It takes a village to raise a child
Each year we choose a new charity to support. Last year, we helped Mind transform their consultation rooms into a warm, open, and welcoming place to be. Mind provides counselling and advice to anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and between 2017 and 2018, supported a staggering 425,000 people. Thanks to the fantastic work they do, Mind make it possible for millions of people to access mental health resources wherever they are. And by painting walls and carpeting floors, we were grateful to feel a step closer to their story.
This year, we discovered another wonderful charity called Little Village. The team collect clothes, toys, books, and equipment for babies and children up to the age of five, and pass them on to families in need. All items are gifted with love from one family to another to assist those worried about how they will provide for their children.
All the donations are in good condition - some of the clothes even have their tags on. Others are delivered in careful parcels, a sure reflection of their request, “If you’d give the item to a friend, then we’ll take it.” The team and volunteers hold individual appointments for families so they can provide a relaxed and attentive experience. They also encourage parents to take home 40 items per visit to cover everything they might need for the next three months of their child’s life, and the families then re-donate any items that are still in good condition.
Sophia, the CEO, started the charity after finding it difficult to donate her babywear to local families. The simple transaction from A to B was a major obstacle, and yet the solution to a growing need. Upon reaching out to her local community, she was shocked to learn that some families were forced to choose between buying food and buying nappies, and was determined to help. Her feelings were shared by many in her community, and within three years they have helped 3,474 children, from over 29 London boroughs, operating in Wandsworth, Southwark, and Camden.
A key reason for scaling so fast is how accessible they are. Professionals, such as nurses and social workers, simply fill out a form to refer families for support. Volunteering, the“lifeblood”of the charity, is also easy to do with "office" hours designed around people with children. Roles include sorting and delivering clothes, liaising with families, managing drop-in sessions, and running small pop-up events. Everyone learns on the job but training, therapeutic support, and social events are on hand so that people of all positions are cared for.
And just as we are trying to make the internet better by partnering with you, Little Village is trying to make childhood better by partnering with other organisations, such as Happy Baby South Community, by donating essentials and helping to organise events for refugee mothers living in emergency accommodation.
Although scaling fast is exciting, it also presents its fair share of challenges. Agility is something we value as a fast-growing tech company and recognise that it also contributes to Little Village’s success. They're evolving quickly and we’re excited to help them realise their plans to provide a “shop” experience for families booking appointments with the team.