Kate Inspires Royal Fanbases' Baby Fundraiser
A new fundraiser launches today in celebration of the upcoming 10th Wedding Anniversary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Catherine's 10th year as working member of the Royal Family.
APRIL 24th, 2021
hen the pandemic hit last year, and the country effectively shut down, the Duchess of Cambridge, alongside her husband Prince William, decided to shift their attention to ensuring the most vulnerable in society be supported. For the Duchess, that pragmatic choice led her to harnessing her international influence, and focus it in an area of expertise she has championed throughout her ten years as a member of the Royal Family - the Early Years.
Believing that children should have the best start in life, and more importantly, the support and freedom to express themselves, Catherine has developed a formidable presence in the world of the Early Years. Whether it be mental health, parental support, youth clubs or improved educational facilities, the Duchess of Cambridge has more recently thrown herself full force into making a difference.
She has launched numerous campaigns to provide support for school children through her ‘Mentally Healthy Schools’ project; conducted a landmark survey that has become the founding blueprint for underscoring the direction the Early Years program needs to take, and brought awareness to charities offering counselling and essential services to those families who have suffered the unimaginable loss of a child at birth. Across the last ten years Catherine has developed a unique and formidable repertoire in supporting children and their families.
Yet, when Covid-19 struck, a new problem was highlighted that the Duchess decided to tackle head on - a lack of essential equipment for new parents. This issue led the future Queen to the doorsteps of Baby Basics, an impressive volunteer charity which works similarly to a food bank, but in place of food they collect and distribute crucial baby necessities for families with children under the age of five.
Whilst the Duchess has championed many different charities, and her connections with these outlets have usually been through national or international campaigns, her partnering with Baby Basics was different. Cat Ross, CEO of Baby Basics, describes how. “She [The Duchess of Cambridge] first became aware of Baby Basics through our centre in West Norfolk,” Cat explains to social media group Kate’s Rangers. “She volunteered with them early on in the pandemic to hear from our centre leader and a local health professional, who regularly refers to Baby Basics, what the impact of covid-19 was having on families.”
The initial volunteering session made an impression on the Duchess of Cambridge who wanted to learn more. “Following that visit and volunteering opportunity,” Cat says, “she got in contact with myself at Baby Basics UK to find out how herself and The Royal Foundation could support us and other baby banks across the UK.”
Last year, Catherine visited Baby Basics Sheffield centre where she poignantly described her time volunteering: “I remember a couple of the families I met from King’s Lynn and I went home and literally burst into tears, their stories were so moving,” she said.
“The struggles they have gone through, the bravery they have shown in extraordinary circumstances. Helping their families through extraordinary times. Knowing you can make such a big difference to another family is wonderful.”
The referenced ‘difference’ came in the shape of the Duchess compiling nineteen retail outlets, such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, to donate over 10,000 items to baby banks across the entire UK. Centres such as Baby Basics, were inundated with cots, baby food, nappies, toys and clothes, highlighting the power the Duchess wields.
“A lot of people have heard about food banks, but don’t necessarily know about the baby banks and what we do,” says Cat. “Having someone like the Duchess behind us is amazing, and her helping us by getting in all these amazing brands has been incredible.”
That help highlighted the devastating impact the pandemic had had on young families and children and Baby Basics have seen for themselves the increasing reliance on their facilities. “We’ve seen a massive increase in demand for our services,” explains Cat. “Across our centres in the UK, we’ve had an increase of over 166%. In Sheffield, which is our inaugural and busiest centre, the increase in demand has been over 400%.”
In fact, the dramatic increase has seen Baby Basics construct a second store room at their Sheffield Centre since the pandemic began, to enable the charity to meet the needs of local families.
Although they have managed to create extra room for donated items, there have been other struggles along the way. “We’ve really struggled in getting donations,” Cat continues, “either because some of our centres across the UK have not been able to take in second hand goods and have had to buy new, or people just haven’t been able to donate to us in the same way.”
It is here where a new fundraising campaign has been launched to help tackle these struggles faced by baby banks across the country.
In response to the 10th Wedding Anniversary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, social media group Kate’s Rangers have launched an Amazon Wishlist to allow people from all around the world to donate items to Baby Basics instead of money. The campaign launches today (24th April, 2021) and is in celebration of Catherine’s vital and passionate work within the Early Years, and in particular, Baby Basics and baby banks.
Kate Rangers picked Baby Basics as “it’s an essential service helping children and parents”, and the group which follows the Duchess of Cambridge and her work believe Catherine “definitely put this charity at the forefront of our minds”, they told me in a statement.
But ultimately the decision to launch the fundraiser specifically came “as both Prince William and the Duchess are passionate about the early years, Catherine of course heads the work in that space, but William also has many patronages to do with young people too. It’s a brilliant charity and as parents, William and Kate would also recognise the importance of giving children the resources they require from an early age,” concluded the statement.
The Duchess of Cambridge will mark ten years as a working member of the Royal Family next week. Throughout that period of time it has become increasingly clear that children and supporting young families are elements for the foundation of her role. As time passes by and her ascension up the hierarchical structure of monarchy continues, it will come as a relief and source of comfort to charities like Baby Basics that not only do they have her support, but the support of those who admire the Duchess’ work too.
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