Advertisement
Housing

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

As temperatures plunge this winter, people already on low incomes are facing a worsening cost of living crisis with tax hikes on the horizon.

There have been reports of people up and down the country forced to choose between eating or heating their homes, or losing their homes altogether. In many cases, it means the cost of a thick winter jacket is well out of budget. A coat donation is a small way in which you can help.

If you have a big bulky coat just taking up space in the back of your wardrobe, stuffed in a cupboard or under the bed, it could make a potentially life-saving difference to someone forced to sleep rough.

Here’s how you can donate your coat – or simply set up a place for others to do so.

Where can I donate a winter coat?

There are a lot of people doing good across the UK with national initiatives and local grassroots projects up and running all over the country.

Take One Leave One – now marking its fourth anniversary – is returning in 2022 with the same simple concept that made it such a hit last year.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Founded by investigative journalist and campaigner Stefan Simanowitz, the idea involves leaving a rail out on the street for people to hang up their coat and for others in need to come and pick one out.

There were more than 30 rails set up across the country last year from across London up to Newcastle and Glasgow while one effort in Bristol even caught the attention of British band Massive Attack.

A handful of rails will launch across the country in January 2022 – including in Leeds, Brighton and Manchester – with others restarting, including in Vauxhall.

He told The Big Issue anyone can set up a Take One Leave One rail in their area simply by putting out a rail and putting up a sign, which are available for a small fee for those who can’t make their own.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

WrapUp is a nationwide coat donation drive run by local Rotary clubs in partnership with the charity HandsOn London. In 2020 the project collected and distributed 29,033 coats to people who need them.

Human Appeal also runs WrapUp projects in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Bradford, Glasgow, Leicester and London and the charity took in 5,466 coats in 2020.

There are also satellite projects run by Rotary clubs in provincial towns and regions outside the big cities. Further WrapUp initiatives can be found in Bolton, Brampton & Longtown, Bury, Cardiff, Central Lancashire, Cumbria South, East Lancashire, Essex, Lanarkshire, Middlesbrough, Salford, South Fylde, Stockport, Tameside, West of Scotland. Find your local project here or, if your local donation point isn’t available for 2022 yet, make a cash donation online.

Meanwhile charity Care4Calais is on a mission to provide a warm winter coat to every refugee in the UK and France. By donating at one of their many drop-off points, your coat will help someone facing uncertainty stay warm in the cold months. 

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

Volunteers introduced a number of new safety measures in 2020 to ensure winter coat donation drives kept the risk of spreading Covid-19 to a minimum.

Hand sanitiser is available at every Take One Leave One rail and they are all manned by someone wearing a mask or visor and gloves. Each coat is washed and pressed before it is made available for a vulnerable person, and most donation campaigns still quarantine donations for at least 72 hours before distributing them.

If you’re struggling to find an in-person collection, consider donating your coat to one of the 8,000 Salvation Army clothing banks located across the UK.

Big Issue Foundation

Donate to support vendors today

Your gift today will mean Big Issue vendors will get the support they need to progress forward in life. You will be supporting vendors in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.

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

Start a Take One Leave One rail in your neighbourhood. All you need is the green light from your community, a rail and a banner to let people know what you’re doing. If you can’t make your own, contact alan@adelphicgraphics.com to order one.

Don’t have cash to spare or enough time to volunteer? 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.

Do you know any coat donation projects in your local area that we have missed? Get in touch at editorial@bigissue.com.

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
Housing crisis update: A man has now built a wooden house on a London pavement
Housing crisis

Housing crisis update: A man has now built a wooden house on a London pavement

The government says it's too expensive to give disabled people in fire risk blocks evacuation plans
Fire safety

The government says it's too expensive to give disabled people in fire risk blocks evacuation plans

Here are the charities leading the fight against LGBTQ+ homelessness in the UK
LGBTQ+

Here are the charities leading the fight against LGBTQ+ homelessness in the UK

Rents in the UK are rising at the highest rate for 14 years. Will they keep going up?
Renting

Rents in the UK are rising at the highest rate for 14 years. Will they keep going up?

Most Popular

Read All
The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who
1.

The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who

Boris Johnson set to scrap plan to let workers keep tips despite admitting minimum wage isn’t enough to live on
2.

Boris Johnson set to scrap plan to let workers keep tips despite admitting minimum wage isn’t enough to live on

Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of travelling in time and car chases’, John Simm reveals
3.

Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of travelling in time and car chases’, John Simm reveals

The controversial new laws rushed through by the government this week
4.

The controversial new laws rushed through by the government this week

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.