The Clothing Store is a project that aims to provide essential clothing to asylum seekers arriving at the local Initial Accommodation Centre, and hotels used by Mears, the current home office accomodation provider.
It also provides assistance to local asylum seekers, destitute asylum seekers and new refugees in the community.
For the people passing through the Initial Accommodation Centre the Clothing Store offers three types of support:
- Emergency Packs:
Emergency Packs contain a set of new underwear, socks, t-shirt and jogging pants. When possible a new warm top will be included.
For babies and young children the packs will consist of two or three changes of clothes, depending on the age of the child.
- Change of Clothes:
Change of Clothes packs include new underwear and new socks, and consist of a clean set of donated clothes.
For children there will be enough clothes for 24-48 hours.
- Support Clothing:
Support Clothing is the offer of specific items of clothes, for example a coat, jumper or shoes.
Items from Knitters of Sanctuary are regularly included in the packs. Adult knitted hats and children’s knitted toys are welcome additions throughout the year. During the cold months, we normally offer hats, gloves and scarves as support clothing.
The Emergency Packs, Change of Clothes Packs and Support Clothing are for people of all ages – though we tend to need a high proportion of men’s clothes, predominately in small to medium sizes.
We rely on donations of new and secondhand clothes and donations of funds from organizations and individuals. We do recycle some clothes and use the funds to buy items for the Emergency Packs. The clothes that we recycle are those that are inappropriate or impractical for people with limited access to washing and drying facilities.
The Clothing Store also supports local asylum seekers, destitute asylum seekers and new refugees. We offer local people decent secondhand clothes, bedding and small household items. We also offer a selection of secondhand school uniforms, nearly new baby clothes and baby equipment.
As part of the Clothing Store, we run an ‘Exchange Rail’ – on occasions we are given items that are more glamorous than practical. The idea of the Exchange Rail is that people bring new items for the Emergency Packs and swap them for something on the rail. If people would like to run an Exchange Rail Party, or have an Exchange Rail as part of an event, please contact us.
We appreciate the support we have received from individuals, local groups, organisations, schools and churches to help provide clothing for Emergency Packs. Each full pack costs about £20, babies and children’s packs cost slightly more. We also appreciate all the donations of secondhand clothing and all of the work that Knitters of Sanctuary put into the items they donate.