'It takes a village to raise a child.' Some say it’s an African proverb, or a native American saying. Wherever the statement originated, we can all agree that children grow up happiest in strong communities.
Which is why KIDLY’s in partnership with Little Village. A charity which runs a network of baby banks across London, they collect, sort and pass on pre-loved clothes and equipment for children aged 0-5.
We love Little Village's, mission to keep good quality kids' stuff from going to waste, while supporting the most vulnerable families.
A Sustainable Mission
Sustainability was one of the main motivators for the group of friends who set up Little Village in 2016. Lydia Edwards, their Corporate Partnerships Manager, explains: “The friends heard about a mum nearby who had lost everything in a fire, so they put a call out to get donations of kids’ items to help her. Within a short time, so many things were donated they realised the quantity of stuff that's out there. It made perfect sense to these friends to create a space for people to donate, and a place for families to collect items they desperately needed.”
Little Village is somewhere for families to donate quality kids' gear they no longer need, or for families facing hardship to find practical help in a friendly, non-judgemental and supportive way.
And so Little Village was born: a place to donate quality kids' gear, and where families facing hardship can find practical help in a friendly, non-judgemental and supportive way. "The charity's grown rapidly in the past 7 years," says Lydia. "In fact, with the cost-of-living crisis, we’ve doubled the number of staff over the last 18 months and currently we've got 935 volunteers supporting young families across London. We've reached over 25,000 children since we started in 2016."
Our Returns Partner
KIDLY loves everything about their mission to keep good quality kids' stuff from going to waste, and supporting families who struggle to afford the very basics. Little Village is our official ‘returns partner’: we regularly send them returned or surplus stock and our production samples.
We’ve donated returned items, production samples and surplus stock to Little Village.
"We are often short of stock and volunteers," explains Lydia. "If we don’t have either, we can’t help anyone. Getting a constant flow of great quality new items from KIDLY makes a real difference to loads of families."
Helping by volunteering
Team KIDLY has also volunteered at their baby bank in Brent, picking and packing parcels to be sent out. Each parcel is made up of carefully selected items, tailored to the family’s needs – clothes and toys, baby kit, nappies and toiletries, cots, buggies and slings.
Some Little Village sites, like the one we visited, are set out like shops, with everything nicely displayed, so families can come in if they want to, and browse for themselves. We were so impressed: they're so welcoming, with such warm and lovely volunteers and so much great quality stuff just waiting to go to new homes.
“Treating families with respect matters so much,” says Lydia. "So they're welcomed in and told to choose what they like. When parents get to make their own choices, it helps them feel a little bit more empowered in challenging times. Plus of course it's fun for kids to pick their own clothes and toys!”
"When parents get to make their own choices, it helps them feel a little bit more empowered in challenging times. Plus of course it's fun for the kids to pick out their own clothes and toys."
HOW YOU CAN HELP LITTLE VILLAGE
If you'd like to help out, here's how you can:
1. You can give money
You can donate money which is used to buy toiletries and nappies, to cover transportation costs and to keep the lights on at Little Village locations.
2. You can give time
If you’re based in the London area, you can just sign up to volunteer here. You can go by yourself, with friends, or as a family group. Or, why not get your company involved?
3. You can donate items
You can donate items directly at their London hubs or you can post items to: Little Village Hounslow (formerly Debenhams), 1st Floor, Unit 27, Treaty Shopping Centre, High Street, TW3 1ES. Here's a full list of what Little Village can and can't use.
Or you can donate your clothes, toys and equipment for 0-5s to other UK baby banks. Find one that's near to you here.