Baby bank founder responds to critics

Scottish Charity Regulator says it was in touch with baby bank over Facebook content.
Scottish Charity Regulator says it was in touch with baby bank over Facebook content.

The founder of Lanarkshire Baby Bank has spoken out after concerns were raised over how it is being run.

Responding to claims that volunteers are not being vetted before they deal with vulnerable families, Bernadette Murphy said she had been assured formal checks were not required.

Baby bank founder Bernadette Murphy, pictured, right, with MP Marion Fellows, says she was told volunteers do not need to be vetted.

Baby bank founder Bernadette Murphy, pictured, right, with MP Marion Fellows, says she was told volunteers do not need to be vetted.

She also denied that the organisation has misled the public by describing itself as a charity.

Mrs Murphy’s comments follow concerns raised by councillors about volunteers not undergoing Disclosure Scotland vetting.

A former volunteer said he was given the address and phone number of a vulnerable woman without ever having had his background checked.

North Lanarkshire Council says it has no formal links with the baby bank, which supplies essentials such as prams and nappies to needy families, but it’s understood the authority accepts its social workers have referred clients to it.

In a statement Mrs Murphy said baby bank trustees have twice raised the issue of checks with Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire and been told volunteers do not require vetting as “we do not spend any length of time with the families”.

Mrs Murphy also denied referring to the baby bank as a charity or being warned about misleading the public.

She added: “We did apply for charitable status and due to some administrative errors this has not been granted. A new application will be sent in due course.”

However, the Scottish Charity Regulator said it had contacted the baby bank last month about content on its Facebook page.

A spokesman said: “We noticed some material from which it might be inferred that the organisation was a charity.

“While we did not consider that the references amounted to misrepresentation, we did contact the baby bank to ask them to be mindful of the need to monitor the content of their social media and any other material they distribute to ensure the public is not misled into believing it is registered as a charity.”