Over the last two years we’ve seen the enormous generosity of Luton’s communities and just how much we can support each other in difficult times. Luton Clothing Bank launched at the end of 2020 with the support of The Raise Up Foundation, Discover Islam, Tokko and other groups and individuals from Luton and surrounding towns. We wanted to channel that generosity, support local people experiencing financial difficulty and encourage more environmentally friendly behaviour.
We offer free clothes and shoes to people experiencing financial difficulty, including people who are experiencing homelessness, seeking asylum or have refugee status, unemployed or on a low income, leaving/recently left hospital or prison, new to the UK, or otherwise can’t afford the items they need. Thanks to everyone who donated their preloved clothes, our volunteers and the goodwill of local organisations we’ve redistributed over 11,000 items during the first year.
How it works
- Anyone can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’re experiencing financial difficulty, we want to help. Other charities and organisations can also contact us on behalf of their clients.
- Tell us what clothes you would like and your sizes, as well as shoe size. We try to have men’s and women’s clothes, shoes and underwear, and baby and children’s clothes. We might not always have the right sizes but we will try to find what you need.
- We’ll pack what we can and let you know when it’s ready to pick up from a collection point in the town centre.
We’re supporting Discover Islam and Level Trust’s Winter Coat Campaign so we don’t currently have any coats ourselves, but you can contact them for coats.
How you can support Luton Clothing Bank
We aren’t collecting donations of clothes or other items right now, but you can help us continue this work by donating to our JustGiving campaign. This helps us cover the costs of storage, equipment like the bags we give clothes in, and volunteer expesnes. Here’s some more reasons why we want Luton Clothing Bank to keep growing…
- It’s essential: Having appropriate clothes and shoes is a necessity and we support anyone in financial difficulty. This includes people who have been displaced and have very little, families who need clothes for growing children and people who need appropriate clothes for work.
- It’s welcoming: We’ve connected with and welcomed people who are new to Luton and provided them with the items they need as well as given information about other support and activities.
- It supports people to follow new opportunities: By offering suitable clothes and footwear we’ve helped people be able to attend interviews and have the opportunity to start or return to work.
- It facilitates further support: Engaging with people through Luton Clothing Bank means we can identify other ways we can support them and allows us to signpost and create new projects that people ask for.
- It’s good for the environment: We only use recycled, recyclable or reusable packaging and work to reduce the amount of clothes that could end up in landfill. We reframe donating clothes as more than addressing poverty and highlight the environmentally conscious and sustainable approach of redistributing resources locally.
- It works to reduce stigma: We aim to reduce the stigma around poverty and the reluctance to use preloved, ‘second-hand’ clothes by working to develop a universal service that normalises the sharing of essential resources.
- It channels generosity: Luton Clothing Bank facilitates a way for people to help other people locally and channel the generosity and willingness to give that people have.
- It promotes compassion: We share stories about the circumstances people are facing locally and send the message that people are ‘not alone’, both in experiencing difficulty and because support is available; promoting compassion towards and understanding around people’s difficult circusmtances.
Thank you to all the people and organisations who have made this happen, including The Raise Up Foundation, Discover Islam, Tokko, Madinah Masjid, UK Islamic Mission, iCare, All Saints Church, The Olive Tree Church, Luton Sixth Form College, St Albans High School for Girls Parents’ Association, The Hygiene Bank Luton, Community Needs, Azalea, Bartham Group, Electrolux, Tesco, The Wakeham Trust, Near Neighbours and Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation.
For updates about Luton Clothing Bank check lutonclothingbank.org.