KidsBank Chester have celebrated the opening of their new premises in the former Love’s of Chester garage on Garden Lane.
The charity who were founded in 2019 operate in the same way as a foodbank but for clothing, shoes, toys, equipment and toiletries for babies and children up to the age of 12 years. Since their launch the charity have helped over 1700 children across Cheshire, Flintshire and Ellesmere Port. The charity’s expansion was made possible by a £45,000 grant from The Chester Bluecoat Charity allowing KidsBank to double its storage capacity and support more families in need and expand to support children aged 6-12, with the pandemic seeing a huge increase in demand.
At the event celebrating the charity’s expansion attended by representatives from charities, businesses, volunteers and others, Lord Mayor Martyn Delaney paid tribute to everyone who had helped the organisation to grow : “Through your generosity you’ve enabled the increased capacity to help more children with the opening of the new premises in the old Loves’ garage. You can have all the money in the world, but with dedicated volunteers and staff you can do it”
Chair of Trustees Jenny McGrath thanked Northgate Church who provided the first home for KidsBank in 2019. “We now have an accessible and visible home aided by the generosity of Matt and Michelle of Northwest signs who freely supplied all the graphics, signage and leaflets for our new home. SO many local businesses and individuals are now part of our story. ”
Founder Cathy Pettingale described how she came to found KidsBank, noting that 49% of children in lone parent families are in poverty : “Behind statistics are faces. there are people and peoples lives. It was one of those faces that I listened to that got KidsBank going, I sat down one evening and watched the news and a mum was sharing about the choices she had to make. Choices between clothing, heating. food. I was overwhelmed and the thought just popped into my head, what we need is a Kidsbank, like the foodbank but for children 0-5. We received our first referral in May 2019 … Its about the 14 year old who found herself pregnant with little or no support. We were able to give her everything she needed. Its about the grandparents who suddenly find themselves with care and control of their grandchildren.. its about the mums and dads who flee domestic abuse. We are blessed to be able to help these families. ”
The ribbon on the new facility was cut by Stuart and Sarah Love of Love’s of Chester.
The former garage area has been transformed into a bright and organised space to house all of the goods supplied by KidsBank. The refurbishment also includes a community room sponsored by Morrisons supermarket. The room will be a free to use facility for local charities and support groups offering a safe and comfortable place to meet. It includes 2 TVs for training purposes and a refreshments facility.
KidsBank are now looking towards their Christmas campaign which will launch soon. Reflecting on the event founder Cathy commented: ” Chester is an incredible city, the people here are second to none. their generosity knows no bounds. The most important message is, if you know anyone struggling tell people about KidsBank.”