Photo Credit: Florence Charvin
Photo Credit: Florence Charvin

As featured in current BayBuzz magazine article, Twenty.

Gabby Allen’s strong desire for fairness and to make sure people are well looked after drives her growing role as an advocate for vulnerable pregnant and young mothers, their babies and families.

She is currently representing consumers on the national DHB Maternity Covid Resilience Planning Group, asking “how do we look after pregnant mum’s and their families during these times?”

“It is really hard trying to navigate the pandemic,” she says. “It is like dealing with an upending tidal wave.”

It was when Gabby became a mother herself ten years ago that she realised what a vulnerable time of life it is. She started the Facebook page “Out and about with kids in Hawke’s Bay” thinking she’d connect with a 100 or so local mums. On day three she had 700 followers and today there are over 23,000. 

The first thing she created via social media was a winter clothing drive which has distributed over 70,000 warm winter items locally. Realising as much as 65% of Hawke’s Bay babies are born into poverty, Gabby then started the year-round “Our Babies” project. She coordinates about 1,000 newborn packs each year featuring merino baby raps, clothing, and woollens knitted by some 400 knitters across Hawke’s Bay. The month of June is synonymous with another Gabby Allen project, Jammies In June, gifting pyjamas to over 5,000 local children each year.

“The challenge is that there is always more to be done.” 

Ask what other HB women inspire her and at top of the list is Gabby’s Mum – “sounding board and mentor”. Then it is the “wonderful selfless knitting nanas knitting with love to provide more than just warmth to our precious babies.” 

Finally it’s her circle of friends, “who inspire, uplift one another and keep it real. They are the true ‘Wonderwomen’ in my life”.

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