The Duchess launched a new initiative today, after persuading nineteen UK retailers to donate more than 10,000 items to a group of baby charities.
Today Kate helped unpack and organize some of the donations at Baby Basics in Sheffield where donations were dropped off. Baby Basics is “a volunteer-led project aiming to support new mothers and families who are struggling to meet the financial and practical burden of looking after a new baby.”
A rather lovely day up in Sheffield today with the Duchess of Cambridge at @BabyBasicsUK with @LittleVillageHQ and #Abernecessities shining a light on the incredible work of #babybanks which help the most vulnerable families in the UK with much needed essentials 👶 pic.twitter.com/PUCzcCgY1R
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) August 4, 2020
Baby banks provide essential items like diapers, blankets, towels, maternity pads, mattresses, and other basics. Kate spoke with some of the mothers helped by baby banks.
Below, volunteers sorting items at a baby bank.
Little Village reports there are more than 100 baby banks across the UK.
They are primarily run by volunteers, and research shows a substantial increase in the use of UK baby banks during the Coronavirus pandemic. Baby banks help families with children up to the age of five.
The Duchess has been working on the project for some time. In July, she helped pack essential bundles for vulnerable children at Baby Basics in West Norfolk.
The idea for the initiative came following several private visits Kate made to that West Norfolk location, more via The Evening Standard’s story.
Kate told how she broke down and wept when she got home after visiting a baby bank helping vulnerable families at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The duchess recalled: “It can get very emotional. I remember a couple of the families I met from King’s Lynn and I went home and literally burst into tears, their stories were so moving.
You’ll recognize many of the brands and retailers Kate persuaded to contribute to the effort: John Lewis, Trotters, The White Company, and JoJo Maman Bébé are among those donating. Below, the Duchess with mothers who received help from Baby Basics and the organization’s CEO.
For the full list, click here to read the Baby Basics writeup on the initiative and today’s visit. Here is a quick video about the endeavor from Kensington Palace.
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) August 4, 2020
The Duchess spoke with families using the South Yorkshire baby bank and heard about their experiences with the service. Here you see her chatting with Ali Wartty and Sahara Hamawandy, and their one-year-old triplets.
Emily Nash has more in her Hello! piece:
An emotional Sahara told the Duchess how she was referred to Baby Basics after struggling to cope. The charity provided them with a triple pram, Moses baskets and starter packs, as well as clothes and toiletries as the babies have grown.
“I was living on the 12th floor of a block of flats and trying to cope with the three of them,” she told the Duchess. “It must have been so stressful,” sympathised Kate.
This graphic speaks to the need just at the Sheffield Baby Basics where Kate was today.
Kate also spoke with other baby banks on a teleconference today.
In this screengrab from the call, you see two recipients of baby bank donations, Ella-Mae at the upper left and Amy at the bottom right. Little Village CEO Sophia Parker is in the top right.
More from Victoria Ward’s Telegraph story.
She also spoke via Zoom to Amy Cotton, who fled a violent home with only her baby son Ricky, now three, and the clothes on her back, and who now volunteers with Little Village.
The Duchess told her: “It is brave and not often the easiest thing to do but it is really fantastic that you’ve reached out, that you are so open about your own struggles but also the fact that you are in such a fanatic [sic] place now.
This is a terrific initiative and sorely needed.
Now for our look at what the Duchess wore.
Many recognized her dress right away, the Flippy Wriggle Dress (£1850) in silk crepe by Suzannah London.
Suzannah describes the dress this way: “…silhouette is contoured around the waist and front yoke with delicate pin-tucks. The dress is designed to be an elegant tea-length featuring beautiful half-length sleeves with a buttoned cuff. The buttons work from double to single-breasted down the center front for closure.”
The Duchess first wore the dress to Wimbledon last year.
A look at the two engagements.
Today she opted for the belt that comes with the dress, made of silk crepe backed in leather.
The Duchess wore an Amaia Kids face mask, the retailer’s Adult Reusable Cotton Face Mask (£15) in a Liberty print called Wiltshire Floral.
The mask is constructed of two layers of 100% cotton and an internal filter; it comes with five filter refills. 30% of sale proceeds are being donated to the NHS Charities Together fund. And the retailer is donating two masks for every mask that is sold. More from Monique Jessen in this June 1 People story:
“We did it out of solidarity because we felt so helpless,” Amaia Arrieta, the Spanish-born designer and founder of the eponymous London-based boutique, tells PEOPLE. “We wanted to lighten the trauma for the children and make it more fun by making beautiful masks, which are technically safe but also cute.”
Kate also accessorized with her Tabitha Simmons ‘Dela’ pumps in cream and grey. It’s been a long time since we saw these, they were first worn in July 2011 during the North America Tour.
I have not been able to take a good look at the earrings. They are small hoops, similar to the Accessorize Twisted Metal design, but smaller and with no discernible texture. It looks like the Duchess wore her Daniella Draper Trio Diamond Midnight Moon Necklace (£1270, roughly $1650 at today’s exchange rates).
UPDATE SEPT 23: It looks like Kate’s earrings are by All the Falling Stars, an artisan jewelry firm in Ireland. The company posted on Instagram about the earrings, as well as a necklace that was worn in September 2020; the pieces were a gift to Kate.
Now for the visit to the Norfolk Baby Bank.
The Duchess sported another classic shirtdress in a midi length. It has a standard button front, three-quarter sleeves, and a self-belt. I haven’t been able to ID the dress yet but will take another look after posting. I have received several messages and emails suggesting it is the Viola dress by Boden (and I thought it might be that piece as well), but the fabrics and details don’t match. Below left, Kate’s fabric and on the right, the Boden material.
The shoe is on sale at Road Runner Sports ($39.87 in a decent range of sizes).
And it appears she brought back her Lele Sadoughiu padded headband ($75).
Kate also wore her Daniella Draper Mini Cupid Hoops again, shown below when worn to a different engagement.
Also today, a followup on previous posts about Children’s Hospice Week. You may remember the Delf family; the Duchess of Cornwall and Duchess of Cambridge chatted with them on a Zoom call.
The family lost 9-year-old Fraser in January. During the call, Kate promised to plant a sunflower in Frazier’s memory. Below, you see her with the sunflower at The Nook Hospice, where she helped plant a garden.
EACH reports the Delfs have come to see the sunflower. Below you see Carla, 13-year-old Stuie, and Stuart Delf; EACH posted a photo of the family on Facebook.
More from EACH:
The sunflower has since been moved to our hospice in Milton, where Fraser spent the last few weeks of his life. The family saw the sunflower in its new home for the first time last Friday (31st), wearing pink – a colour Fraser loved.
The Royal Family Channel offers more than three minutes from today’s engagement.
- Learn more about UK baby banks at the Little Village site
- Visit the Baby Basics site here; the charity’s Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed is here; read their story about today’s visit here
- Read the EACH article about the Delfs and the sunflower by clicking here
- The Evening Standard’s story about the initiative is here; the Telegraph’s article is here; The Daily Mail’s coverage is here
- Hello’s piece about the initiative is here; Town and Country’s story about the West Norfolk visit is here