Cost of living crisis: A look at Southampton's clothing banks

Cost of living crisis: A look at Southampton’s clothing banks

VOLUNTEERS have revealed what one of Southampton’s clothing banks looked like during the cost of living crisis.

More than 1,400 people depended on Southampton City Mission for its clothing banks to make ends meet last year.

The Christian missionary group has seen an increase in the number of Sotonians using its banks with more than 1,000 residents using the service this year so far.

A clothing bank at the Church of the Ascension in Bitterne Park hosts a clothing bank every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The women who do all of this told the Daily Echo that demand for the service is increasing due to the cost of living crisis.

It comes as the Daily Echo has teamed up with City Mission to launch our Boost the Bank campaign – urging people to donate to its network of food banks this summer.

Volunteer Claire McCann, 55, said the clothing bank is “still short” of essential items, including men’s clothing, bags and underwear.

She said: “The number of people coming in varies…some days there will be a big queue while other days there won’t be many.

“People are referred by Citizens Advice, their doctor or a food bank to come here.

“Then they have a voucher that gives each person four outfits each. The outfits are a top and pants or a dress. They can get more if they come for their family as well.”

(LR) Claire McCann and Louise Evans

Volunteer Ashton Blake, 34, previously helped refugees in France before returning to the UK and joining the clothing bank earlier this year.

She said: “I find sorting clothes therapeutic and I love talking to all the people who come and help out if I can. It’s almost like a home away from home for me.”

READ MORE: Southern Daily Echo partners with City Mission to launch summer food bank campaign

Fatime Abdouassalam, 43, of St Mary’s says she uses the clothing bank to support her growing family.

She said: “It’s the first time I’ve needed to come here. My 14 and 3 year olds are growing all the time and the clothes are expensive.”

Another resident using the bank, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “When the cost of living crisis hit I didn’t think it would affect me much since I work full time, but I’m here now and it affects everyone.

“I’m just worried because my kids are being bullied because they don’t wear all the brands like everyone else. They come home and tell me and it’s upsetting.”

Echo Quotidien: Fatime Abdouassalam is looking for clothes for her son and daughterFatime Abdouassalam is looking for clothes for her son and daughter

For more information visit: southamptoncitymission.co.uk/get-involved/how-to-donate and dailyecho.co.uk/boost-bank

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