One month into a new year, it’s easy to embrace the whole “new year, new me” cliché. It’s still a bit chilly but it seems silly not to ring in the changes. For some however, every night is the same story.
According to newly-published findings by Homeless Link, almost 5000 people were sleeping rough on English streets in 2017, an increase of 15% since 2016.
Sadly, the figure is almost twice what it was in 2013. As temperatures have plunged, many of these people are likely to have lacked the basic essentials like coats, to stay warm during the winter.
This is where Kind Coats comes in. Taking inspiration from a photograph, Fay Sibley and Sarah Fletcher set up a Colchester-based coat exchange. All it needed was a coat rail, a dozen coats going spare and the kindness of strangers.
The idea has mushroomed since it launched and now hundreds of coats have been donated to these exchanges up and down the UK.
Here at Goodwork, we recently published an article about the initiative in the run-up to Christmas; we were so inspired by the idea that we decided set up our own coat exchange outside our office at Chiswick Town Hall in West London.
If you wish to join in on this initiative, all you need are the following things:
- A sturdy clothes rail and hangers
- Any spare or unwanted coats
- An eye-catching sign for the exchange
Here are also some tips for how to present your stall:
- As your exchange is likely to be outdoors, hang your sign on the rail in a transparent plastic sleeve to stop it getting soggy
- Find a space to set up your exchange where people will notice it – avoid placing it somewhere that might obstruct people
- To make the sign as eye-catching as possible, print the sign with the font at the appropriate size for people to read it from a distance
- To get the message across clearly, it should say something like “Need one? Take one. Want to help? Leave one”