Little Village

Digital transformation to help a high growth charity serve more families in need across London


About Little Village

Little Village is an incredible charity that supports families with babies and children under five living in poverty across London. The charity provides two core support services to families - baby bank support, and signposting and guidance:

• Baby banks provide a selection of products for young children and their families to help them in their time of need. These cover everything from nappies and wipes, clothes and toys, to beds, cots and buggies.

• Signposting and guidance are used to supplement or substitute care available through the baby banks, showing families where they can receive additional or alternative support. 

Care and love is emphasised throughout everything they do. Since launching in 2016, Little Village has supported more than 24,000 children under 5 in London. 

The brief

Little Village got in touch with Loomery as their digital tooling and systems were struggling to cope with the changing needs of the charity and the increasing requests for help arriving at their door. Their current technology stack was becoming a blocker to progress and a frustration to their teams, so there was a real need to examine their digital estate and make the changes required for Little Village to provide the best possible help for families across London. They wanted to plan their future path with technology and we were delighted to partner with them and take the lead.

Little Village needed a partner to provide an external, impartial view of the organisation and look at what could be improved with technology across the organisation.


of all children under five in the UK are living in poverty


worth of items gifted to Little Village in 2022



Identifying opportunities for technology to help Little Village help families

We started in listening mode. We wanted to gain a clear understanding of the charity, its people and processes, and to embed ourselves within the Little Village team. To this end, a Loomery product manager, strategy director and designer undertook a discovery to map out the different teams across the charity, their approach and tools, and how they interact with each other.

When we arrived, records for families, volunteers and donors were split across multiple databases, and many teams had resorted to spreadsheets in lack of a better solution. The impact of this was a huge amount of manual admin which drained the team’s precious time and resources. There was a clear opportunity to hold all the records in a central cloud platform to allow for automation, create a single source of truth, and to facilitate easy access, updates, and analysis of data. The next step was to undertake an audit of the cloud platforms that had the potential to meet Little Village’s needs.

Tech challenges we heard from the team

Delivering immediate value through ‘quick wins’

While we worked towards the long-term solution, we also identified smaller pieces of development that could solve some of the immediate challenges and frustrations experienced by the Little Village team.

Here’s one example of a small enhancement that had a big impact. Little Village has an online form for public sector partners (such as local GPs, midwives, teachers) to refer families for support. When we arrived, delivery addresses were entered into a free text field, leading to jumbled and inconsistent data that required a lot of subsequent manual checks. Adding a postcode look-up to the form, much like you’d see on an eCommerce site, immediately helped the Transport and Logistics team, who no longer had to spend multiple hours a week manually editing addresses before sharing them with delivery drivers. This quick piece of development made the process of referring families faster and more intuitive for referral partners too.

Defining the target state - and figuring out how we’d reach it

Next up was creating a future-state blueprint so that we could visualise exactly how the Little Village team wanted to operate in the future. The goal was not only to align the team and to help us refine their needs, but to identify further opportunities where technology could supercharge their day-to-day tasks and processes.

A tech lead from Loomery scrutinised the field of SaaS providers that could power the charities future operations, closely examining each platform’s pre-built functionality, robustness, flexibility, support and integration capabilities. Every team at Little Village would be using and interacting with the platform, so the stakes were high.

Adopting a new operational platform was a significant investment for Little Village and so the cost of the new platform, both of licensing and implementation, was a major decision factor. The Loomery team led the tender process, collaborating with specialist delivery partners and setting the context by sharing Little Village’s requirements, to ensure they could produce detailed proposals for implementation and ongoing support.

The platforms under consideration:

Delivering on the vision and setting Little Village up for long term success

With delivery proposals in front of Little Village, the focus turned to creating a robust business case for the Little Village board. To guide the senior leadership team towards making the right decision for Little Village, we held a workshop to assign a weight to the different decision factors. These included: total cost of ownership, delivery speed, onboarding support, platform robustness, future flexibility, ease of integrations, and design.

Ultimately, the winner was Appian, a low-code platform with low upfront delivery costs, rapid delivery speed, and the flexibility to be customised to fit the team’s evolving needs. With a decision made, we kick-started the procurement process to appoint the perfect partner to deliver it.

At the same time, the Loomery team helped hire and onboard Little Village’s first permanent Product Manager. Having dedicated resource in-house will ensure the successful implementation of the new platform, and prepare Little Village for their future with technology.


The goal of our partnership with Little Village was to kickstart and lead a digital transformation of their operations. By unburdening the team from manual workarounds, improving digital tooling, building internal capabilities and simplifying processes, Loomery unlocked more time for Little Village to do what they do best: supporting families. We were pleased to set them on the right long-term path, selecting a platform and partner to deliver a new technical backbone for the charity.

Delivery of the new platform is underway, and we can’t wait to see the impact it has.

"Loomery quickly felt part of our team and really understood the unique challenges of working in a fast-pace, front-line charity.  Their strategic support, blueprinting and procurement input gave us the space to focus on the crucial work we needed to do - to support more families get the best start in life.”

— Emily Compston, Head of Operations, Little Village