11:45AM, Friday 10 June 2022
A Windsor resident who helps run The Baby Bank has been rewarded for her services during the COVID-19 pandemic with a British Empire Medal.
The good cause was started by friends Amy Tisi and Rebecca Mistry in 2015 to support families in need of supplies within the Royal Borough, Slough and surrounding areas.
Rebecca said that the organisation’s COVID efforts were a natural progression of the work they were already doing and the increased need for The Baby Bank due to strains on the economy.
The Baby Bank experienced a 100 per cent increase in referrals, from people who did not have savings and were losing jobs that were once considered fairly secure, such as those in hospitality.
As well as providing basics for babies such as nappies to those in need, The Baby Bank also began producing home-schooling packs – providing reading books, pens and pencils.
“Not everyone has unlimited Wi-Fi and we knew schools weren’t in a position to give out crayons to every child,” said Rebecca.
Being awarded the British Empire Medal came as ‘a bit of a shock and a huge honour for The Baby Bank,’ she said.
“It was very much a team effort – the award is for everyone, including those who helped us with donations and shared our efforts on Facebook. It takes a village.”
Despite the difficulties in getting out and about, shopping and dropping off items due to restrictions, the community came through with selection boxes at Christmas and large donations of essentials listed on The Baby Bank’s Wishlist.
“People would find ways to get stuff to us so we could keep doing what we were doing,” Rebecca said.
The Baby Bank struggled with fewer available volunteers during COVID, due to volunteers’ family and other commitments. It was ‘a challenging time’, Rebecca said.
“I’m no sure how we did it but that’s what we do. We get on and get things done,” she said.
The Baby Bank now operates out of John West House on Howarth Road, Maidenhead.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.