9 March 2023
We paid a visit to our 2022 Charity Award winners The Clothing Bank
According to Sally Parkinson, the Co-founder of The Clothing Bank, in 2018 around 20% of the UK population (13,500,000 people) were living in poverty and struggling to clothe themselves.
“In the UK, 300,000 tons of clothes go to landfill each year”1. Based on these facts alone, if everyone donated their used clothes to charities such as The Clothing Bank instead of throwing them into landfill, we could give every person living in poverty in the UK 20 full outfits to wear. (Calculated on the idea that one kilo of clothes is roughly a thick jumper and blouse with a pair of jeans).
It is this concept that really hits home, that each of us can do our bit to help those living in poverty to feel better in themselves, and as an added bonus to decrease environmental impact that the fashion industry has globally.
The Clothing Bank, established in 2020, is helping to distribute clothing to those who need it the most. They rely on the kindness of volunteers and the community to donate. Anyone who may need support can get in touch via Facebook and once they find out the age / size of the individual, they are able to send out a clothing pack in the post which contains seven days’ worth of clean clothing and shoes. They can send them via post across the United Kingdom, at the cost £7 per box which they raise through sponsorships.
They also work with the council to enable the provision of essential clothing for domestic abuse victims who often are left with nothing. Not only do they provide clean clothes, shoes and underwear etc, they also do have access to some toiletries such as shower gel, toothpaste, sanitary wear which they are able to distribute when needed. During the winter they give out coats, scarves, gloves, hats and wellies to protect from the cold and wet weather.
We met up with Kate and Jan who told us that they are currently in the process of building a new shed to house even more clothes, as currently they have received so many donations that all their storage is full to the brim! On arrival at the address given, if we didn’t already know, you wouldn’t ever know that in the back garden there was a whole operation which is helping many thousands of people across the UK. Jan said “You don’t realise how hard it is for some out there until you’re involved in something like this”
Kate told us the story of how it started off with Sally and Susan in the passage, they since had carports donated and raised money for the cabin a couple of years ago which at the time of our visit was packed full of clothes ready to be given out mainly because of the Christmas pyjama appeal, that they had participated in, ready for Christmas. In relation to the pyjama appeal and recent donations Kate said, “The generosity of people has just been fantastic, you can’t praise people enough”. The amount of donations they had were immense and seemed to fill every centimetre of space they had available.
In the future they’d like to work more closely with schools where teachers can refer students who they know may be struggling. They currently work with a variety of different types of people and places which all may require clothing at some point such as residential homes, who need clothing for their residents.
Co-Founder, Sally Parkinson said:
“We were shocked and amazed when we saw we came in 1st place. We are thankful for all the support from The Clothing Bank community for voting for us. With your fantastic donation we can do so much to help those in need.”
Nick Prewett, Business Development Team Manager at Sheffield Mutual said:
“Having visited The Clothing Bank, I was impressed at the passion of the people that were volunteering there. They are dedicated and are trying to not only provide clothing supplies where needed but trying to get real quality too, so when issued, they will last.
They had a brilliant set up and some great plans for the future. I loved listening to some of their stories on how they have helped people.”
Megan, Kate, Jan and Nick