Wear and Share – Responding to need

Wear and Share is a new project, created in partnership with the Aston Villa Foundation, which collects donations of clothes that have been previously used and loved, and passes them on to new owners. Over the last 10 weeks, Wear and Share have received approximately 700 bags of donated clothing and delivered to over 100 people.

The project is built on collaborative working and demonstrates some of the ways that we can work together to share, reuse and redistribute resources for the good of the community and the environment.

Wear and Share was created in response to a growing need for access to clothing during the coronavirus crisis. Many people are struggling financially and have been unable to access affordable clothes. Stacey, Share Shack Lead for Balsall Heath, who has been coordinating the project said, ‘It’s always been there, but I think Covid-19 has blown the lid off the level of poverty in this city.’

Many people currently face extremely difficult circumstances. Wear and Share can help provide local people with essential clothing and items such as bedding and toothbrushes. Recently, we have supported individuals who have fled domestic violence relationships, new mothers in a refugee hostel who gave birth and had no baby clothes, people who have been homeless or discharged from hospital, victims of arson attacks, and young people who have left the care system.

Volunteer Steve and his son Kieran, who deliver clothes to individuals across the city every Friday

Access to clean and suitable clothing may seem like a small thing but it can have a huge positive impact on people facing many challenges. We try and find out as much as possible about an individual’s style, taste and needs to match them with the most appropriate clothing, as we know how important it is to feel comfortable and confident in what you wear. Volunteers have been creating morsbags, which are made out of donated material like curtains and bedding, so the clothes are delivered in bags for life that can be reused.

We have started working with Trident Reach, and Home from Hospital Care to identify and meet the needs of their service users. A support worker from Home from Hospital Care recently visited a wheelchair user who was staying in temporary accommodation following a fire at his property. She found that he was sitting with nothing but a tea towel on his lap. The support worker told us that charity shops had closed and she didn’t know where else to turn. Together, we were able to provide him with clothing.

Wear and Share is built on sharing resources, space, and skills. The Aston Villa Foundation initially provided the space as well as volunteers to store and sort the donations, now the Council have allowed us to use Ladywood Community Centre as the central hub where clothes are donated, sorted and redistributed. We’re working with the Up Creative Community, an organisation in Sutton Coldfield, who are passionate about avoiding clothing going into landfill. They recycle, repair, and reuse every item of clothing, including buttons and zips.

If you have clothes or other household items that you would like to donate, or if you would like to help distribute supplies, please fill out this form. To request clothing please contact [email protected]

Nina Conway
Author: Nina Conway