Blood-stained drugs debris dumped outside Sheffield baby charity 'threatens safety of staff and public'

Blood-stained drugs paraphernalia was left dumped at the entrance to a Sheffield charity for thousands of vulnerable babies and mothers – putting staff, service users and people making donations ‘at risk.’

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 3:10 pm

When Cat Ross, chief executive of Baby Basics, a charity which supports vulnerable mothers and babies, reopened the premises on Glossop Road close to the city centre this week after the festive break she was not prepared for what she saw.

At the back entrance , Cat found piles of needles, pill packets, and items with blood on them littering the steps and ground outside the building where members of the public come to make donations.

Cat, who was told the charity would have to pay Sheffield Council to have the waste removed, said: “It’s just demoralising. It was not the first day back we were planning. I was on hold for hours trying to speak to somebody at the council about it.

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Kate Middleton visits Baby Basics in Sheffield earlier this year

"I am concerned for the safety of our staff, volunteers, service users and the public making donations.

"We don’t feel safe clearing it and where can we put it if we do clean it as it is not safe for refuse collectors? The building is classed as a private property so it is not the council’s responsibility.

"We are a charity so having to pay to have it removed feels very frustrating.”

Angela Argenzio, Green Party councilllor for Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, has been in touch with council officers about the drugs waste.

Cat said that she was concerned for the safety of staff, service users, and members of the public.

She said: “It is a problem for such a lovely charity.

“If they have to pay for the clean up I will see if there is something in the ward pot we can use to support them. I wouldn’t want them to pay for it – it’s a waste of their resources.”

Baby Basics has supported vulnerable people since 2009, and Sheffield has the largest of 54 centres across the UK. The charity saw a 28 per cent increase in referrals in Sheffield in the last year, and a 400 per cent increase following the first lockdown in 2020.

It currently supports more than 10,000 people in Sheffield.

Needles were found at the premises of the charity when the CEO came back to the site after the Christmas break.

Last year, the Duchess of Cambridge visited the charity as she launched a new initiative encouraging British brands to donate to baby banks.

After the Sheffield Telegraph made contact with Sheffield Council today, the authority told Cat it would remove the drugs waste and waive the fee as a one off.

A spokesman for Sheffield Council said: “Our Environmental Health Team are going out to the site this afternoon (January 5) to clear the fly tipping/syringes due to the public health risk they pose and we’ll be working with Baby Basics and other local partners to put a plan in place to try and deter further anti-social behaviour there.”

Councillor Angela Argenzio said that drug use was an issue in the area.
Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics which supports more than 10,000 vulnerable people in Sheffield, and 30,000 nationally.