In the spotlight: The Nest Project

The Nest Project’s vision is to ensure every child living in Bath and North East Somerset is provided for. To make their vision a reality The Nest provides clothing and equipment for children aged 0-5, free of charge, whilst also lending a listening ear and acting as a primary contact for signposting to various other charities and services.

St John’s Foundation works in partnership with The Nest Project to build communities where children can grow into happy, healthy and educated members of society. The work delivered through the Foundation Fund supports levelling the educational playing field in our communities and helps eradicate inequalities.

Reaching more communities is central to St John’s and The Nest’s Project’s long-term strategy. The expansion will make The Nest more accessible for families across the city, especially those without transport. To support and further The Nest’s reach within the community St John’s awarded funding of £63,800. This funding has directly impacted 651 beneficiaries through the provision of essential items, toddler groups and support services.

Essential items:                                                                                                                                       

The Nest project used a portion of its funding to buy essential items (such as stair gates, baby monitors, and strollers) that are often in high demand for parents. This has resulted in a positive impact for families, and beneficiaries’ needs have been met quickly with high-quality new equipment. Just in the 5-month window of October 2021 – Feb 2022, The Nest Project has gifted the community of Bath:

  • 17 highchairs
  • 35 cots
  • 30 stair gates and monitors
  • 3077 items of clothing
  • 341 toiletries
  • 33 pushchairs
  • 621 miscellaneous.
  • 350 Christmas boxes

Toddler groups:

The funding has made taking referrals, carrying out deliveries, and signposting users to services easier. The team now holds a regular toddler group in Twerton, which is at the heart of the community. It is a fun and safe place for parents to bring their children, offering free refreshments, homemade cake, crafts, and singing.

Having representatives in the community is now possible using the funding. A weekly representative joins another Toddler Group in Mulberry Park while a monthly representative is now present at the Oasis Food Pantry.

Supporting parents:

The team has seen the positive effect the group has had in building a support network and improving social and mental health, as well as making it easier to provide clothing and equipment for these families too. The Nest has been able to refer families to food pantries, domestic abuse charities, and other agencies across Bath such as The Future Bright Project, Maternity Voices, and Cook it classes. They have also been working with the Women’s Work Lab, offering work placements, and giving mothers a chance to get back into work.

The team has helped mothers who have previously had children taken into care. They have also assisted in delivering essential items to ensure their children are clean, healthy, and safe when returning home.  The Nest has also partnered with the Lotus Midwives in order to provide services and support for vulnerable mothers-to-be.

“In December, we had an emergency call from BANES for a family of 7 children who had been taken into Foster homes very suddenly. They had been split across a number of Foster families who weren’t all prepared for the emergency situation. The children were riddled with nits and bed bugs and came with nothing. We were able to provide each of the children with Christmas boxes, and bags of warm winter clothing, as well as stairgates and various equipment that the Foster families needed quickly before everything closed for Christmas. It was a truly heart breaking story, but we felt privileged to be able to provide these items on the day they were requested”.

 

“We had an emergency referral from the Children’s Team in BaNES, for a Mother arriving by train that afternoon with baby, having fled from a situation, arriving to an empty flat. Within half an hour we were able to prepare everything they needed – clothes, equipment, bedding, highchair, weaning items, books, play mat etc so she would have what she needed when she arrived”.

 

“We have four mums that regularly attend our Friday toddler group, who have all been in abusive relationships and have been helped by Voices. Here is a quote from one of those mums: ‘I love coming to The Nest Project group on Fridays. It’s a friendly, nice atmosphere, and the kids enjoy it. My daughter is a lockdown baby and hasn’t seen many people. It’s helping her get used to socialising as she was really anxious around other people before. It really helps me too, it gets me out socialising, I love meeting other new mums, and it helps my own mental health and my anxiety, having been in an abusive relationship. It’s the only toddler group we enjoy and feel comfortable going to. It makes my Friday so much better.’”