BY TOBY PORTER
A pub saved from the bulldozer by community activists is set to become the base for a charity helping less-well-off parents cope with the costs of bringing up a child.
Baby charity Little Village is creating a “baby bank” to offer buggies, clothes and equipment in a bid to tackle child poverty, which runs at up to 40 per cent in some parts of Southwark.
Donation sessions will begin this month at the community-owned pub, The Ivy House, in Peckham, which is to become the base.
Staff smashed their fundraising target to raise more than £6,000 in April – and since then members have been busy putting the money to good use preparing their new outlet at the pub in Peckham Rye.
Little Village, set up in 2015, works like a food bank, by collecting donations of great quality baby clothes and equipment, and passing them on to local families in need through weekly drop-in sessions.
It already has two successful branches in Wandsworth and Camden.
The aim is to promote sustainable living: donors can pass on outgrown clothes and baby kit – and families in need don’t just receive the crucial great quality baby gear they require but also advice and referrals on to other services which could offer them further help.
Little Village Southwark co-founder Tessa Blunden was also part of the team which saved The Ivy House from property developers – she was part of the group which re-opened it as the UK’s first community-owned pub in 2013. She is passionate about how much of a difference Little Village can make to families in the area.
She said: “Our research found that the child poverty rate in Southwark is 37 per cent, with some parts at more than 40 per cent. This translates to more than one-in-three children in our borough living in poverty.
“As parents ourselves, we know it can be tough and isolating, but it’s unimaginably so for a parent who’s really struggling to provide for their kids, so we want to make it as easy as possible for families to support each other in a sustainable and friendly way.
“We’ve seen the amazing work done by Little Village at their existing sites and we look forward to bringing all that practical help and support to our own neighbourhood here in Southwark.
“We’ve been taken aback by all the wonderful support we have received so far. The money we raised from the Crowdfunder has allowed us to get into brilliant shape for the opening.
“Our community has such a big heart.
“We are really excited to have our first donation session on the horizon – we can take items like cots, moses baskets and buggies, as well as clothes in great condition, and toys and books for under-fives.
“All our items of kit and clothes are gifts from one family to another, so we only accept great quality donations.”
The first donation session will be at Priory Court Tenants Hall SE15 on June 23 from 1-4pm.
Interested people can find out more at https://littlevillagehq.org and follow them on Facebook @littlevillagesouthwark or on Twitter @ littlevillagesk.