'Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud' Maya Angelou
One woman, one idea & a Whats App message offering free space later, The Community Closet was born.
Thanks to the first Closet set-up at Our Place E9 (a Volunteer Centre Hackney project), we were given free space & despite ever-changing lockdown rules, we launched at Christmas. We gave over 150 gifts away to children in our local community.
The start of many fab working partnerships was born! Closet works closely with Bridge the Gap - a Community Interest Company that focuses on poverty & the digital divides in our community. We collected twelve appliances for BTG in Jan 2021!
Our Feb 2021 campaign saw us give away 120 bags of new/used kids clothes to families in need. Each bag had an assortment of clothing, plus a toy & book!
The Best Mum Awards enabled us to give thirty local Mums a hamper full of goodies! Huge thanks to B&Q, Take a Break Magazine & The Hygiene Bank for helping make this happen!
Lockdown restrictions finally lifted & we were able to start opening weekly to the public. Our weekly #up4grabs lists started going out for families to book their collections for the Friday of the same week! We had no idea how busy we would be!
Weekly collections kept us super busy with an average of 30-40 families collecting 40-60 bundles each week. Lots of working partnerships formed - we believe working cohesively is the way forward in community work.
Alongside our Weekly Collections we continued to run Special Campaigns. School uniform is a major cost to many families & from donations of new & used uniform, we were able to clothe 180 children in our free pop-up uniform shop!
What an exciting couple of months - The Closet won an award from Captain Tom & started making the news! We featured in local & national mainstream media!
On the flip side, with nationwide benefit cuts, no wage increases and the rising cost of living, we started getting more requests for kids toiletries. Thanks to our buddies at The Hygiene Bank & an award we won from Daily Mail Newspaper, we were able to give out an extra fifty bags of brand new toiletries!
We believe in zero-waste at The Closet and we also believe in supporting projects overseas where possible. Seek Life school is based in Ghana & lacks basic resources. We sent clothes, uniform, books, stationery & shoes. Look how excited they were to get the first delivery!
We introduced a Shout Out service for specific donation requests. This has been hugely successful. On Christmas Eve we were able to raise £140 + a car full of gifts for a family in crisis and it took us 6 minutes! We are so proud to have such a great reputation for getting the job done!
Our 1st anniversary! Thanks to the amazing Clapton Commons, Ivy St Family Centre, Britannia Leisure Centre & our fabulous donors, we were able to have an Christmas Elf-travaganza Event. We gave out a whopping 312 new toys to local families and working partners, including 90 that went to Refuge Safehouses.
With The Closet well and truly underway, it was time to think about our next moves & find a new space. We didn't want the work to stop as demand was increasing.
Krista temporarily moved The Closet to her living room, In January, fifty New Baby bundles went out to families in need & partner organisations. We also matched twenty-two families to equipment they needed & gave out eighty-two clothing bundles.
Huge thanks to Forest Recycling Project for their donation of eighteen sacks of new and used toys! This kind gesture enabled us to make up forty-two Toy Bags that went out as fast as they came in! We also received twenty pairs of new Kids Shoes from Russell & Bromley which all found new homes!
After working closely with several refugee aid agencies, we formed a partnership with a local building housing over 200 refugee families. We delivered thirty-five bundles of clothes, toys, books & toil
What an exciting month! We won a Small Community Chest Grant from Wick Award & found our new premises!
This month we will launch our new website, register as a Community Interest Organisation and get ready to move at the end of the month. We're so excited to now be open 3 times a week!
We will be also be delivering fifty hampers to Local Mums on March 25th!