Donate a coat to help the homeless in Leamington

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A clothing rail outside a business may not seem like a new idea - but this one is certainly unique.

Charity Helping Hands has come up with an idea of a rail in Leamington for people to leave their unwanted coats on for the homeless.

And the idea has already taken off since it was started by Coffee Architects in Warwick Street.

It will now move to The Garden Shed in Regent Place.

The initiative involves having a clothing rail placed outside public places, where people can donate coats that they no longer want or use.

The idea to start the scheme in Leamington came from Mark Fraczek, who owns Regent Studios, who then approached Mashed Swedes, Coffee Architects and Helping Hands, who all currently help the homeless.

The clothing rail when it was next to Coffee Architects.

The clothing rail when it was next to Coffee Architects.

The coat rail idea is being used in other parts of the UK and Helping Hands has its own outside its charity shop on Gloucester Street for the homeless, but this initiative would see the coat rack moving across the town.

Mr Fraczek said: “I saw a news article about a similar scheme being done in Milton Keynes and it is evident to anyone who visits the town that there is a homeless problem in Leamington and it can’t be easy surviving like that. I thought it would be great to try the scheme here.

“Sophie at Mashed Swedes put me in touch with Lianne at Helping Hands to see if we could look at doing something similar in Leamington.

“She was very keen so we decided to give it a go! Sam at Coffee Architects has been a long-time supporter of Helping Hands and so she was straight on board with hosting the rail.”

Lianne Kirkman, project manager at Helping Hands, said: “We were approached by Mark to see if we needed coats and we are desperate for coats. We have given out so many coats, gloves, hats and scarves and last week, we had to turn a homeless guy away as we had run out of coats. I don’t want to run out again and this will definitely make a difference.”

The businesses pushing the scheme all took to social media last week to spread the word and within minutes other local business were getting in touch about joining the initiative

Lianne said: “As soon as I put it online it straight away got shared quite a few times and I had a few people message saying they were going to ask their boss if they can also do it.

“We often get businesses who want to know how they can help and this is a great way for them to.”

“Since it went online we have had businesses saying they also want to host the rail. This includes The Pump Room, the Garden Shed and Pancho Catering.”

Sophie Eades, owner of Mashed Swedes, said: “On social media it has been amazing. The idea is to have it around different businesses that are wanting to get involved so it can be all around town and people can access it as some point.”

Sam Avery, owner of Coffee Architects, said: “This is a great initiative and our customers think it is fab and it has been well received on social media. It has reached over 25,000 people and people are sharing it from other areas who want to do it there such as Hertfordshire. This is the best way to recycle and we had 10 coats on the rail on Friday.”

The coat rail has now moved to The Garden Shed in Regent Place and it will soon move to another business.

Participating business will inform their followers and customers where the rail is through social media