County Durham Socialist Clothing Bank

The last Clothing Bank of 2014 took place on December 9th at Brandon Miners Welfare Hall. The organisers decided that as it was the closest one to Christmas there would be toys and selection boxes available.  Once again the local community overwhelmed us with their generosity.  Donations of toys and selection boxes poured in, as well as clothes and toiletries.

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Donations included a selection of hand knitted baby clothes, hand knitted dog coats and a king sized duvet.

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The Clothing Bank was busy, the organisers estimate that over 150 bags of items were distributed. Amongst others, we helped: a young expectant mother, a homeless  man, a man who had just moved into a new flat who had nothing- he took the duvet,  a young man living in a hostel who needed something to wear at a wedding (he took away a very smart jacket) and a lady with six children.

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BBC Radio Tees and Metro FM came to the Clothing Bank and spoke to Dawn Willson.  The Radio Tees reporter very kindly helped to unload a lot of the clothes. We were also visited by an elderly gentleman who had driven from his house in the next street to ask for some help to bring a donation to us. One of our volunteers went back with him and brought a selection of  clothes back with them. The kindness of this gentleman was overwhelming as he is desperately ill with cancer and was waiting to go into hospital for an operation.

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It was a successful day, it was also a day that should never have to happen in 21st Century Britain. Catherine Ainsley, co-founder of the Clothing Bank said

 I am overwhelmed at the support we have had over the last 2 months. The donations have been incredible, clothing, toys, selection boxes, toiletries. Thanks to the venue, the shops and doctors surgeries who display our posters, the Unions, the volunteers.Sometimes it is gut wrenching…like today. Proud young men with children, taking 3 hesitations to walk in the room…proud people who have lost their jobs and income. The pensioners needing coats who feel embarrassed.  Yes, it’s a success….but a success we wish wasn’t necessary.

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