BY TOBY PORTER email@example.com
A charity which supports families with children aged under five is set to expand into a deprived borough after reaching a milestone in a nearby centre.
Little Village, a Balham-based charity, last week helped its 1,000th family in Wandsworth – and it will now move into Southwark.
Little Village is like a foodbank, but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children before school and in their first years in class.
It provides support and vital supplies for some of the borough’s most vulnerable families.
The organisation collects donations of high quality baby and children’s items from local parents who are looking to pass them on.
Families who urgently need essential equipment or clothing are referred to Little Village by professionals like health visitors or midwives.
They are then invited to attend weekly drop-in sessions where they can choose the items they need.
These sessions not only provide material goods, but many families benefit emotionally, receiving support from staff, volunteers and like-minded parents.
Since being set up in 2016, Little Village Wandsworth has given items worth more than £612,000 including: 340 safe places to sleep (cots, cotbeds, moses baskets and travel cots), 366 buggies, enough high chairs to reach the height of the Wembley Arch and enough baby grows to require a washing line, three football pitches long.
Little Village’s Founder and chief executive, Sophia Parker, is a Tooting-based mum-of-three who has held senior leadership positions in think tanks and charities, as well as working in government.
She said: “Supporting 1,000 families is a fantastic milestone and makes me incredibly proud of our dedicated team of volunteers and staff, but sadly it also indicates a dire level of need in our local communities.
“Child poverty is rising for the first time in 20 years and we are certainly seeing the impact of that at Little Village.
“Every week we meet parents raising their kids in desperate circumstances. We see mums unable to pay for nappies and food, babies sleeping on towels and broken beds, newborns living in rat-infested properties.
It’s heartbreaking. “My ultimate dream is for the need for organisations like ours to decline, but sadly we are seeing quite the opposite.”
The organisation is based at Little Village Wandsworth, St Mark’s Church, 53 Rowfant Road.
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