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Charity founder Hilary on special podcast

A local great-grandmother whose charity provides vital baby items to vulnerable families has been chosen by The National Lottery to feature on a special Mothering Sunday podcast with TV presenter Anna Williamson.

Hilary Johnston, founder of charity Cwtch, was singled out for her project’s inspirational work providing essential equipment, clothing and toiletries for babies aged up to 24 months old across South Wales.

Hilary, who lives in Whitchurch, was chosen to appear on the National Lottery’s It Takes A Village podcast, an uplifting and informative mini-series – hosted by Celebs Go Dating presenter Anna – which highlights some of the Lottery-funded charities which support mums at this difficult time.

Each episode focuses on a different theme around motherhood, and Hilary, who has three children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, says the podcast is raising vital awareness ahead of Mothering Sunday [tomorrow, March 14th].

Hilary said: “I was a bit shocked to be asked to go on a podcast – I’m 72 and not very technically-minded!

“But it was lovely. Anna put me at ease and it was just like chatting to a friend. I waffle a lot anyway, so it was quite easy for me!

“I fostered babies for 20 years, from birth to adoption, so having seen that side of the coin I realised there were a lot of families out there in need and I wondered how they managed.

“Because of Covid or people losing their jobs, there are now an awful lot more people out there who need us. It’s more important now than ever.

“It’s crucial to shine a light on the fact we are out there helping families and need support to carry on. Hopefully this podcast can do that.

“People don’t like admitting they need help. But it is important that people are aware they can reach out – we want to help people.”

Cwtch, which became Wales’ first baby bank when it was formed in spring 2016, accepts donations of excellent-condition, pre-loved items before passing them on to families who have been referred via support agencies.

Powered by National Lottery funding, the project has helped more than 2,700 families and continued to provide a vital support network throughout the pandemic.

Cwtch, whose distribution centre is in Taff’s Well, has set up an online ‘wish list’ to allow donations to continue for those in need and Hilary thanked National Lottery players for enabling the project to thrive.

National Lottery players raise £30 million a week for good causes. National Lottery funding to support the UK-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded £1 billion during the last year. To find out more about how to access extra support at this time, listen to It Takes A Village now via or on Apple Podcasts

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