We provide free baby and children’s clothes and equipment to mums of pre-school children, who could do with a little extra help. Growbaby is open during Storehouse opening times and on Wednesday mornings in conjunction with Vineyard Vibes (a musical play time for pre-school children and their carers, with a free Café).

Carrie Charlton heads up Growbaby. She’s great at welcoming people, meeting them where they’re at and making them feel comfortable.

How did you become a volunteer?

I had a referral from Social Services who were concerned because I wasn’t leaving the house or speaking to anyone. They suggested volunteering as a positive way to get out of the house and I chose Storehouse because I’d been there before.

And how have you found it?

When I first volunteered I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything to contribute. I was worried I wouldn’t say or do the right thing. But I got involved by making teas and coffees and sorting clothes, which allowed me to meet people gradually. In the past I’ve been hurt a few times and I was scared that, if I was involved with people, life would get difficult, but it’s been surprising how good it’s been!

What advice would you give to people going through difficult situations?

Whatever your problems are, you can do it — you just need the strength to step out and put yourself around the right people. When you’re suffering for any reason, you can’t always see that there’s hope.

I’m a single parent and I’d convinced myself there was no way I could cope on my own. Now I lead the normal life that I thought was completely out of reach for me — and with Growbaby, I’m doing a job that I love!