The Duchess of Cambridge helped Little Village mark its fifth anniversary this week by getting caught up on the charity’s work during the pandemic lockdowns in the UK.
Little Village “is like a food bank, but for clothes, toys, and equipment for babies and children up to the age of 5.” The organization accepts donations of excellent-condition, pre-loved items, which are passed on to families who need support. The items are “a gift, given with love, from one family to another.”
You may recall an initiative the Duchess launched last August, organizing UK retailers to donate more than 10,000 items to a group of baby charities. Little Village was among those charities, as were Baby Basics and Aber Necessities in Aberdeen, Scotland. Here you see Kate in August when she helped unpack and organize some of the donations at Baby Basics in Sheffield.
This week Baby Basics shared photos of recent donations made as part of that program.
So grateful for our latest donations from the Duchess of Cambridge’s initiative.@KensingtonRoyal#supportingbabybanks #makeadifference #babybasicsnorthampton #ThankfulThursday pic.twitter.com/wIqqKjmQyL
— Baby Basics N’ton (@BabyBasicsGPC) February 11, 2021
During this week’s Little Village calls, made on Tuesday, the Duchess spoke with Sophia Parker, the founder of Little Village. Ms. Parker talked about things Little Village has done to continue operating during the pandemic, including retraining volunteers. That allowed the organization to make more than 7,000 calls to families last year, providing a source of connection and emotional support.
As part of its anniversary commemorations, Little Village commissioned a report looking at the scale and depth of poverty for families with young children. More from this BBC story:
A report from London-based baby bank charity Little Village and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, seen first by BBC Newsnight, outlines the scale, depth and persistence of poverty in families with children aged under five across the UK.
It finds one-third (34%) of these children live below the poverty line – meaning their family lives on less than 60% of the median household income in the UK.
That equates to 1.3 million under-fives, according to the analysis. Two in five of these families have seen a reduction in their earnings as a result of the ongoing Covid crisis.
Here is a video posted by Little Village.
Just when you think you’re over Zoom, along comes a call from The Duchess of Cambridge!
The Duchess @KensingtonRoyal called to check in with two of the mums we’ve supported, Vicky and Yelda and our Founder, @mssophiaparker
Great end to our 5th anniversary week! pic.twitter.com/FNgXXzWgZs
— Little Village (@LittleVillageHQ) February 12, 2021
Below you see the Duchess chatting with Vicky Jones and her little girl, Isla. More from Hello’s story by Emily Nash:
Kate was chatting to Vicky Jones, who has been supported by the baby bank for more than three and a half years since her daughter Isla’s birth, when the youngster popped up on screen wearing a sparkly hairband and dress.
“Can she say hello to you quickly?” asked Vicky.
“I’d love that,” replied the Duchess, adding: “Hi Isla. You look very nice today. I love your hairband.”
“I’m a princess today,” the little girl told her.
And the Duchess heard from Yelda Rashid, who stressed the importance of support networks while sharing some of the challenges she has faced during the latest lockdown. Ms. Rashid’s daughter has Rett Syndrome, a genetic mutation affecting brain development in girls.
Back to Emily’s story:
Explaining how Little Village had offered emotional as well as practical support when her son was born during the first lockdown, Yelda said: “Being able to get this care from someone, that was very good for us.”
She told Kate: “Even just your interest in this means a lot to us. We feel cared about and someone is thinking about us, we are not just isolated here. Thank you so much.”
“I’m thinking about you a lot and I really care for families up and down the country,” replied the Duchess.
Now for our look at what Kate wore for Tuesday’s call.
It appears she wore a piece by LK Bennett, the UK retailer’s Liv Collared Jumper ($195).
The sweater is a cotton/wool blend, and it features contrast stitching and buttons with ribbing at the waist.
The sweater is available in most sizes at LK Bennett and limited sizing at John Lewis. Natasha pointed out that ITV presenter Holly Willoughby has also worn the piece. Here you see her wearing the jumper at the end of January.
Kate also had on black trousers or jeans, and the same earrings worn for calls with nursing students in Ulster also made on Tuesday. Again, screengrabs are too fuzzy to allow a determination about maker or designer.
Here is a two-minute video on the Story of Little Village, put together by the organization.