GROWING numbers of families living in poverty has meant Highbridge now not only has a foodbank but a baby bank which provides donated baby essentials to local families.

Highbridge and Burnham-on-Sea Ladybird Baby Bank was founded in April by Del Hicks in a bid to help reduce child poverty and support families in need.

Del was inspired to set up the group after her sister, Julie Hemming, launched a baby bank in Stratford-upon-Avon and now the bank helps families across in Somerset with anything from nappies to pushchairs.

Del said: "I started Burnham-on-Sea Ladybird Baby Bank on April 13 by making a Facebook page and asked for donations of baby items.

"By the following day a corner of my living room was filled with baby items and by the following week I had helped three families.

"Burnham-on-Sea Community Council for Somerset were really supportive of me setting up the baby bank and gave me the final push to do it.

"I initially kept items in my summer house and started giving people donations from home but as I got more and more donations I knew I needed more space."

To find a more permanent home for the items Del teamed up with Rob Howlett, minister Burnham-on-Sea Baptist Church, and gave out donations to families there on a regular basis.

She ran the baby bank for six weeks but due to health reasons she stepped down and handed over the reigns to mother of six Tammy Ellis.

The baby bank relies on donations and volunteers to keep running and provides baby items including clothes, baby equipment such as highchairs, cots and bottles, toys, and toiletries such as nappies.

Tammy has moved the baby bank to the Hope Baptist Church in Highbridge and said a group of five volunteers continue to help families in need.

She said: "I was so pleased to have taken over the baby bank from Del, it is really helping families.

"We have had so many generous donations from the community, the church is full of donations which we are " Lyn from Hope Baptist Church has been amazing to us. She has let us use the storage space at the church and will let us into the church so we can pick up or deliver donations when we need to.

"People who want items can get in touch with us via our Facebook page and can either come and collect items on Wednesday's between 12pm and 2pm or we can pop down and give it to them if it is urgent.

"We help families from all backgrounds, not just people on benefits but working families too. Some people really struggle to make ends meet and we really want to help them as getting things for a baby on a low income can be difficult.

"We have five volunteers and we all work together to make sure we can get items to people day or night. Everyone who is involved is really dedicated and gives up their time to help families.

"We have had some lovely messages from people who have been really grateful for our help. Some people we have seen have had nothing and have left with things they desperately needed.

" I would invite anyone who is struggling to pop down and see us."

For more information search for Burnham-on-Sea Ladybird Baby Bank on Facebook.