A small baby bank charity was “completely astounded” to gain approval from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Instagram, its chief executive has said.
A spokesman for the London-based Little Village charity said a call came “out of the blue” from officials to say that just an hour later Harry and Meghan were to mention them on the royal couple’s newly-launched Instagram.
Little Village’s Instagram followers shot up by 1,000 in the 24 hours after the April 5 post on the pregnant couple’s site called on people to give to “select charities for children and parents in need”. Meghan is due to give birth to the couple’s first child soon.
Little Village, which was among four charities named by the couple, is like a foodbank but for clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children up to the age of five.
Local families donate items, which are passed on to families who have been referred via a network of partners such as health visitors, children’s centres and midwives.
Chief executive Sophia Parker said: “We’ve been completely astounded by the response we’ve received since being mentioned on the Duke and Duchess’ Instagram account. We’ve received messages and donations from as far afield as Australia, Texas and Hong Kong, it’s fantastic to think that people across the world appreciate our work.
“We’re a very small charity, so support like this is crucial. We often see families whose babies are being forced to sleep on cushions on the floor and children with shoes two sizes too small. We support families by providing clothing for their children, safe places for them to sleep, and toys and books to help them thrive.
“We receive no public funding so are reliant on donations and the generosity of the public – every penny really does count.”
The charity, which has sites in Wandsworth, Camden and Southwark and has helped 2,098 families since being launched in 2016, saw an increase of 97% in the demand for its services in the past year.
The Instagram post read: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are immensely grateful for the outpouring of love and support in anticipation of the birth of their first child.
“In lieu of sending gifts, the couple have long planned to encourage members of the public to make donations to select charities for children and parents in need. If you already made a donation, the couple send you their greatest thanks. If you are thinking about it, they ask that you kindly consider the following organisations they’ve selected, which we will highlight here over the next few days.”
Little Village estimates it has helped find 1,022 safe places to sleep, along with 722 much-needed buggies, 170,000 items including clothing, shoes, warm coats, toys and books plus 21,000 pieces of equipment including bottles, high chairs and baby carriers.