Here’s how to make a winter coat donation to help people in need

Got an old coat that you no longer need? Find a winter coat donation point near you and help someone less fortunate stay warm this winter

Winter weather has set in, putting thousands of homeless people at further risk in the cold conditions. It’s the perfect time of year to make a coat donation that could save someone’s life.

There are still thousands of people sleeping rough, despite widespread efforts to move homeless people into safe, single-room accommodation at the start of lockdown in March as well as new funding for local authorities to ramp up homeless services this winter. Anyone replacing their winter coat this season should consider donating their old one, provided it is in good condition, to help a vulnerable person stay protected from cold weather.

Some of the initial winter coat drives, such as the WrapUp projects in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leicester have already come and gone, collecting thousands of coats in the process. But there are still options out there if you’re looking to help someone less fortunate.

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Where can I donate a winter coat?

Volunteer charity Calling London will run its tenth winter coat drive this year, having already distributed 30,000 warm coats since 2011. The demand is so high that charity partners were sending in their requests before this year’s campaign even launched.

They especially need men’s coats of all sizes and puffa jackets for under-6 year-olds. Until Monday November 30 you can drop off coat donations to any branch of estate agent and campaign partner Chestertons in the capital – click here to find your closest location.

In Manchester, Only A Pavement Away – which helps people who are homeless into employment – is collecting coats, blankets and sleeping bags for rough sleepers until November 26. Email enquiries@onlyapavementaway.co.uk to confirm a time and place for your donation.

Emmanuel House in Nottingham, which supports vulnerable adults in the area, has put its second-hand clothes collection on pause as the team works through a huge number of donations and ensures they are safely quarantined. However they are still collecting new items, including waterproof jackets and winter coats. Find the donation address and time slots here.

Winter is a tough time for kids too. Those living in child poverty and whose families cannot afford to replace a winter coat every year risk going cold. Anyone in the Aberdeenshire area can donate to Northsound Radio’s Cash For Kids, which is looking for coat donations, here.

Do you know of other locations around the UK which are collecting winter coat donations for less fortunate people? Let us know on editorial@bigissue.com

Is it safe to donate a coat during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Volunteers have introduced new safety measures to ensure this year’s winter coat drives keep the risk of spreading Covid-19 to a minimum.

Chestertons asks no one donates any coats if anyone in the household has Covid-19 symptoms or has tested positive for the virus.

When donations are made, they should be placed in a clean bag, tied closed and only one person should deliver it. Donation boxes have been positioned outdoors where possible.

All donation points ask that hands are sanitised, a mask is worn while inside and two-metre social distancing is adhered to at all times.

Only A Pavement Away adapted its usual distribution model to keep the winter coat drive safe. Where a group of dedicated volunteers would normally give out donations directly to rough sleepers, the items will instead be given to homeless hostels and day centres.

What if I don’t have a spare coat to donate?

Winter coats are not cheap and, with thousands of people struggling to get by on lower incomes during the pandemic, replacing last year’s coat will not be an option for many. Anyone who still wants to chip in can donate to Only A Pavement Away here for the London campaign or here for Emmanuel House.

Don’t have cash to spare? Help raise awareness on social media by sharing charity posts or using hashtags to signpost those in need to others who may have a winter coat they no longer need.

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