People living in the MESH area needed to economise when it came to clothes buying, but expressed their frustration at having to ‘wear the same old stuff over and over’. Jane, Julie and Catherine the Community Connectors decided to try setting up a monthly Clothes Swap to alleviate the problem. The idea was that residents could bring clothes they no longer wanted and swap them for others that were there. Jane, Julie and Catherine approached Shrublands Trust to hire a room for the Clothes Swap and spoke to Julie the Neighbourhood Manager and Alan the Community Development Worker who arranged finance so they could rent the room.
Jane, Julie and Catherine then designed a poster and flyers to advertise the event and to ask for donations of clothing from people who didn’t necessarily want to take part in the swap element but were happy to provide clothes they no longer needed or wanted. The response was amazing and a couple of weeks before the first Clothes Swap was due to take place there was already a good supply of clothes.
At the first event there was a steady stream of residents attending and a lot of swapping took place. After the first event Jane, Julie and Catherine the Community Connectors decided to add free refreshments for those attending. This increased the number of people attending and also meant that residents stayed longer, giving Jane, Julie and Catherine the Community Connectors an opportunity to talk to residents about issues they may have in their local community and advise them of other events and activities available locally. Further to these conversations, residents were introduced to other Neighbourhoods that Work services, including Tim the Training Connector, Jo the Volunteer Coordinator and Donna the Skills Connector, so that they were aware of what other help our project could offer them.
With each Clothes Swap that has taken place there has been an increase in both people attending and clothing. Donations of clothing continues to be high and even those with nothing to swap have gone away with a new wardrobe of clothes. Plans are tentatively being made to increase the frequency to fortnightly.