| Greg Watson
I recently attended a talk about co-production organised by Jane McGrath of West London Collaborative and was introduced to Pramdepot, a community-led arts-based recycling project set up in North London by Karen Whiteread.
Pramdepot provides recycled baby clothes and equipment to vulnerable new mothers and their babies who are introduced to them by Birth Companions, migrant support groups, the British Red Cross, The Helen Bamber Foundation, Re-Unite and other women’s prison services.
The women introduced to Pramdepot are unable to provide essentials for themselves and their new baby, due to either a lack of recourse to public funds or to unforeseen difficulties and circumstances in their personal lives. They are often very vulnerable with no family or support and, in some cases, have not had any prenatal care until they’re 32 weeks pregnant, leaving them feeling isolated and afraid of the changes ahead of them.
I was supported by Pramdepot 10 months ago, when I was 8 months pregnant. It meant I had some time to talk to other women as at that point I didn’t have anything prepared. After being there for a couple of hours I left with everything I needed. I stayed in touch and I’m looking forward to getting more involved with the project. I feel really lucky and grateful to have found Pramdepot and I can only hope that my input in the future can help other mums like me.
– A new mum
Yet many of Pramdepot’s current donors are mothers who were themselves introduced to Pramdepot in the past, so expecting mothers are reassured by the presence of like-minded women who have been in similar circumstances to themselves.
Pramdepot receives donations from parenting groups and local families including baby clothes; buggies; car seats; Moses baskets; blankets, sheets and bedding; sterilising units; bottles; changing units and more. Pramdepot’s volunteers also knit baby clothes and toys and take part in crochet classes to make blankets. These items are then beautifully packaged and delivered to mums at home or collected from Pramdepot by a support volunteer.
They project is committed to making sure that nothing donated to them ends up in landfill, with any donations that aren’t up to standard being forwarded on to shredding services for future reuse.
The project aims to empower and connect the mothers by providing opportunities for them to volunteer with Pramdepot in the future and to grow and support together to help Pramdepot help more vulnerable women.
In 2016 the project has supported over 100 new mums and babies and, due to the dedication of donors and volunteers, every mum has received every item she has requested so far, which just goes to demonstrate the positive impact a community can have when it works together!