Woman sets up coat exchange to help homeless in cold weather

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Thursday 12 January 2017 12:00
(Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied)

With reports of snow coming to the UK, the homeless community are going to be forced to face even more dangers to their health and wellbeing.

Fay Sibley, Who works for the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, saw the vast number of homeless people in Colchester, Essex, and felt compelled to help.

She told indy100:

We all have coats in our wardrobe we've not worn in years - now we can put them to good use.

Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied(Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied)

Armed with a plastic clothes line and a few old coats, she set them up in front of Colchester Library with a sign:

Need a coat? Take one. Want to Help? Leave one.

Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied(Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied)

The premise is simple: If you have an extra coat gathering dust in the back of your cupboard, you can donate it instead to the clothing line. Homeless people can take it, providing warmth and protection from the rain and snow.

Sibley had left the coats there overnight, covering them in plastic to ensure protection from the rain, and by the morning many of them had gone.

The idea, she told indy100, is to help people who cannot afford to buy a coat, to get one.

More people have been donating coats, and those with hoods are especially welcome. Fay met a couple living in a tent, and the man even offered to donate a "professional" coat he was no longer using, to the cause.

Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied(Picture: Fay Sibley/supplied)

Sibley's original Facebook post has been shared almost 1,000 times, and people from Chelmsford, Braintree, Felixstowe, Milton Keynes and even Perth, Australia have been in touch with her, saying they want to set up the clothing lines there, too.

On January 27 the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which would place duties on councils to take actions preventing homelessness, will be debated in Parliament.

The homeless charity Crisis, is urging people to email their local MPs about it:

Unless enough MPs are in attendance this crucial reform could be talked out. You can help to ensure the safe passage of the bill by emailing your local MP and asking them to attend the debate. If passed, it will stop thousands becoming homeless in the first place.

Anne Brown, a member of Essex Council for Corporate and Communities called the scheme "fantastic", and said it will make a real, immediate difference to people who are in need.

By creating this coat exchange, Fay has made many small acts of kindness come together to make a huge difference to those who truly need it. Fay is to be commended for her kindness and ingenuity.

There are several other ways you can help the homeless community this winter: You can encourage your school, church or local community to fund raise, take part in a collection and even volunteer with your local homeless charity.

And, you can set up a clothes line in your own community, of course!

HT Metro

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