Baby Basics Sheffield: City pre-school children’s charity ‘overwhelmed’ as cost of living crisis bites
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Baby Basics Sheffield, which provides items for pre school children across the city for families who are struggling financially, says it has had to cap its waiting list for cots and beds and warned that 30 children on its waiting list would not get a bed from them as it faced the double challenge of rising demand at the same time as it was seeing falling donations.
The organisation is calling on official agencies and the public for help.
The charity’s chief executive, Cat Ross, said: “What we’re facing in Sheffield is a huge issue with the expectation of what is going to come with the cost of living crisis. At the moment we have 50 children aged between four months and four years old who are on a waiting list for a bed from us and we cannot get beds in fast enough, get them safety checked and get them picked up and out to the families, so we are having to make some really tough decisions here in Sheffield as we see our referral rates increase, and donations understandably, reduce, because everyone is trying to save money right now.
“So we are having to cap our waiting list, at 20 children, which means right now there are going to be 30 children in the city who don’t get a bed from us, and we are the only place in the city where you can access a bed for an under five year old.
“So we are calling on lots of people in the city, our statutory services, our MPs, our councillors, and the general public, to get behind us and help us find a way to tackle bed poverty.”
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Over the last 13 years the charity has worked to support health and social care professionals across the city to meet the needs of their clients by providing all the essentials, excluding food, needed for children from pre-birth to five years old.
To date in 2022 they have supported over 6,000 children and their families in the city, an increase of 28 per cent on referral rates for 2021.
Ms Ross added: “Child poverty in the city seems to be increasing daily and we are being overwhelmed with requests for support.”
Their waiting lists also currently include 18 babies either born or due to be born in October waiting list for a pram; 24 under fives waiting for a toddler buggy and 45 families with two under threes waiting for a double buggy.
“We hate having to hear stories of babies sleeping in prams or on floors and knowing that we can not immediately help,” said Ms Ross.
“We also know that without the provision of a cot or a bed a child is at huge risk of harm and therefore may be referred to social services, which increases the pressure on statutory services and incurs much higher cost to the Local Authority than the purchase of a cot would.”