National charity Little Sprouts has opened a branch in Kapiti to support local families and babies in need during the months after birth.

Little Sprouts, which was launched in Whitby during 2009 by founder Jo Alderdice, now has branches in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch and, as of May this year, Kapiti.

Running from a room at Te Ara Korowai in Raumati Beach, Kapiti's Little Sprouts is entirely voluntary run and, thanks to a collection of helpful local hands, is working to directly support people on the coast.

"We've just opened our Kapiti branch so we can store donations and make up packs locally, for local families," Kapiti Little Sprouts co-founder Sarah Yuile said.

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Families access Little Sprouts packages under various circumstances, including women escaping violent relationships, refugees entering New Zealand, young or solo parents, parents with premature or unwell babies, mums battling post-natal depression, parents with multiples such as twins, and parents in financial hardship.

"They all share a common need to provide their babies with great quality, essential items and often they're dealing with difficult circumstances in their lives.

"Being provided with a Little Sprouts baby pack eliminates the stress of trying to provide these items for their babies themselves, allowing them to focus on raising their babies and meeting their own needs."

As part of the packs, families receive necessary items including an entire wardrobe of clothing, blankets, books, toys, nappies and additional health and safety items such as a new smoke alarm and thermometer.

Little Sprouts also provides a safe sleeping space wherever needed and gives away packs to babies and infants up to, and including, the age of one.

Since taking on its first charity partner in 2014, Little Sprouts now works alongside more than 40 charities nationally to help reach families most in need.

"Over time it became apparent that the best way to ensure Little Sprouts reached those most in need was to work with social workers from the network of charities and organisations in our community, who support vulnerable families," Sarah said.

"We are currently working with the Kapiti Woman's Refuge, Barnados and Birthright as our local charity partners, and will be continuing to add more charity partners to reach a wider range of families in our community.

"Social workers from our charity partners carefully select pack recipients, before we create a Little Sprouts pack that is then delivered by the social worker right to the family's home.

"This ensures that families and babies receive the ongoing support they need, and it removes all barriers to access."

To make the packs, Little Sprouts relies entirely on fundraising, grants and public donations of quality second hand items.

"We also have supporters such as Merino Kids, Earthwise and Kiddie Care who provide us with new items."

This month, Baby Sensory Kapiti is running a Kapiti Baby and Child show at Southward Car Museum, on Sunday, October 29, from 10am to 4.30pm, with funds from tickets sales going directly to Little Sprouts Kapiti.

Sarah, who is excited about the future of Little Sprouts in Kapiti, hopes people will come along to not only support local businesses as vendors, but local families and babies in need.

"It's our belief that every baby deserves the best start in life, so we want to see all local families receive that support."


How can you help?
¦Little Sprouts is accepting donations of good quality baby items from newborn up to size one.

¦Donations required include clothing, blankets, books, toys, sheets, feeding items, nappies and larger items.

¦Drop off points in Paraparaumu include Kapiti Plunket, the Health Centre, Lollipops Day Care and Coast Access Radio in Waikanae.

¦Tickets to the Baby and Child Show on Sunday, October 29th at Southwards Car Museum can be purchased through the Little Sprouts Kapiti Facebook page.

¦If you or someone you know is in need of a baby pack, please visit one of the Little Sprouts charity partners to discuss a referral.

¦For more information, questions or to inquire about volunteering email littlesproutskapiti@gmail.com