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World News

Welsh churches support baby project giving light to parents in economic 'darkness'

by Donna Birrell

Many churches across Wales are supporting a charity known as Baby Basics. 

It's a volunteer-led project working with midwives, health visitors, and other professional groups. It aims to offer support directly where it's most needed by providing a 'Moses Basket' of clothing, toiletries, and essential baby equipment to new mothers, as well as offering larger equipment such as prams and cots where it is needed.

Fr Ben Andrews is a vicar in the Port Talbot ministry area which runs Baby Basic facilities. He's been speaking to Premier about why they decided to get involved :

"We could see the demand. Being a parent myself, I remember how expensive all the things are and it adds up. It should be a joyous occasion, but it's also an anxious time. If you've got that added pressure of how you're going to pay for all these things, in normal times it's expensive. But we're seeing now with the cost of living crisis, that things are going up and it's just more added pressure for families at a time which is full of enough pressure. This is to help alleviate some of that pressure."

Fr Ben says the level of economic need across Port Talbot is growing :

"We work with local schools and in the last fortnight the food bank, in particular, has seen referrals double. It's often families who are working, but are struggling to pay the bills. So more and more families are being referred to the food bank across the town. People are really struggling. 

"We're also seeing in this church, in particular, lots of people who would have donated to the food bank every couple of weeks, slowly stopping because people can't afford to do that, although they want to. So we are seeing some tough times ahead for lots of people."

Diocesan Senior Outreach Officer, Christoph Auckland said :

"As both the cost-of-living crisis escalates and we continue to provide safety to Ukrainian and Afghan refugees in particular, the need in our communities is only going to increase. Churches like St Mary's, Port Talbot, and St Winifred's in Penrhiwceiber are not just providing much needed support for these families, but through the Baby Basics scheme are showing a transformative expression of the Gospel in action."

Fr Ben agrees :

"It's practical Christianity, showing Christ's love in a very practical way. 

"I think this is a project that is giving hope. When people are struggling, they're fearful. They're worried about all these costs. Here is the church, giving hope, a sign of hope in darkness, a glimmer of light to those people who feel they're just surrounded by darkness."

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