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.


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.

centre for families in crisis
real stories

Visiting a centre for families in crisis

Danielle and Rosie had the enormous privilege and pleasure of visiting a special place in Sheffield -a centre for families in crisis and needing intensive social input, with two suitcases of baby carriers. We were able to explain how keeping babies close helps them to thrive despite very challenging social situations… and how they make life easier for parents too. Strong and secure attachment is important in helping families weather the storm of adverse events and helping babies to do well despite adversity… and carriers can help.

It was wonderful to see how easily the babies settled and many of them fell into peaceful sleep. Parents were walking around kissing the tops of their babies’ heads and stroking them, feeling the connection. Many of them helped each other adjust their carriers, having learned how to use them and keen to offer their support to each other. We helped a family with twins and several dads too, and they were all delighted to hear the carriers were theirs to keep as they return to their homes around the UK. Several of them set off for a group walk with their sleeping babies in slings as we left.

We fitted and donated twelve baby carriers.. six Caboos from Close Parent, five Beco Geminis from Slumber Roo and one from Mamaruga. We’re deeply grateful to them for their generosity that allows us to help families who need it the most.

We’ve been invited back in October as the staff can clearly see how useful this is going to be and commented on how calm the babies were.

We can’t disclose names or photos of the parents due to confidentiality so here is Danielle demonstrating one Close Caboo!

It makes a difference. Help us to keep helping more and more families:

Donate to us here

Donate your nearly new carriers to us, find out how via the “get involved” tab at the top.

Spread the word!

better start
real stories

Giving children a better start in life

It’s a great privilege being able to help families to be close and to give young children a better start in life. Today we were able to give this pair their own buckle carrier to keep (donated by Sheffield Sling Surgery). C was referred by the Snowdrop Project who work with people who are free from modern slavery. Now she is free, her child has a chance of a better life, and a carrier can help her build her child’s security and confidence.



Today we also gave out a Boba 4G (kindly donated by Slumber Roo) to a mum of a young baby referred to us by the housing/social services department: it’ll help them build bonds and strengthen their relationship, and give the child a better start in life.

cycles of fear
real stories

Breaking the cycles of fear by creating safe spaces

Breaking the cycles of fear by supporting parents is so important. Helping parents to provide safe and consistent spaces for their children despite the traumas of their own lives can change the trajectory of that child’s future. We at Building Bonds are proud to play a small part in shaping the future for some of the most vulnerable in our society.

37053032_1879960942306164_8326613643185618944_nToday we helped a mum and her child who were referred by the Ashiana Sheffield charity. This organisation aims to support and empower those from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (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. This Boba 4G donated by Slumber Roo will play a part in stabilising and uplifting this gorgeous pair. Baby fell asleep within a few minutes of being put into the carrier and mum was so happy.

If you’d like to help us support more parents, do get involved!