• Naseem Syed

‘We Grow Together’ by Sally Evans


I’m the coordinator of Bundles Baby clothing bank and birth Support, as well as the community arts development officer in Newport. Bundles support women who are pregnant either by offering practical support or be a friend at a critical time in someones life. Having a baby can be exciting, but also frightening time for anyone. If your life was challenging and uncertain at this time, it can increase your isolation. Bundles was established to alleviate some of that pressure. Lost Connections has given me a chance to take some time to focus on making something to represent Bundles, which has been a pleasure to do.

Has lockdown changed you? How? Why?

During the first lock down we were under threat of redundancy prior to the furlough scheme starting. This was quite a stressful time for us all. But it did mean that I could commit to spending more time with Bundles. As we could then volunteer in our hours, it was a good way to feel like I could actually be of some kind of help and gave me a chance to focus on Bundles, which was also getting busier due to the difficult situations women found themselves in due to lockdown.

What made you smile or brought you joy in lockdown? Can you explain it?

The first lockdown I think was easier. It gave me time with my family, and we were able to go for long walks. The sun was out! And I think we were all new to catching up with friends and family through zoom calls! There was some fun. We were converting a van into a camper and looking forward to when we could go off on adventures! Working in Bundles also always does make me smile. Just on a practical level there is something really therapeutic about folding and sorting baby clothes! It is very calming :). You can't help but smile also when you see such tiny clothes, and know that whatever is happening there is genuinely always hope for the future.

Have you changed since lockdown? Tell me why.

I think there is a an element where I try to not think too far ahead at the moment. It is hard that I won't have seen my family and friends for longer than a year now. But in a lot of ways lockdown has made me really thankful . It highlights what is important, and what I should or shouldn't take seriously. The first lockdown did give me a bit of brain space! And time to focus on Bundles which means that more women are accessing the service which is really what is is all about. Trying to support women who are in a difficult time right now, and just need a bit of support.

What is the story behind your hand art?

It’s called We Grow Together. I wanted to try to make something that reflects what Bundles is really all about. I set up Bundles initially because I met a number of women who were really having difficult times and pregnant with little support around them. Lilly Tomlin said " I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. then I realised I was somebody." I love this quote because it means to me that we can all do something. That was my starting point for Bundles. I thought that even if I could do a little to help, it was better than doing nothing. Sounds cheesy I know! But genuinely that was the starting point for me. Bundles is most definitely a collection of a number of amazing people who offer support in a lot of different ways. In this way we have a lot of branches into our communities, and Bundles is growing as more people get involved. It's a fantastic community and support network. I have seen it first-hand that fundamentally I believe people are kind, and want to help others. Even in the most difficult personal situations people offer help to others.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

We do have bigger plans. The Buddy scheme means that we are now offering a phone call, check in to see how people are during this tricky time. Lock down has increased a how busy we are. People’s lives may be in chaotic situations and lockdown has highlighted this unfortunately. We are always looking for more people to get involved. This might be as a delivery driver, or a Bundles Buddy and offer a bit of time just to be a friendly voice at a critical time. It can really make all the difference to someones day. bundles.cymru@gmail.com @bundlesbirthsupport.

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