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Sefton Baby Baskets

Crosby’s Soroptimists welcomed Gill Ruane, founder of Sefton Baby Baskets, as speaker at a recent club meeting.
Gill Ruane (r) with Soroptimist President Margaret Davidson

Sefton Baby Baskets is a young local organisation dedicated to the youngest members of our community. Set up only two years ago, and led by volunteers, it acts as a ‘baby bank’.

Women who are struggling to provide for a new baby receive a Moses basket containing essentials for the first three months – clothes, nappies, sleep bags, toiletries, muslins, toys, etc. There are pyjamas, slippers and some toiletries for the mothers, too.

How does it work? Health visitors, social workers, welfare staff in housing associations, the Red Cross, refuge staff, etc  identify the need and make the referrals. They collect the baskets and give them to give to the mothers.

Gill explained that about 80% of the goods in the baskets are second-hand – donated by hundreds of generous people, and then freshly laundered. The organisation buys some items, principally a new mattress for each basket.

The unit cost to Sefton Baby Baskets is approximately £19, thanks to all the donations. (The mattresses are, of course, the major expense.) The ‘real’ value per basket, in terms of new items, is over £350. The organisation sometimes appeals via its social media when there is a special need for clothes or equipment.

Gill brought a sample basket to show the Soroptimists. Each one is packed by volunteers, then wrapped and beribboned – a beautiful gift for each new mother.

As word spreads through the welfare sector, and women in dire need are identified, demand is increasing. In the first six months of 2022 over 160 mothers received baskets.

The Soroptimists presented Gill with a cheque (“That means five more mattresses!”, she said) and several bags of baby goods.