Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Social Services
Earlier this year, I published our Children and Young People’s Plan, which set out how we will support children and young people as they grow up in Wales. We want our children to have the best start in life, no matter what their backgrounds are, where they come from or where they live.
Our Programme for Government includes a commitment to offer free baby bundles to more families across Wales to help give children that best start in life.
Our aim is to provide a scheme, which is open to all new and expectant parents in Wales. Bundles would be offered to all families free of charge for each baby born. They would be a gift to welcome a new baby, with no strings attached and without stigma.
We want all expectant parents in Wales to feel their child is valued and that they are fully supported by the Welsh Government as they embark on their parenting journey.
We have already carried out a small but successful pilot scheme – 200 families in the Swansea Bay University Health Board area received a baby bundle between September 2020 and March 2021.
The pilot assessed the principles of operating a national scheme, including whether baby bundles:
- Contribute towards giving all new-borns in Wales the best possible start in life
- Provide essential items and guidance to help families in the first weeks and months of their new baby’s life
- Provide a gift for everyone – with no strings, or stigma attached
- Promote a more equal playing field for parents and their babies by reducing the need for expenditure on essentials for a new-born baby.
The evaluation of the pilot indicates it was successful and the bundles were welcomed by all parents that took part. The gesture made parents feel supported at a special time.
We are continuing to work on the baby bundles scheme, which we believe will help families with the cost-of-living crisis by providing a range of essential items. They will also contribute towards:
- Better outcomes for children, by signposting families to information and advice about parenting and support programmes.
- Tackling inequalities, by providing all families with access to the same essential items to support their child’s start in life.
- Tackling poverty, by removing some of costs families face when a baby is born.
- Decarbonisation – the baby bundles will avoid single-use products and will reduce the amount of packaging used, using local suppliers wherever possible.
We will be carrying out further research and engagement with parents, midwives and health visitors over the summer to inform the development of baby bundles, including their content and the registration process.
I look forward to being able to provide further updates as the scheme progresses.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.