Group photo of staff and volunteers at Little Village's Brent hub

Baby bank network calls for volunteers to keep supporting families in cost-of-living crisis 

A London-based baby bank network is calling on volunteers to join its Brent hub to keep on supporting families in need amid the cost-of-living crisis

Little Village’s baby bank in Brent is calling on community members to join its volunteer team as the demand for support keeps on increasing due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. 

The bank provides pre-loved clothes, prams, toys and other equipment to families living in poverty across north west London.

Little Village’s Brent hub was the first baby bank of its kind in the borough when it opened in 2021 and it supported 1,764 children in 2023 – a 63% increase from 2022 (1,079).

Renata Acioli, baby bank manager for Little Village in Brent, said: “Families really need us and although the demand for support increases we sometimes have to close our hub because we don’t have the capacity to help as many families as needed.

“Our main challenge is the lack of volunteers.

“That’s what we need the most because we need people to check through the donations we receive before being able to distribute them to families.

“Baby banks are really important because we mainly provide for families who can’t even cover the basic stuff their children need, so I can’t even imagine how these families would cope if we were not doing what we are doing.”

Little Village works through a referral system in which social services, GPs, teachers and other professionals and organisations can refer a family to the charity if they believe that they would benefit from it. 

Since the cost-of-living crisis started Little Village in Brent has seen the number of families being referred to its hub increase significantly.

Little Village CEO Sophie Livingstone MBE said: “Each week, the number of requests for our help exceeds our capacity and the increase in demand for our help is a clear indicator of the increased pressure families are under. 

“The parents we see every day are struggling to afford essentials like warm clothing and bedding so it’s vital for us to support them as best we can to give their children the best start in life.”

Acioli said Little Village in Brent used to mainly receive families who experience economic hardship, women dealing with domestic violence, refugees, single parents, young parents, asylum seekers and women who have experienced human trafficking, but now the hub also supports families in which the parents work full time as they don’t earn enough to cover their children’s costs.

A parent who wished to remain anonymous and attended one of Little Village’s hubs two months ago said: “I used to be careful with how much I spent but I never had to use baby banks until six months ago when I started to properly struggle financially. 

“I don’t know how I would have bought warm clothes for my daughter if I hadn’t been referred to Little Village.

“Baby banks and food banks are so important for so many people at the moment, people who can need to help.”

Acioli said she would like to see more awareness being raised round the crucial role of baby banks in the current cost-of-living crisis as well as to receive more financial support from the borough and the government to be able to keep up with the costs of running the hub including paying rent and staff and heating the facilities.

Little Village’s Brent hub celebrated its second birthday last December with Mayor of Brent Councillor Orleen Hylton and London Assembly Member for Brent and Harrow Krupesh Hirani who expressed their support for the charity’s work.

To find out how to volunteer at Little Village Brent, visit its hub at UNCLE building in Wembley Central at 7 Park Lane, HA9 7RH (just minutes from Wembley Central station) or go to

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