Behind the scenes at Redhill-based charity, Stripey Stork

PUBLISHED: 11:26 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 06 March 2018

Nicola Dawes, Stripey Stork

Nicola Dawes, Stripey Stork

Archant

Since 2013, Stripey Stork has transformed the lives of local families through the simple act of recycling. The Redhill-based charity has responded to nearly 4,000 requests for help and distributed more than £1.5m worth of items. Founder, Nicola Dawes, tells us more

Tell us a bit about the charity…

We collect donations of new and pre-loved items (such as cots, prams, highchairs and clothes) and, after checking they are safe and clean, distribute them to local families in need. As a new mum, I needed to find a home for clothes and equipment my children had outgrown, and felt sure that local families could make use of them. It was important to me that they went directly to where they were needed: in 17 local neighbourhoods, more than 30 per cent of children live in poverty. Unfortunately, the agencies who support these families don’t have the capacity to sort and store donations, so I set up Stripey Stork to help provide that. We now have a 2,000sqft warehouse in Redhill and receive 20 to 30 requests every week from health visitors, children’s centres, social workers, refuges and other agencies across East Surrey and beyond.

What’s the most important thing that’s been achieved so far?

We are now able to run additional campaigns alongside our regular work, thanks to our fantastic team and local support from families and businesses. As well as responding to routine referrals within seven days, we can go that extra step. In 2017, we responded to 1,500 requests for help, but also provided gifts for 184 mums in need.

Describe your volunteers to us…

Volunteers are at the heart of Stripey Stork and we have the most fantastic team. Our office is affectionately known as the Nest and our volunteers are community-minded people who create a strong team atmosphere. We have people from all walks of life, from the women who have taken career breaks while their children are young, to ladies who have retired but want to be active in the community. We also welcome corporate and community groups to help sort and check donations.

If readers were to give £10, how might that be spent?

We regularly supply new baby packs to expectant mums preparing for a new arrival, which are beautifully packed and contain a mixture of new and preloved items. A £10 donation could help purchase a new Moses basket mattress, nappies, wipes and toiletries.

What is your top fundraising tip?

Make sure you offer lots of ways for your supporters to help. Our website explains that it’s not just about donating money but also donating items, volunteering, or just spreading the word to friends and colleagues. We like to keep our supporters informed all year round.

What can readers do if they’d like to get involved themselves?

Have a look at our website, which lists the many ways we can be supported from donating items to offering time. We’d love to welcome them to #TeamStork!

What do you enjoy most about being based in Surrey?

We love the community focus in Surrey. It might be a wealthy county on the whole but it recognises issues and supports them to make a difference.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

We aim to extend our reach, helping families in need across the whole county.

Mum2Mum takes place on March 11, acknowledging mums who might otherwise go unrecognised. Visit stripeystork.ork.uk for more details

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