VOLUNTEERS inspired by a television show have launched Tendring’s first baby banks to help struggling families who can’t afford basic items for their children, including coats, shoes or even a cot.

Baby Bank Tendring opened after the Channel 4 Dispatches show Born on the Breadline, aired on October 29, looking at the growing need in the UK for handouts of nappies, clothes, toys and cots.

Georgia Reed-Phillips, from the group, said: “I was watching Dispatches on Channel 4 and I wondered what there was locally.

“I started doing my research and spoke to the foodbanks and Salvation Army, CVST and the children’s centres. They offered bits and pieces but nothing like the baby banks project I saw on the programme.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to, all the professionals, have said this is something that is needed here.”

Harwich will be the first baby bank to open, based at the Ark Centre in Main Road, on Thursday, followed by Clacton’s at Sydney House in Langham Drive, Clacton on Thursday, December 13.

Georgia, who works with the elderly, said: “There has been a lot of joint working, I’ve been very surprised with the response. And the donations have been fantastic.

“We are three weeks in and we’ve had lots of brand new stuff and people donating their time.

“It’s worrying there is this need, that’s the main reason we are doing it.

“There are people that have been put forward to me that are vulnerable people that need this, especially in this area.”

The baby bank is taking new and pre-loved clothes, shoes, socks, blankets and bedding as well as toys. Nappies, bottles and baths are also needed, but items such as car seats and mattresses can’t be reused.

Georgia, 33, added: “A couple of examples of cases we’ve had already are domestic violence, so people that have had to move and have nothing. There are also people that have a little bit but are using other services like the foodbanks.

“We’ve got families that don’t have coats or shoes and a couple where babies don’t have proper cots. We can used take cots at the baby bank but we can’t take mattresses as they need to be new.

“We are opening up for people that want to help us that would buy a mattress.

For more information, visit Baby Bank Tendring on Facebook.