This is a new initiative currently being set up in County Durham. It came about when two Unite in the Community members, Dawn Willson and Cath Ainsley, realised how expensive charity shops can be for people on low income, given that the role of a charity shop is now to raise funds rather than meet a need. The main difficulty with a clothes bank would be storage of the clothes.
The Trussell Trust who run most of the food banks confirmed that they are primarily confirmed with distribution of food and although some sites do provide clothes, storage is a problem.
Dawn and Cath researched the need for a clothing bank via social media and concluded that there was a need. Using established links with Trade Unions they have decided to run a pilot in Brandon and Stanley at the same time that the food bank is open for distribution of food. Both of these sites distribute food from Community centres therefore space and storage will not be a problem.
The project is to be called the County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank. If the pilot is successful it will be rolled out to other areas of County Durham.
All the clothes collected so far have been washed and ironed by Dawn and Cath and further appeals have been made for stock via the new facebook page- County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank (visit and give them a like!) a further meeting is to be held shortly to discuss progress, the way forward and a date for the pilot to start. If you wish to contact the clothing bank their e mail is