Clothing Collective: Our Story
It’s a feeling we’ve perhaps all experienced. Wanting to help those in need but not knowing how, or even where to start. Feeling compelled to help but powerless and uninformed about what the best way to help people actually is.
That’s where we started too.
Clothing Collective (originally named ‘Clothe Me – Thank You’) was founded by Antony Wroe in June 2018 on the principle of wanting to help real people. Of providing them tangible support and access to resources they really needed.
Seeing organisations such as food banks and shelters already in place, we saw a gap in support for providing people access to essential clothing.
Especially in harsh winters such as the one we’re currently experiencing, appropriate clothing is vital for not only our physical health (keeping us warm against cold conditions, and keeping us clean, comfortable, and protected), but for our mental health (in feeling a sense of dignity in our own appearance, and a sense of identity).
We sought to establish a charity that would help provide this essential clothing to those that were most in need, while giving them the dignity of being able to choose their own clothing.
How did we start?
Despite the presence of charity shops down the length and breadth of the country, many of those facing financial hardship still have no access to funds to use these shops.
If only there were a mechanism that gave individuals the funding to be able to use these resources, while simultaneously supporting all the fantastic work that charity shops do!
And thus, Clothing Collective was born.
To bridge the gap between these shops and those most vulnerable, our goal was to put in place a system where people could kindly donate money towards clothing vouchers for those who needed them. These vouchers could then be used by individuals to purchase essential clothing from participating charity shops. Clothing that fit, was appropriate, and felt like them.
From the beginning, we sought to establish partnerships and collaborate with charities and organisations that were already working directly with and had links to those vulnerable people in need, so that they could distribute the vouchers accordingly.
We began collaborating with third party organisations such as shelters, food banks, and churches, providing our vouchers for them to distribute to those in need. In turn, we partnered with charity shops who agreed to accept the vouchers, local to participating organisations and individuals using the vouchers, of course.
Selling second hand clothing at affordable prices, charity shops are not only an ideal place to access high-quality essential clothing, but are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and above all, funds made by these shops go towards supporting the work that the charities do.
We consider our mechanism a win for everyone involved, in that a donation of say, ten pounds, not only provides ten pounds worth of vouchers for someone in need, but this money is invested into the wonderful charities that are supported by the shops.
In this sense, your donation essentially doubles in value.
We’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the level of support that’s been shown towards Clothing Collective since it was established.
To date, we’ve handed out 1320 vouchers, partnered with 50 charity shops, and supported 435 people in need. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of our donors, our partnering organisations and charity shops.
We’re delighted to have partnered with food banks, shelters, community centres, churches, and various charities, as well receiving support from individuals taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon, Peter Duncan (former Blue Peter presenter and Chief Scout), The Daisy Trust, Royal Rotary Club of London, The Lottery Community Fund, and many more.
Find the full list of our voucher distributing partners, charity shop partners, and supporters here.
But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at some of our testimonials below:
“I lost my flat and have become street homeless … thank you for helping me to get my clothing to keep me warm.” - Anthony, voucher recipient.
“This is going to make such a difference, thank you so much for all your support. By giving to [Clothing Collective], this means I can give out clothes and shoes to those that are really in need and really struggling.” - Caroline, The Vineyard Community Centre.
“We’re delighted to be a part of this initiative with [Clothing Collective], so we can help provide much needed clothing for people who need the help.” - Royal Trinity Hospice.
With endless ways to make a difference, we see no limit to what can be done to help.
Our goal is to expand our charity UK-wide, partnering with more charities and extending our vouchers to more people across different parts of the nation.
You can be a part of this and help us extend our support to more and more vulnerable individuals by donating now.
Your support means Clothing Collective can continue to grow and provide essential clothing to our most vulnerable.