A new project offering free baby clothes, nappies and equipment to the town’s mums has been hailed a huge success after just its first week.
Three mums came up with the idea for the Hartlepool Baby Bank to help families save money, cut down on waste and also a provide a place for parents to get help and support.
The baby bank is a place where parents of under-twos and parents-to-be can pick up clothes, toys and equipment donated by generous supporters.
It launched at the Burbank Community Centre this week and will be held every Tuesday morning.
Rachel Scotland came up with the idea with her friends Emilie and Sophie.
Rachel, 29, said: “I had a daughter and she grew really fast. While we were really lucky and able to manage with people passing on things to us I knew other people would really struggle.
“I was talking about it with some other mums at my breastfeeding group and they said they had similar experiences and it seems like this is something Hartlepool really needs.
“The more we talked about it we thought it shouldn’t just be a clothes exchange but also provide things like nappies, high chairs and cots.
“Especially with the advent of Universal Credit I think it is very difficult for a lot of families.”
Visitors and parents can also donate items for the bank or talk to volunteers for help and advice on issues including parenting, feeding, and hygiene.
Around a dozen people attended the first event last Tuesday.
Donations have also been coming in thick and fast including a sizeable contribution from town charity Miles for Men.
Rachel added: “The response has been immense. It is really clear people are in need of this service in Hartlepool.”
It is being supported by staff from Burbank Community Centre, in Burbank Street.
Manager Ian Cawley said: “It will help a lot of people. There are no checks on eligibility.
“We have had a lot of people donating things. It is being done by the people of Hartlepool for the people.
“The centre is facilitating and is helping with advice and staff who are volunteering.”
People who have anything they would like to donate are encouraged to do so when the baby bank is open on Tuesdays between 11am and 1pm.