Each year, the Catalyst Social Action Fund resources churches and projects to work within their communities serving disadvantaged people and bringing support, hope and life to those most in need. In this blog, Laura Newberry from Trinity Church London shares about their ‘Baby Basics’ project:
After thinking for several years about setting up a project to help new mums, God confirmed in the autumn of 2018 that this was the right time. I had been given a few words about new adventures and doors opened very quickly after I made the decision to pursue this call. The church I attend in Colindale, North London – Trinity Church – was hugely supportive and encouraged me from the very start that this fitted well with the other social action projects that run from the church.
The project provides a new-born starter pack for vulnerable mums who come from a huge range of circumstances including trafficked women, asylum seekers, domestic violence and very young mums. The pack includes a Moses basket containing a new mattress, bedding, blankets, a towel, nappies, wipes, clothing, a toy, and toiletries for mum and baby. The women are referred to the project by a midwife or other health professional and many of the ladies have nothing at all for the arrival of their new baby other that what they receive from us. The project relies on donations, but everything is carefully ironed and packaged as a gift to be a blessing to the new mum.
After doing some research I decided to become affiliated with a national network called Baby Basics. This is a Christian charity based in Sheffield that began in a church 10 years ago and has grown into a nationwide group of over 35 centres. They offer training, advice, an online system to log referrals, a listening ear, prayer support as well as having a huge amount of experience behind them.
Helpfully, a lady from my church is a midwifery assistant in the team that works with the vulnerable women so relationships with the midwives has been positive and growing well since we began. They confirmed the need and have been overwhelmed by the beautiful baskets that have been given to their clients. One midwife sent a text from a lady who had received a basket. It said “Knowing my little one has somewhere comfy to lay her head means the world and is such a huge weight off my mind. What a lovely surprise to find all the goodies packed inside for both me and baby too! I cannot thank you all enough.”
Through this venture we have built bridges into the community with people that we would not have otherwise come across. We have met many mums donating their precious new-born equipment to us, and another church has been amazing at catching the heart of the project, collecting donations for us regularly. We have a group of knitters who hand-knit beautiful blankets, cardigans and soft toys, and a large number a midwives and health visitors who collect the baskets.
The heart of our project is that no matter the circumstances that surround this new life, we want the mums to know that they are loved and that they, and their babies, are special and have a purpose. If God has given you a heart for a project in the community, but you are unsure where to begin, be encouraged that when you step out in faith, He will be right there with you, opening the doors to make it happen.
Written by Laura Newberry