BabyStart aims to give newborn babies the best possible start in life. The registered charity provides free comprehensive care packages to babies living in challenging circumstances. There’s everything newborns need, from nappies and care products to baby grows, towels, socks and a hat. There’s even a copy of the children’s classic book The Wonky Donkey to enjoy.
BabyStart operates nationwide and took its inspiration from the tradition in Finland of providing newborns with boxes of baby supplies. Anyone can purchase one of BabyStart’s high-quality infant care packages. And each one sold provides an identical one for a family in need. The charity distributes around 400 donated boxes annually through partner agencies like social services and Te Whatu Ora. Up to 40 care packages are delivered in The West alone.
According to BabyStart’s founder, Philip Horrobin, the charity isn’t just about meeting a baby’s basic needs. ‘Our care packages also encourage positive parenting practices and engagement with maternal health services,’ he says.
Social workers and healthcare professionals distribute the care packages and use the items inside to start conversations with whānau about the baby’s needs and good parenting. ‘The comprehensive package of infant care items encourages families to engage with services and the community,’ says Philip. He adds that it also provides high-quality basic necessities for a baby’s arrival.
According to Philip, demand for BabyStart’s boxes exceeds supply. And never more so than in the past year with the cost-of-living crisis affecting more families than ever.
‘The economic situation is putting a huge financial strain on many more families with newborn babies,’ Philip says. He adds that every parent knows how challenging those first few weeks with a new baby can be. And those stresses are magnified if you struggle to provide basic supplies for your infant.
However, thanks to the help of the Your West Support Fund, that burden has been eased for more families in The West. Funding of $8,233 has provided an extra 20 baby boxes for residents in The West. ‘The Your West Support Fund has made a big difference to many locals,’ Philip reports.
BabyStart is the only organisation in the country supplying new infant care packages containing only brand-new items. To find out more, donate a baby box or buy one for family and friends, check out BabyStart’s website.