A NEW community creche and baby bank in Ellesmere Port is helping to support families in the town.

Mini Beez CIC, based in Flatt Lane Community Centre, was set up after founder Claire Rhind found she was struggling to find flexible and affordable children's groups in the area.

She explained: "Initially the group was founded in 2017. We were funded by local councillors for our equipment and focused on things like sensory and messy play to help parents bond with their child and help children develop essential skills.

"After feedback from members and research into the issues effecting local families, we discovered that affordable childcare for working families and those with minimal support were a major issue as well as help with essential items such as baby food and clothing.

"Ellesmere Port also has a huge rate of mothers experiencing post-natal depression (PND) and loneliness.

"I have a background of qualifications in psychology, and completed a mental health first aid course to recognise any users of the group that may need support.

"We then decided to seek funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to open the Community Creche and baby bank, with continued support from Cheshire West and Chester Council.

"Carly Coulson, the creche manager is a qualified teacher for early years, and we both hold paediatric first aid certificates."

The creche is open at the centre on Tuesdays from 10am-1pm, where any child can stay a maximum of two hours, while the play group runs on a Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon.

Baby bank services are either self referred or from local authorities.

Claire added: "We work on a pay as you go basis but also offer membership that works out cheaper and gives members discounts to the creche and birthday parties, as well as access to our lending library of books and sensory equipment.

"We have an excellent team of volunteers, and one of our aims is to help mothers back into work by offering voluntary positions and training."

The group also works alongside West Cheshire Foodbank in support of the baby bank.