Derbyshire friends set up clothes bank in face of the cost of living crisis

Two friends have been inspired by foodbanks to set up a project, helping people who are struggling financially to get clothes.
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Elizabeth Taylor and Michelle Fradgley from Ilkeston wanted to help people whose financial situations have left them unable to buy new clothes for their families. This led the duo to setting up Clothing Community Spirit on Facebook.

Their page encourages people to donate unwanted clothes that are clean and in good condition, for people who anonymously ask for support. Both Elizabeth and Michelle pick up any donations, sort through the items and create personal bundles for people who can make specific requests via an anonymous message.

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The duo were inspired to start this project after their own struggles with the current cost of living crisis. Elizabeth and Michelle are both mothers who found themselves reliant on foodbanks after respective health issues meant they were unable to work.

Friends Elizabeth Taylor and Michelle FradgleyFriends Elizabeth Taylor and Michelle Fradgley
Friends Elizabeth Taylor and Michelle Fradgley

Elizabeth said: “Me and Michelle were both accessing foodbanks and we basically said you know what we don’t have; we don’t have clothes banks. People often think about food in terms of the cost of living rising but nobody seems to think about clothes. You see so many kids walking around in clothes full of holes or clothes that are too big or too small because their parents can’t afford to buy new clothing because costs are going up so much.”

So far, the project has been more successful than either Elizabeth or Michelle had expected in terms of the engagement. Since June 27, Clothing Community Spirit has had around 550 members – either as donors and those applying for support, with five donation drops already being made in Derby, Nottingham and around Ilkeston. The charity Home-Start which support communities affected by the Cost of Living crisis is also helping to spread awareness for Clothing Community Spirit amongst families within their support network.

With the popularity that the Facebook group has already garnered, the Ilkeston women are hoping to acquire premises from which they can. This space will hopefully be used to store any donations that are made and allow people to come and look for items they need on a walk-in basis.

To donate or make a support request visit the Clothing Community Spirit Facebook page.