge brought together British brands to donate items to Little Village and two other baby banks, Aber Necessities and Baby Basics. The Duchess went on to help Little Village celebrate its fifth anniversary by holding zoom calls with two of the mums the charity has supported.

Sophie Livingstone MBE, CEO of Little Village said:

“It’s wonderful that the hard work and dedication of our volunteers has been recognised by the Duchess of Cambridge and Royal Foundation.

“Our team of over 500 volunteers has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, selflessly spending their own time to help families going through tough times. They have packed and delivered hundreds of bundles of essential items including beds, buggies, cots and toys. These bundles included hundreds of packs of Pampers, which is thanks to the Duchess’ initiative to bring together British brands to donate items to baby banks across the UK.

“I would like to thank the Duchess for being a champion of Little Village and baby banks across the country.”

Philippa Powell, Little Village volunteer, said:

“I was thrilled to represent Little Village at this very special carol service. I don’t feel I did anything above and beyond the work of all the other Little Village volunteers, or those at charities across the country, but I am very proud to have been invited.

“During some of the more difficult days of the last eighteen months, Little Village provided somewhere for me to feel useful; friendly faces, a cup of coffee and a chance to chat. It is the human contact that so many of us missed and a few hours volunteering; folding baby-grows, sorting toys or packing a bundle gave me that contact.

“Packing a bundle of essentials creates a connection with another family. I select items as if I am choosing for a family member or friend: a warm coat with hat and gloves to match, jolly wellies for a rainy day or coordinating top and dungarees. Books and toys that will engage both child and parent, develop language skills, encourage imaginative play and a giggle.

“Time is something that I had and if that could be used to perform a small act of kindness for another then that was an added bonus.”

Kirsty O’Hara, Little Village volunteer, said:

“I started volunteering with Little Village three years ago when my daughter started nursery. When the pandemic hit, I jumped at the chance to be able to do something to help. Each week I collected donations and took them home to be washed and sorted, ready to be sent out to families.

“When the restrictions eased, I began to volunteer in person and became a volunteer-lead, running a sorting and packing session one night a week. It is wonderful to be able to do something to help people who really need it.”

Elizabeth Knowles, Little Village volunteer, said:

“I have been a volunteer for Little Village since it opened its Camden branch more than five years ago. While there are many negatives about the pandemic, one of the positives for us at Little Village has been a shift in how we were able to work which meant that we could reach far more families than ever before because we packed and shipped out directly. Very occasionally we get an emotional message from a family who has just received one of our bundles and it makes all the long hours and shifting heavy boxes worth it!

“I am extremely honoured to be chosen to receive an invite to this concert. Christmas carols are such a meaningful reminder of all that we have to be thankful for, especially during these uncertain times.”

Shelley Esposito volunteers for Little Village and runs the charity’s support desk, she said:

“Whenever there’s a crisis, I try to “look for the helpers” – there will always be people pitching in and looking out for each other. It gives me hope. It makes me feel hopeful to be one of those helpers, especially during the pandemic when things are so desperate in a lot of London communities. Little Village has stepped up to help thousands of families and even expanded their services in some cases.

“I’m part of a signposting and guidance team, which aims to provide extra support to families, beyond the kit and equipment we usually give. I’m honoured to be a small part of this amazing organisation. “I’m honoured to be a guest at this special event. It’s just one of the ways Little Village shows how they value everyone in the community – the families we support, the kind and generous donors, and each volunteer.”


Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Emma Gibbs, Communications Manager at Little Village, on 07593135790

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