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London’s Take One Leave One scheme sees increase in demand – BBC News

Image caption,

Stefan Simanowitz’s Take One Leave One initiative is in its sixth year

  • Author, Megan Lawton & James W Kelly
  • Role, BBC News

Pop-up clothes rails for those facing hardship over the winter are seeing an increase in demand due to the cost of living crisis, the initiative’s founder has said.

Take One Leave One rails pop up in different locations across London, enabling people to pick up the warm clothing they need – while others can donate unwanted items.

Now in its sixth year, the rail in Vauxhall, south London, has just launched for this winter.

Organisers said they expected to see 25 to 30 regular users each week.

Image caption,

Paul, who is facing financial hardship, said “we’d all be lost” without the initiative

Founder Stefan Simanowitz set up the first rail outside a London church in 2018 and since then, more than 150 rails have sprung up around the UK.

One morning 150 items went on the rail and by the afternoon they were all gone, said Mr Simanowitz.

“Over the six years we’ve been running there has been a greater uptake, I think due to the rising cost of living crisis, due to austerity,” he added.

Among those who rely on the scheme is Paul, who lives on his own and is struggling with his bills.

“You need places like this because without places like this we’re all lost,” he told BBC London.

Image caption,

People can donate clothes at various drop-off points across London

The Vauxhall pop-up is also partnering with a local charity to offer somewhere warm each week.

Volunteer Hayley Ereola said Take One Leave One not only made a difference to users because of the clothes they were able to acquire, but the initiative also helped to address their loneliness.

“They come back every week just to tell us what hospital appointments they’ve got, they’ve fallen out with their brother, or they’ve made a new friend because they don’t have anyone else to tell,” she said.

Anyone with unwanted clothes can drop them off at Take One Leave One drop-off points.

Those looking to set up a rail can also get in touch with the initiative for a free banner, organisers said.

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