A Clothes Share is basically an Opp Shop without money. Three have been run at Bayswater School for the school community in the last year or so. They’re the brainchild of local Mum, Bridget, who was moved to action after seeing children coming to school without appropriate winter clothing. She was keen to make a difference using the many strengths, assets and generosity of the local Community. The latest Clothes Share took place in the library straight after school on Tuesday afternoon.
In the run up to the event a call goes out to the school community through the school newsletter and word of mouth. Families are asked to hand in clean, unmarked and usable clothing items that are no longer needed or that children have grown out of. Men’s and women’s items are also welcomed. A team of parent helpers receives, sorts and arranges the clothes in the couple hours leading up to the share. Full length mirrors are borrowed, the Rose Centre lends clothes racks, bunting adorns the library walls and a sense of festivity pervades the library even before people arrive.
An Open Invitation
The open invitation goes out to the whole school community to come along straight after the end of day school bell, try on items and take whatever’s needed. Children particularly enjoy the freedom of rummaging through the items without financial constraints! Tea, coffee and conversation also flows. It is a wonderful way of bringing people together and a non-stigmatizing approach to sharing what a community has with those without. People give what they can and take what they need. We estimate that roughly 200 items of clothing found new homes during the latest Clothes Share. Inevitably there are items that don’t find a new home at the end of the share. These items, all perfectly usable, are taken to to De Paul House in Northcote. De Paul House is a housing and support service for homeless families. The next Clothes Share is planned for spring 2017.