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Monday, December 5, 2022
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Rising living costs set to cause ‘worst year yet’ for Harrow families in poverty

Cariad Baby Bank said today that the local families it supports are set to face the worst year yet, with fuel and food prices set to rise and the impact of covid still being felt for many.

Cariad Baby Bank was one of 90 baby banks surveyed by one of the largest baby banks in the UK, Little Village. The survey shows that UK baby banks fear that 2022 will be the worst year yet for families trapped in poverty.

Ninety-eight per cent of the 90 baby banks surveyed by Little Village said 2022 will be their busiest year yet.

The research shows that baby banks believe that the rising cost of living is to blame for so many families needing support from their services, with almost all – 90% – listing this as the top reason for families needing help.

The top reasons baby banks gave for families needing their help are:

• Rising living costs: 90%
• Cut to Universal Credit uplift: 77%
• Job losses due to covid: 58%
• Housing costs: 48%
• Childcare costs: 31%

When asked what impact poverty is having on the children they support, the baby banks said:

• Children not wearing adequate clothing or shoes, such as having no winter coat, or shoes too small: 94%
• Children not having a safe place to sleep, for example babies sleeping on towels, sofa cushions, co-sleeping with parents and siblings: 79%
• Lacking basic hygiene products like soap, bubble bath, toothpaste: 74%
• Emotional or social problems: 69%
• Children not having nappy changed regularly due to lack of nappies: 62%
• Children going hungry: 36%
It is thought that over 1.3 million of the four million children living in poverty in the UK are aged under five.

Lauren Enright from Cariad Baby Bank said: “These statistics speak for themselves and are reflective of the situation we find ourselves in here in Harrow. In the last month, we have had 5 times the usual number of referrals, reflecting the growing need and desperate situations that people are finding themselves facing. Families are struggling to provide basics for their children like nappies or warm clothing, let alone things like toys or books or larger items such as somewhere safe to sleep.

“We are really concerned about the fuel rises, there’s a very real risk that many of the children we support will be living in freezing homes because their parents can’t afford to put the heating on.

“There is not enough support for the families of young children trapped in poverty and we would like the Government to put adequate financial support in place to prevent these families from going into crisis.”

“This was the response from one of the mothers we have supported recently: ‘Thank you so much, I am so grateful. I don’t know who else I can ask for help.’”

Cariad Baby Bank works on a referral basis, taking referrals from a wide range of professionals and organisations that work with families such as health visitors and social workers. Run by a small team of volunteers, they provide items for families with children up to 5 years old including child and adult toiletries, clothes and shoes, toys and books and baby items such as bibs, blankets, Moses Baskets, changing mats, bouncers, slings and high chairs.

For more information, see www.cariadbabybank.org.