Poverty fighters express worries regarding royal visits to baby banks.

The Independent Food Aid Network has issued a warning about normalizing charity as a solution to poverty following the Princess of Wales volunteering at a center in Berkshire.

Campaigners against poverty have expressed concerns about the visits made by the Princess of Wales to baby banks, as they fear it may lead to the normalization of charity as the answer to poverty.

Footage released by Kensington Palace recently showed the Duchess of Cambridge taking her three children to a baby bank in Holyport, Berkshire, where they assisted volunteers in sorting Christmas presents.

Last month, she visited Sebby’s Corner in Barnet, north London, which is one of the increasing number of baby banks being established nationwide to provide families in need with free nappies, clothes, and formula milk.

The director of the Independent Food Aid Network, Sabine Goodwin, commented, “There is a thin line between encouraging donations with a positive angle and making the charitable response to poverty seem normal.

The intentions of the Princess of Wales are undoubtedly good, but we must not view royal patronage with rose-colored glasses. We need to collectively raise awareness that baby banks, along with fuel banks, warm banks, and food banks, should not have to exist.

In order to address this issue, we must combine calls for systemic change with necessary measures to bridge the gap.”

Graham Whitham, CEO of Greater Manchester Poverty Action, agrees, stating that “it is crucial that we do not further normalize charitable responses to poverty”.

He also stressed that Kate’s visit has shed light on the challenges faced by many low-income families and serves as a wake-up call for both national and local decision-makers to address the root causes of poverty.

In response to the royal visit, Ames Taylor, chair of Greater Manchester Money Advice Group, posted on social media, “We are fortunate to capture these good deeds on camera. As a wealthy country, there should be no need for ‘baby banks’, ‘food banks’, or ‘warm spaces’. People should have enough to meet their needs, and the safety net should protect them.”

Kensington Palace declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have released a video promoting their Archewell Foundation, featuring Meghan volunteering at a pop-up baby boutique for expectant mothers experiencing homelessness.

The Sussexes’ year in review video was embedded on the Archewell website as part of the charity’s impact report for 2022-23. This release closely followed Kensington Palace’s footage of Kate assisting at the baby bank with George, Charlotte, and Louis.

The impact report also disclosed unaudited figures, revealing that the charity generated $5 million (£4 million) in revenue this year, awarded grants totaling $1.2 million, and has remaining funding amounting to $11.2 million.

In 2022, revenue amounted to $2 million, with grants totaling $1.2 million and a reserve of $8.5 million. In its inaugural year in 2021, the charity reported revenue of $13 million, granted $3 million, and had remaining funds of $9.1 million.

Archewell explained that it is not uncommon for high-profile foundations to receive a substantial influx of funding in their first year, which is then utilized over a period of several years as part of a financial plan to advance their philanthropic work.

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