Most storks heading for the nursery have only a 7lb bundle of joy to carry, but there is one stork which comes with baby’s toys, clothes and equipment as well!
Started in 2013, Stripey Stork is the idea of Nicola Dawes – her two children were growing fast, and Nicola was keen that the items no longer needed were passed on to families in difficulty. She spoke to support agencies and was told that such items were required they had no facilities to store or sort them before distribution.
Undeterred, Nicola sought to find a solution, and with a little help from her friends, word travelled fast and soon donations, both new and pre-loved, were arriving from all over the area. Taking referrals from the agencies supporting local families in need – health visitors, social workers and children’s centres, the scheme took off and now Stripey Stork operates from a 2,000 sq ft warehouse in Redhill.
The stock is attractively displayed in defined areas, and Nicola and her team deal with the referrals from health professionals and support workers, meaning they can easily make choices based on their clients’ needs. The organised stock means that any emergency requests can be swiftly assembled and the charity has become indispensable to social services and charities. Stripey Stork prides itself on passing on items in good condition – items are cleaned, and safety checked where necessary. They want the families who receive these donations to feel they are receiving a gift and not a handout.
Celebrating its 4th anniversary this month the charity has so far responded to 3,000 requests for help, giving out a million pounds’ worth of items. There is no geographical limit to the service although it is often 20-30 mile radius. There is a core team of 30 volunteers along with more than 100 others who help out. Nicola is grateful to her volunteers and proud that the Santa Stork Team was awarded the Reigate and Banstead Mayor’s Award in recognition of their work during Stripey Stork’s 2016 Christmas Campaign.
Closed during August, except for emergencies, Stripey Stork is back in action in September and will be focusing on their Santa Stork 2017 campaign. Christmas is a stressful and costly time for most people, but for struggling families, it can be especially worrying. The support the team receive from the community to run the Christmas campaign is so important, and there are lots of ways to help.
There will be an Amazon wish list available where donors can choose an item for a child who would otherwise receive little at Christmas. These go straight to the charity so people can get involved where they live. The charity relies on the support of those who make financial donations online.
In October donations are doubled by local giving resluting in the team supporting more.[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=”600″]For more information about Stripey Stork, visit: www.stripeystork.org.uk or visit it’s Facebook page: facebook.com/stripeystork or follow on Twitter or Instagram: @stripeystork[/box]
By Sarah Ballingal