children's commissioner
real stories

Children’s Commissioner highlights vulnerable children

We are keen to support organisations and bodies who are trying to make a difference when children are at risk of harm. The recent Children’s Commissioner report (see here) highlights the staggering number of children under one who are considered by local authorities to be “vulnerable, or highly vulnerable and at risk of harm, but still living at home.” There is an ever increasing pressure on local authority budgets and children’s social services are feeling the strain; many SureStart centres have closed.

We have been able to work with a number of initiatives focusing on residential care for families needing some intensive support. The aims of these centres is to keep vulnerable parents and children together. They provide families with a safe place where they can learn how to care for their babies, learn how to be parents, and have a chance to develop the connecting relationships that are so essential for successful family formation.

Comfortable, easy to use baby carriers can play a part in creating connections; the close contact between parent and baby triggers biochemical changes in the brain that encourage a sensation of love and responsibility.  We’ve now visited three of these family centres in three locations around the wider area, and have been very encouraged by the response from the staff and parents.

We visited a carrying conference in Coventry in September, and the staff at a local centre brought several families in to see us; Danielle and Stacie were able to fit seven carriers that day, to mums and dads of children of varying ages. Everyone was very pleased to have a carrier of their own to help them meet their babies’ needs for holding while still being able to focus on some of their own needs.

In October we visited one local centre again to see a new cohort of parents, and it was brilliant to see their enthusiasm, having heard about the benefits the last group had had from their slings.

children's commissioner

In the meantime you can do lots to support us  – read more here.


old friends
real stories

Meeting old friends again; supporting parents as children grow

A year ago, Carine came to see us with her young daughter who was at the very curious stage of her babyhood, wanting to look around and see the world. Carine is in a wheelchair due to a childhood illness. We loaned her a structured carrier that helped baby to sit on her knee safely hands-free. It was lovely to meet them then, and even more lovely to see them both again recently when they came by to upgrade to a larger carrier. Their first sling has been very well loved, and meeting old friends again is always wonderful.
Carine’s little girl is a confident, delightful toddler who enjoys meeting new people, and has much more control over her body; so a carrier that was tall enough to support her while sitting on mum’s knee in a cuddle was what they needed now. There was enough room in this bright Tula (donated by Ergobaby UK) for her to move and see where she was going. There were a lot of megawatt smiles in the Snug that morning!

building bonds project
feedback, real stories

“This project is wonderful!” A review from Ashiana Sheffield

Thank you so much to Carina, a support worker at Ashiana Sheffield for this feedback about the Project! (Ashiana Sheffield is a charity that aims to to support those from BAMER communities whose lives have been affected by violence and abuse to take control of their lives and move forward into healthy, stable and safer futures.Ashiana Sheffield

“I have used the Building Bonds Project for several of my clients now and have recommended the project to all of my colleagues. The referral form is simple to fill out and the team are very quick to get back to you. They have been really flexible depending on the individual situation and truly want to make life better and easier for mums and their babies.

I spoke with one client who has used the scheme who wanted to include her feelings. She was very isolated and new to the city and struggled to get out, particularly struggling to shop for food with her son. She was sceptical about the idea of a sling as he son is quite big, however the change in her opinion even before we left the Snug was huge! She says she wears him in his sling most days now and that he always falls asleep and she feels like she can explore the city and has even made a friend when someone complimented her carrier.

I am now trying to think up ways to get clients who live outside of Sheffield into the city to take advantage of the amazing benefits that I have witnessed having a sling provide. Building Bonds; this project is wonderful, thank you so much.”

families in care
real stories

Providing help and support to families in care

families in careToday, Amelia and Rosie had the honour of visiting another residential centre in South Yorkshire providing social support for families in care. These families need some formal help with building secure attachment relationships with their children. This can be due to difficulties with mental health, or lack of support locally, or previous problems etc. This centre focuses on play and development to help build bonds, and was thrilled that we could help. Parents can connect to their children by carrying them in comfortable slings, as the close contact releases hormones that reduce stress and encourage feelings of love.

families in care

There was a wide range of needs, from tiny babies to two year olds, some curious active babies, to sleepy ones, to refugee babies. We were able to fit all of them with a carrier; the Close Caboos were perfect for the tinies who snuggled to sleep, and the Ergobaby 360 carriers were great for the curious older children.

sleepy nicoVery specially, a Sleepy Nico was just right for a little one who is very ill and has lots of additional needs. Mum wasn’t quite sure if baby would take to the carrier, but as soon as the straps were clipped together and the slack was adjusted, baby snuggled under her chin, and then began playing happily with her nose, before nuzzling down again with eyes drifting off to sleep. Everyone was very moved; a special moment and we hope the carrier brings the family many precious connections as well as some hands-free support!

These families now have carriers to help them to develop secure attachments and build bonds; creating a foundation that will give these children a better start in life despite the circumstances.

We were able to show the staff how baby carriers work; they learned how to use a Close Caboo and an Integra, and we went home with a rather empty suitcase and full hearts.

Thanks go to our Friends, Ergobaby, Close Parent, Sleepy Nico and Integra Baby for their generous support of the Building Bonds Project!

Would you like to support us too? You can donate to us, fundraise for us, send us your nearly new carriers, spread the word! Read more about how to get involved here.