Sophie's 2023 round-up

Dear Volunteers,

As we come towards the end of 2024, I find myself torn. I’m immensely proud of what everyone has achieved this year – we’ve supported over 8,000 children so far – more than 25% than last year already.

But much of this is due to the difficult realities faced by families. We’re hearing too often about them making terrible choices no-one should have to make: nappy rationing, heating or eating, turning off the fridge to save energy costs, sleeping four to a bed for warmth.

However, when they come to Little Village, families continually report how they are met with love, commitment and passion. From our shop volunteers to those on the phone, those at events to those driving cots and buggies around London – thank you to each and every one of you for the 30,000 hours you’ve so far poured into Little Village this year.

I’ve been lucky to spend time with a lot of you, be that on site or on a driving shift or on a zoom call with the Signposting & Guidance team to learn more. I sadly can’t get around every shift, but every time I meet Little Village volunteers I’m energized and inspired.

This year, raising awareness of Baby Banks was an important priority. Unlike food banks, people just don’t know about us, and there are over 200 across the UK. So, coming together with Save the Children, Purposeful Ventures and Baby Bank Network Bristol we have formed the Baby Bank Alliance. Our idea: we’re stronger together to tackle the systemic issues surrounding childhood poverty. We’re sharing knowledge, resources and time to amplify the conversation.

As part of this, The Sun newspaper featured us in their “Baby, Bank on Us” campaign. We welcomed some high-profile visits, tv and press coverage, as well as the endorsement of the Princess of Wales. All of this helped us to draw attention to the difficulties families face and the crucial work of baby banks.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of our strategy review over the last six months. This means, we’re looking at what’s next and where our areas of focus will be. We’ve spoken to families, communities, staff and volunteers as part of this review before taking it to the Board of Trustees. Our priorities for the next three years are to continue to support young families in London and to raise national awareness of Baby Banks.

Alongside this, we need to grow our ‘village’ of volunteers, donors and supporters and be more reflective of the communities we support, whilst making sure we’ve got the right infrastructure (tech, systems, spaces) in place to allow all this to happen. It’s a lot of work but I know we’re up to the challenge.

On behalf of everyone at Little Village as well as our families, I want to truly thank you for being part of this amazing community in 2023.

Sophie Livingstone MBE
CEO of Little Village