Lyn Atkinson – Giving Grannies
Giving Grannies helps families in need – especially those with new-born babies – with essential items. It came about when Lyn and her husband, Neil, who had done voluntary work at the Wesley Mission in Fortitude Valley since 2008 had seen the need to help, not just with Christmas presents but with everyday items.
In 2012, they set up Giving Grannies and the following year were able to provide ‘Baby Welcome Kits’.
Referrals come from government departments and, more usually, the social workers attached to hospitals since these people are in the best position to see the need. The organization specifically does not discriminate between culture or religion. It works on a needs basis only.
Being a small organization…they work out of Lyn’s home. They have many constraints but, nevertheless, produce around 22 Baby Welcome Kits each month. These kits contain toiletries and clothes. More importantly, the Grannies try to include some clothing, books and toys plus, wherever possible other things such as baby baths etc. Usually, the kits will contain both things that are second hand and things that are new…plus something that is hand-made. Sometimes these kits are absolutely vital in getting the babies home from hospital because authorities are reluctant to allow babies to leave hospitals unless they are satisfied that adequate provision has been made for their care and comfort.
Lyn told us that if a mother had to choose between linen and toiletries and breakfast for her family, it is a no contest – which is one reason why the organization tries hard to provide linen and toiletries. Many is the time that Lyn has seen babies lying on bare mattresses with no sheets because the family simply did not have the wherewithal.
They deal with families where the children are under 4 years old. Any older and Giving Grannies have to refer to other, better equipped and larger organizations.
Lyn acknowledged the support that Giving Grannies gets from a wonderful network of donors and volunteers plus the use of a storage shed to keep supplies in.