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Why the Princess of Wales's latest initiative is so important and how you can help

Kate Middleton decorates Christmas grotto at Sebby's Corner
The Princess of Wales has backed an initiative to highlight the work of baby banks in the run-up to Christmas (Getty)

The Princess of Wales hailed the vital support provided by baby banks, calling them a "lifeline" as she visited Barnet-based charity, Sebby's Corner, during her most recent royal engagement.

Kate, 41, has been a long-standing supporter of baby banks having visited many across the country.

But her most recent outing, where she helped to decorate a Christmas grotto, has come at a crucial time for baby banks nationwide.

There are more than 200 baby banks around the country, all of which are currently seeing rising demand for their services.

Kate's Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood is encouraging members of the public to donate funds, products and pre-loved items, but also if they're able to volunteer their time in the run-up to the festive period.

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Baby Basics CEO Cat Ross tells HELLO! that the charity is "thrilled that HRH The Princess of Wales and the Royal Foundation Centre For Early Childhood are continuing their commitment to the early years and specifically the baby bank sector through this Christmas public ask".

Cat continues: "As with most charities across the UK right now and especially in the baby bank sector, we are facing our busiest winter yet with the cost of living crisis not just having an impact on increasing demand for our services but a drop in donations and volunteers.

 "This public ask from HRH is not just about us receiving items but is about encouraging the public to think about how they can support the youngest in our society."

Kate Middleton visit Sebby's Corner
The Princess of Wales visited Sebby's Corner last Friday (Getty)

The Princess launched her Shaping Us campaign in January, which aims to raise awareness about how our relationships, experiences, and surroundings in our earliest years lay the foundations that shape the rest of our lives.

Organisations like baby banks can help relieve some of the stresses and strains they face and in turn, give parents and carers the capacity to provide the nurturing care which is so important to babies and very young children.

Princess Kate talking to the organisers at Sebby's Corner
The Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood has backed an initiative to support baby banks this festive period (Getty)

Cat says: "The Early Years are important to all of us and we have societal responsibility to positively shape the next generation by supporting them at the most important time of their lives, the first five years.

 "Whether it is donating items, buying items from our wish lists, giving your time as a volunteer or giving financially, every little really helps us. The timing of this public ask is also so important as for many families the run up to Christmas is not the exciting, fun time it should be as they struggle to provide the basic necessities for their families and then Christmas gifts as well."

In 2020, Kate helped to launch a major initiative to support vulnerable families, persuading 19 British brands to donate more than 10,000 new items to Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities, who operate baby banks across the UK.

The Princess also unpacked a delivery of supplies during a hands-on visit to Baby Basics UK in Sheffield.

Kate Middleton volunteers at Baby Basics Sheffield
Kate visited Baby Basics Sheffield in August 2020 (Getty)

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Cat adds: "Many of our Baby Basics Centres across the UK are running Christmas campaigns for essentials but also for Christmas presents for children and their parents and we are sadly aware that for some families these are the only Christmas presents they will receive this year.

"Most importantly this campaign helps the public remember that just as is with Food Banks, anyone at any time could find themselves in need of support from a baby bank."

Find your nearest baby bank on the Centre for Early Childhood's website.

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