Rotary Club Of Warwick

Sep4 - Unused coats for homeless

Malcolm Baldwin and Pam Holgate from “Wrap up Lancashire”, joined Warwick Rotarians last week at one of their Zoom meetings to tell them about their project which collects unused overcoats and recycles them for use by the homeless.

Wrap up Lancashire was started in 2018 when one of their members spotted a statue at a London rail terminus with a coat on, next to a collection box from Wrap Up London. Members of Accrington and Great Harwood Rotary Clubs decided to duplicate this in Lancashire and took a “pop up” shop in the town centre, establishing 20 collection points to collect overcoats, jackets, fleeces and gilets. Over a 6 week period in October they collected over 2,300 items and together with 6 other Rotary Clubs delivered these to 10 charity beneficiaries.

Coats donated go directly to people who struggle to keep warm during the winter months. Coats are distributed via homeless shelters, refugee centres, organisations supporting the elderly, women’s refuges, children’s centres and other charities helping people in crisis. Publicity on local radio, news and Facebook turned this into a county wide campaign involving schools, scout groups, stores and businesses.

By 2019 the Rotary Clubs in Lancashire had expanded their objectives, and an official partnership has been set up between Rotary GBI and Wrap Up London. There are now 64 Rotary clubs in 5 regions, with 130 collection points in supermarkets, businesses and town centres. Blackburn Rovers donated football socks, Regatta donated waterproofs; coats, jackets, fleeces and gilets are sorted into Male / Female and young persons. Over 35,000 items were collected benefitting 170 charities. Collections for 2020 have had to be abandoned due to Coronavirus.

Thanking Malcolm and Pam for their presentation Jackie Crampton said that Helping Hands Community Project has organised a coat collection with a coat rail going around Leamington, Warwick & Kenilworth in previous years and club is interested in building on the “Wrap up” partnership using the clubs across the Rotary District for Warwickshire.

“The Helping Hands Community Project is all about local people helping local people in need. We give people in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth the support and opportunities to feel better about themselves, be more active in the community and get back into work.”