'It takes a village to raise a child.' Some say it’s an African proverb, others reckon it’s an indigenous American saying. But we’d all agree that children grow up happiest in strong communities.

Which is why KIDLY’s so proud to announce a new partnership with Little Village, a charity which runs a network of baby banks across London where they collect, sort and pass on pre-loved clothes and equipment for children aged 0-5. Here's how KIDLY and Little Village are joining forces to help many more families.

bundles of clothes at Little Village

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 actually one of the main motivators for the group of friends who set up Little Village in 2016. Lydia Edwards, their Corporate Partnerships Manager, explains: “They heard about a mum nearby who had lost everything in a fire and put a call out for donations of kids’ items. Within a short time, so many things were donated they realised how much stuff was out there, and how great the need was. It made perfect sense to create a space for people to donate things, and a place for families to collect the 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 they set up Little Village: 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. "The charity's grown rapidly in the past 6 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 have 935 volunteers supporting young families across London. We've reached over 25,000 children since we started in 2016."

mother & baby holding a 'gift a bundle' pack

Our New Returns Partner

KIDLY loves everything about their mission to keep good quality kids' stuff from going to waste, while supporting families who are really struggling to afford even the very basics. So Little Village is now our official ‘returns partner’. Throughout 2023, we’ll be donating returned items, production samples and surplus stock.

Throughout 2023, we’ll be donating 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. Knowing that we're going to get a constant flow of great quality new items from KIDLY all year will make a real difference to loads of families."

Helping by vol

Katy stacking box onto shelf

In November, Team KIDLY 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.

Girls clothes on rack

girls boots on rack

two girls on scooters in princess dress-ups

Getting to choose your own dress-up and a scooter is fun!

“Treating families with respect is so important,” says Lydia. “We like to welcome them in and say, 'please choose what you 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 favourite 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 favourite clothes and toys."

WATCH THIS SPACE

We'll be doing lots more volunteering, donating and collecting on Little Village's behalf throughout the year. So keep your eyes peeled and, if you'd like to help out, here's how you can:

How you can help Little Village:

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 drop stuff at KIDLY's pop-up shop in St Albans, until January 2023.

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.

'From Little Village' being written on envelope

volunteer with laughing girl in yellow

sock-o-meter at Little village

Volunteering - and sorting socks! - is fun and you can bring your kids to help out too. Find out how to help out here.