Buckie’s new children’s bank got a big cash boost thanks to a community organization in town.
Children’s Bank, run by Ashley Mayer and mum Jillian Hepburn of children’s clothing store TooCute on the High Street, has been in operation since January. They have now joined forces with the Buckie Community Hub – itself a start-up organisation, which opened its doors in East Church Street last November – in a move that has seen the Children’s Bank secure £1,500 in funding.
Ashley — who was described by her mother as someone who “always had a charitable bone in her body” — said the cost-of-living crisis was the inspiration for creating the Children’s Bank.
She said: “The idea first came to me in October last year during the cost of living crisis and all the prices were going up.
“I like to help out when I can, and I thought ‘we have a shop here, we have a little space, let’s see what we can do to help.'”
Created a Facebook page – TooCute Baby Bank Buckie – And soon I saw that a children’s bank was needed. It all started from there, we started taking donations and the Children’s Bank started working properly in January.
“The Buckie people have been amazing in supporting us, they have been so generous.
“The Baby Bank offers lots of different things, like pre-loved clothes, diapers, milk, and toiletries, as well as larger items like cribs. Since we have limited space here, we’ve even had some people donate larger items to offer to deliver.” And provide free storage room for us in the store.
“We started offering clothes but it really branched out in a very short period of time.
“Things like diapers and milk are constant expenses for families that you may need help with over and over again.”
The Facebook page has been getting the attention of the Buckie Community Hub, the brainchild of the Buckie Area Forum.
Forum chair Gordon McDonald said: “We saw Ashley’s Facebook page appealing to the elements and thought this was something maybe we could help with.
“After discussions with Ashley and Gillian it was clear that we could refer people in need to the Children’s Bank who contacted the center and see if we could draw grant funding to help support it. We were delighted to have secured a £1,500 grant from the Moray Health Improvement Trust and agreed to a list The items are with Ashleigh and Gillian that this money will be spent on for the children’s bank.
“The referral system works both ways – if people are coming to children desperate for things, they are almost certainly desperate for benefits and can be taken to the center where we try to help them.
“We’re trying to build a network of contacts to help one another, so this partnership with TooCute fits perfectly with that goal.”
To learn more about the Hub and what it offers, visit Facebook page.
While Children’s Bank may be the new kid on the block, it is a sign of the times when it was indeed a needed source of support.
Jillian added: “We’ve been busy since we started, I would say we average about three families a week, sometimes more.
“I think people realize again that we’re here and what we’re trying to do, it’s going to get busier.
“Most of the items we have are pre-loved but they are beautiful things, like new.
“We mainly cover Buckie territory but we have Elgin and Lossie folk below – we don’t ask questions, if you need, you need.”
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