How it Works!
Why does the Project offer support/consults and in some cases, donate carriers? Babies want to be close to their parents and carers; it helps them to feel safe. They cry less when held and rocked and soothed, and will usually fall asleep in their carer’s arms. In-arms carrying can be tiring, so using a sling or carrier can make life much easier. Using a carrier bring many therapeutic benefits to babies, older children and carers from all walks of life.
Babies with disabilities or sick children may benefit enormously from being held close in a carrier, giving them a safe space, offering reassurance, or allowing them to participate in family life. It may make transport easier.
When a family is experiencing a great upheaval (leaving their home country, feeling from domestic abuse, moving into foster care), a carrier can provide a safe haven and a sense of loving familiarity in a strange situation.
Slings can simply be a practical solution for getting around and out of the house and able to do things; for others, the act of carrying can be calming and uplifting. There is a hormonal basis to how close contact can help with mood disorders (oxytocin and dopamine), For many, the use of a sling (when the last thing you want to do is hold a baby) can trigger these biological cascades and bring some relief. Arms can get tired holding babies who will only stop crying when cuddled; a sling can make this easier.
Who can use the Building Bonds Scheme?
The Building Bonds Project is designed to improve access to carrying help and support for families who would benefit from using a sling and are unable to source their own, due to financial or accessibility issues. We help refugees, children with life-limiting illnesses, families with mental health challenges and many more.
We offer guidance and signposting to local sling libraries, we can make recommendations for carriers for complex situations, offer consults to help identify solutions, and also in some cases donate slings and carriers to those who would not be able to afford a second hand carrier.
In order to be able to help as many families as possible, we ask clients if they are able to contribute towards the cost of their support (eg post and packing, contribute to the consultation, or towards the cost of the carrier). We are aware some families may not be able to contribute at all; we can reach more such families if our funds are able to stretch further.
Please see our referral criteria here.
Your HCP/social care worker can refer you to us to access the service, or you can refer yourself. Your local sling librarian and consultant may offer to refer you.
The application forms are in the tabs at the top.
What will happen once I have applied (or my HCP/sling library has applied for me)?
If you meet the criteria, one of the team will get in touch via your chosen method to invite you to attend a Zoom consultation to discuss your needs. We may then offer guidance or signposting, make recommendations for carriers that can be sourced second hand. If a donation is made, the carrier can be posted to you (or the referring library) with a follow up fitting. In some circumstances we can see local clients for support, fitting and donation, or the referring library can offer this.
If you are in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital we may be able to arrange to visit you and your child there if permission is granted.
We visit specific organisations with carriers on fixed dates (by prior arrangement) to help multiple families needing our support.
It is yours to use as you wish. If you no longer need it, and would like to see it help other families, you are welcome to return it to us. If you find the carrier doesn’t meet your needs any more (eg your baby has grown out of it), do let us know. We may be able to find you an alternative or show you how to use your carrier in a different way.
How can I contribute to the Scheme?
We love involving more people in our work! You can spread the word about what we do by sharing our facebook page, liking and commenting on our posts, and telling people about us.
You can donate your carriers, fundraise for us, volunteer for us – read more here!
You can contact us here,