Anti-poverty campaigners raise concerns over royal visits to baby banks | Monarchy #Antipoverty #campaigners #raise #concerns #royal #visits #baby #banks #Monarchy

Anti-poverty campaigners have raised concerns about visits by the Princess of Wales to baby banks, warning they risk normalising the idea that charity is the answer to poverty.

Footage released by Kensington Palace earlier this week showed Kate taking her three children to a baby bank in Holyport, Berkshire, where they helped volunteers sort Christmas presents.

Last month she visited Sebby’s Corner in Barnet, north London, one of a growing number of baby banks being set up across the country to provide free nappies, clothes and formula milk to families in need.

Sabine Goodwin, director of the Independent Food Aid Network, said: “There’s a fine line between soliciting donations with a positive spin and normalising a charitable response to poverty.

“The Princess of Wales’s heart is undoubtedly in the right place but we can’t afford to see royal patronage through rose-tinted glasses. We need to be collectively shouting from the rooftops that baby banks, like warm banks, fuel banks and food banks, shouldn’t be needed.

“If we are to put the baby bank genie back in its bottle, combining calls for systemic change with much needed efforts to fill the gap is critical.”

Graham Whitham, chief executive of Greater Manchester Poverty Action, agreed, saying “it is vital we don’t further normalise charitable responses to poverty”.

He added that Kate’s visit had raised the profile of the challenges facing many low-income families. “It must also be a wakeup call for national and local decision-makers as to the need for responses to poverty that address the root causes.”

Ames Taylor, chair of Greater Manchester Money Advice Group, responding to the royal visit, posted on social media: “Thank goodness there were cameras that we might know of such good deeds. We are a rich country – there should be no ‘baby banks’, no food banks, and no ‘warm spaces’. People should have enough to get by. And the safety net should keep people safe.”

Kensington Palace declined to comment.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, meanwhile, have released a video promoting their Archewell Foundation, with a montage showing Meghan volunteering at a pop-up baby boutique she staged for expectant mothers experiencing homelessness.

The round-up of the Sussexes’ year was embedded on the Archewell website as part of the charity’s impact report 2022-23 and was released shortly after Kensington Palace issued footage on Monday of Kate helping out at the baby bank with George, Charlotte and Louis.

The impact report also shows unaudited figures revealing the charity made $5m (around £4m) in revenue this year, issued grants of $1.2m and has $11.2m of remaining funding.

In 2022, its revenue was $2m , with grants made of $1.2m and $8.5m in reserve. In its first year of operation, 2021, revenue was $13m and it distributed $3m in grants, with $9.1m remaining.

Archewell said it was not unusual for high-profile foundations to receive a significant influx of funding in their first year to be used over several years as part of a financial plan to build its philanthropic work.

#Antipoverty #campaigners #raise #concerns #royal #visits #baby #banks #Monarchy

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