Cwtch Baby Bank
1119. Hilary Johnston
Hilary Johnston, from South Wales, is the founder and chair of trustees for the charity ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’, the first service of its kind in Wales to support vulnerable families in the community by redistributing used baby equipment.
After retiring from 20 years of foster caring babies up to the age of two, Hilary realised that there were no existing charities in Wales for her to donate her leftover baby equipment to. She launched the ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’ in 2016 to help share essential items, such as clothing, toys and toiletries for newborn to 24 month old babies, to families in the community, working with local health and social care professionals to ensure donations are directed to those with greatest need. ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’ has now supported over 1,300 families in South Wales, and Hilary holds regular fundraising events to fund the service.
In a personal letter to Hilary, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’, you are having a positive impact on the lives of many vulnerable families in South Wales by ensuring access to essential baby equipment. Your dedication and passion for helping others is truly remarkable, and you should feel very proud of how your service is allowing thousands of essential items to be redistributed to those in need.”
“I started ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’ nearly three years ago when I retired from fostering and wanted to donate baby equipment to a Baby Bank. I soon realised there were many Baby Banks in England but not the equivalent in Wales so ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’ was born with the help of my friends.
“We recycle preloved baby clothes and equipment taking referrals from midwives, health visitors and health professionals caring for families in need. This way we make sure our special bundles go where they are needed. Our charity has grown very quickly and although we are completely volunteer run and self funding we have managed to help over 1500 families and hopefully will continue to help many more.
“I am so pleased to receive this award from the Prime Minister recognising the hard work put into ‘Cwtch Baby Bank’.”