Baby Bank Scotland needs volunteers at its Carluke base

Bernadette Murphy, with some of the sorted goods ready to go out to families in despair.
Bernadette Murphy, with some of the sorted goods ready to go out to families in despair.
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When her own little grand daughter was born, Bernadette Murphy became aware of other families living in grinding poverty - and decided to do something about it.

And in the last two years the baby bank charity she has founded has helped over 5000 families in crisis.

Part of the warehouse crammed like an Aladdin's Cave to the ceiling.

Part of the warehouse crammed like an Aladdin's Cave to the ceiling.

Mums are given not just prams or buggies and a year’s supply of baby clothes, but clothes for older children.

And Bernadette is constantly involved in emergencies, from helping homeless people, to finding toys for a desperate family on Christmas Eve, as she has become the go-to person for everyone in a crisis, and for many their last hope of help.

In turn, appeals on the charity’s facebook page are swiftly answered by followers.

“It is my passion,” she said. “It is my calling.”

She and the volunteers are shocked at the poverty around.

“At times I have fallen to my knees crying because of the stories I hear,” said Bernadette.

“I have seen poverty like I have not seen since I was a child in the early 50s,” said one of the volunteers.

Donations waiting to be sorted include confirmation dresses, and sorted boxes contain unexpected items - sanitary products, toiletries to fill a handbag as a gift for mum, and even cleaning materials.

“If you have £50 a week left to live on, cleaning goes out the window,” said Bernadette.

The clothes boxed for different age groups and adult sizes are a surprise too, but while baby goods are the central focus of the charity, the whole family needs help.

Bernadette points out you put clothes on a baby to keep it warm, but you can’t put a purple jumper on a teenage boy!

Everything passed on is good quality; anything less goes to recyling.

“My rule of thumb is ‘if you don’t put it on your own baby, don’t give it’,” she said.

Baby Bank Scotland moved to Carluke this year, and large industrial units at 31 Clyde Street are jam-packed with clothing already sorted while upstairs a huge suite of sorting rooms holds black bags still to be emptied.

Referrals come from social work, health visitors, the homeless team, charities such as Healthy Valleys, the Simon Community, churches, doctors and midwives.

The charity is not looking for baby clothes at the moment - but it is desperate for volunteers to sort and then deliver the emergency packs.

Baby Bank Scotland is holding a volunteer recruitment afternoon this Sunday, July 30 from noon until 4pm.