Leeds residents donate 3,500 winter coats to help vulnerable people this winter
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The winter coat appeal, a partnership between Zero Waste Leeds and Leeds City Council to help families struggling with the current cost of living crisis, has seen people from across the city dropping second-hand coats in community hubs and warm spaces. Donated coats are then distributed for free to those who need them.
Gill Coupland, from Zero Waste Leeds, said: “The people of Leeds have shown astonishing generosity so far, donating thousands of coats to help so many families who are struggling financially and it’s a wonderful thing to be part of. The money those families have saved on buying new coats can stay in their budget for other essentials and that’s a bit of extra support that’s needed now more than ever. So far, this appeal is already making a genuine, tangible difference and we’d love for people to continue dropping in their second-hand coats along with fleeces and hoodies.”
The drive has already well exceeded its target of 2,000 coats since its launch just two months ago and it is believed the appeal has already saved local families an estimated £70,000. Continuing to meet the challenges of the rising cost of living, a fresh appeal has been announced for more coats along with much-needed fleeces and hoodies.
Gill said: “Leeds has an incredible culture of sharing, and we want to encourage that as much as possible, cutting down the need for new and creating a more sustainable city.”
Fighting the cost of living crisis, designated warm spaces offer a place for people to keep warm and to reduce their home energy costs during the winter months. People can engage in activities and access services including free advice and guidance along with free hot refreshments, as well as free access to books, computers and wi-fi.
Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) has been working closely with the Leeds City Council, Forum Central, Leeds Food Aid Network and Wellsprings Together to encourage organisations to set up warm spaces. Charity and faith organisations who run warm spaces have also taken a hit in this cost of living crisis, with increased energy bills among other costs. Funding from the West Yorkshire Mayor’s Cost of Living Emergency Fund will enable VAL to contribute to these costs.
Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said: “These are tough times for so many of us, but in Leeds, we look after each other. This appeal and the city’s collective response to the cost of living crisis really typifies that sense of togetherness and compassion and it’s something Leeds can quite rightly be very proud of. There’s no doubt that there are challenging times ahead but by sticking together and supporting each other like this, we can make sure help gets to those who need it most this winter.”
Further support available in Leeds can also be seen online at the council’s website. This includes help across areas such as food services, health, housing, water and jobs.