Search for nation’s everyday heroes
The 2020 National Lottery Awards reward and recognise people who have done amazing things with the help of National Lottery funding. Winners receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy. And one thing is certain, the events of this extraordinary year have inspired more people than ever to find a way to help.
Everyone has their own reason for wanting to help, of course. For Amma Poku, a 57-year-old librarian from South London who volunteers at Little Village, a National Lottery-funded baby bank, it is a passionate desire to help struggling mothers.
Amma said, “I fundamentally believe that every one of us, every human being, has the right to live in a dignified and respectful way. Volunteering for Little Village is my small contribution to trying to make the world a better place.”
Amma, who has two children in their 20s, understands the financial burden faced by parents when it comes to buying everything from nappies and clothes to cots and pushchairs.
She said, “I used to walk past a shop in Balham that sold baby clothes and equipment and I was absolutely astonished by the price of everything. Things were expensive when my children were young, but I can’t get over the cost of equipment now.”
Helping the families that visit Little Village’s drop-in centre in Balham get a selection of donated clothes and equipment suitable for their infant son or daughter is the focus of Amma’s role at the charity. She welcomes each family, makes them comfortable with the offer of tea or coffee and carefully assesses their needs.
While Little Village’s drop-in centres have been closed due to the coronavirus, the charity is still supporting families by delivering items to their homes.
Amma said, “It’s important that the parents are made to feel welcome and that they’re not being judged. One of the things that’s in the forefront of any parent’s mind is ‘am I a good parent, am I doing this correctly?' Parents are never judged at Little Village – the volunteers and staff are there because they recognise that it’s important that all children have as good a start as possible in life.”
Something else that is important to Amma is showing parents that volunteers are a diverse group united by a single aim: helping out. She said, “I know that quite a number of the families that go to the baby bank will be from ethnic backgrounds. I want them to see that people like them can sit on both sides of the table; that it’s not just people who come from particular backgrounds who do the giving.”
9th July 2020
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