A ‘New Start’ provided to many by Ashley’s Birthday Bank

Last Friday, 4Com were delighted to invite their 2017 Charity Partner, Ashley’s Birthday Bank, into the office to update everyone on their ‘New Start’ project.

Ashley’s Birthday Bank is a charity who works within the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch area. Set up in 2014, they provide services to families who find themselves going through a financially difficult time, or to those who have escaped from domestic violence, neglect or human trafficking.
The charity provides two main services; providing underprivileged children with a birthday or Christmas present each year to ensure they don’t go without on these special occasions, and secondly, a crisis service which provides food shopping, baby equipment, nappies, baby milk, clothes and toiletries to local families. The charity works entirely on a voluntary basis and relies on support through fundraising and contributions from the community.

In July 2017, nearly 70 members of staff took on the Isle of Wight Challenge in which participants completed a circuit of the island by running, cycling and walking within 15 hours. This challenge helped to raise an amazing £40,000 for the charity, which enabled them to action their ‘New Start’ project, which provides various household items to families who have been re-housed.

The 4Com Foundation presented the charity with the £40,000 donation last September, and so far the charity has been able to help 135 families by providing a range of items including: 37 single-beds and 4 double-beds, 16 sets of bunk-beds , 68 mattresses, 19 washing machines, 11 cookers, 3 fridges, 15 fridge-freezers, 7 microwaves, 3 tables, 5 wardrobes and 2 sofas. Many families are re-housed in properties without carpets or blinds, so the charity has also provided 5 carpets and 4 blinds/curtains. The charity has also been able to provide 73 weekly food shops to those in need.

Anna Selby, Trustee at Ashley’s Birthday Bank, explains how important the charity is, “Sadly, the need for our charity in this area is massive, and we receive many requests for support daily. We are one of only a small amount of charities that provide this type of support, so the funding we received last year has really helped us to be able to help more people than ever and on a larger scale.”

Families are referred to the charity through local refuges, social workers, school welfare officers, health visitors or police liaison officers. 48 of the 135 families were referred due to poverty, many in this situation due to benefit changes because of universal credit. 45 families were referred due to domestic violence and 24 due to child protection issues. The charity has found that they need to provide many beds for families, as many children are found to be sleeping on broken beds, on a mattress with no bed, or sadly just a blanket on the floor, so the funding for this ‘New Start’ project has been greatly received.

The 4Com Foundation continues to support Ashley’s Birthday Bank, having recently donated £3000 for 30 weekly food shops for families that are in need. These food shops are geared individually to each family, asking their likes and dislikes and adding baby milk, nappies and toddler foods where appropriate. The shops each have menu sheets sent with them, showing parents how to cook simple, healthy foods with details of the ingredients and costs per person, allowing the food to be easily re-ordered so food shops are kept to a budget.

If you would like to find out more about the work that Ashley’s Birthday Bank do, please click here.

Charity Search 2018

4Com have launched the search for their 2018 charity partner, in which the eventual winner will receive up to £30,000. Please click here to read the key criteria for applicants, ensuring that applications are submitted before the closing date on Tuesday 31st July.