New 'baby bank' opens amid rising demand for help

Marylynn Williams and Steven Franklin
Image caption,

Marylynn Williams and Steven Franklin want to help others in need

  • Published

A couple who were targeted by thieves have set up a "baby bank", offering free clothes and other items for infants to help relieve increasing demand for help.

Marylynn Williams and Steven Franklin turned to Hartlepool Baby Bank when some of their son's items were stolen from their car, just before Ms Williams was due to give birth.

The bank's founder said demand for the charity had "rocketed" from 30 families a week during the pandemic to 150 this month.

Ms Willams and Mr Franklin opened their own bank about 8 miles (12km) away in Peterlee, and said: "If it wasn't for Hartlepool Baby Bank we wouldn't have been able to cope."

'Taking pressure off'

Families in need can be referred to baby bank charities to receive donations of clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children.

The baby bank in Hartlepool supports families in and around the area.

Mr Franklin said: "We're hoping with this, because Hartlepool Baby Bank covers a much wider area, it's going to take some pressure off them."

Image caption,

Peterlee Baby Bank has seen "loads" of donations, Mr Franklin said

Ms Willams said they were inspired to set something up for the east Durham area after finding themselves in need.

"When I was pregnant, I was due to give birth, and the car got vandalised and all the baby stuff got nicked," she said.

"So we just want to help people that have helped us. Or that need the help."

Peterlee Baby Bank is open every Thursday at Shotton Hall banqueting suite from 10:00-14:00 BST.

Encouraging people to come forward if they need help, Mr Franklin said: "Don't be scared, there are people out there who are in the same situation.

"Even if you're too scared to do it yourself, get in touch with your local councillor or your midwife or doctors who can refer you to places like this.

"No-one's going to judge you for it."

Follow BBC Tees on X (formerly Twitter), external, Facebook, external and Instagram, external. Send your story ideas to