Well, it's September. We have no idea what the next few months will bring for our communities, but, here at First Days the last few months have brought us some much needed clarity. Amongst the unprecedented (don't you hate that word!) busy-ness we have had time to look at what we do and why, and are making some very exciting, and timely, changes. Watch this space for new premises in Wokingham, with new, incredibly safe, contactless drop off and collection, and an opportunity for young people to choose their own school uniform as well as a new delivery service. In the mean time (apologies, its a long read) ...
As some of you know, over the last eight years we have helped thousands of families and given out hundreds of tonnes of ‘stuff’ to families in need. When we started there wasn’t really such thing as a Baby Bank, let alone somewhere that provided everything that we have. Times have changed and as the effects of austerity have taken their hold other charities have started operating, which has given us a great opportunity to focus on the parts of our work that are the most important to the families we support.
Our research has shown that the work we do is most valuable to families when we help them with the most disproportionately expensive or most difficult to find items. To that end, we are refocusing our work, with a renewed passion for our core beliefs and huge enthusiasm for expanding our services in these areas to make a meaningful difference in the lives of parents, children and young people.
At First Days we believe children should:
Be safe at home and out and about
Be confident at school
Here is what you can now refer families for:
EVERYTHING for a new baby
Baby clothes from birth to 3 months, blankets, feeding equipment, moses baskets, cots, bouncy chairs, play gyms, baby baths and seats, toys and any other equipment that a new baby might need.
SAFETY OUT AND ABOUT
Prams from birth, pushchairs, double buggies, buggy boards etc
*NEW* Brand new car seats from birth upwards
SAFETY AT HOME
Stair gates, high chairs, toddler tables and chairs, bed guards, play pens
Cribs, cots, cotbeds, toddler beds and single beds, all with a mattress
Bedding including duvets, pillows, sheets etc for children aged 0-18
SAFE AND CLEAN
Nappies size 0-7, wipes, creams
Toiletries for children and young people (shampoo, body wash, deodorant etc)
CONFIDENCE AT SCHOOL: SCHOOL UNIFORMS (and the rest!)
School uniforms for ANY school aged child/young person (if we don’t have it, we will find it!)
Winter coats: ages 4-18
Shoes and trainers: ages 4-18
Stationery, school bags and anything else to ensure children have the confidence to give their all in lessons
Sports equipment and clothing
**COMING SOON** Support to access extra curricular activities such as music lessons, guides and scouts, sports clubs, school trips and more.
Toys for children and young people aged 0-100!
Books, from aged 0 upwards
Christmas and Birthday presents for children
**Coming soon** Sourcing of bikes and other, larger, outdoor toys and games
**Coming soon** Support with birthday parties, christmas and much more fun stuff!
The whole team at First Days are so excited about what we can offer families now and in the future.
However, this does mean means that, as families have told us that they can often source clothes themselves, or from other local charities or social media, we will not be providing children’s clothes (other than school uniforms, coats and shoes and newborn baby items) as part of our service.
We are just updating our systems (and have a brand new system incoming!) to reflect these changes, so please bear with us. In the mean time please feel free to send referrals through for all of the above items, using the usual process.
If you have any questions at all please get in touch. Congratulations for reading this far, it's a long read!
We are indebted to those people who are working on the front line with families, especially at this time, which is set to be the most difficult in our short history as recession and winter hits.