AN end-of-term clearout will give the homeless a better life after students rallied round to collect unwanted items.
Durham undergraduates Camille Mulcaire, Kate Hutchinson and William Mills, all 20, and 19-year-old Dave Tompkinson led the effort after their criminology lecturer Maggie McDowell encouraged them to help The Cyrenians charity.
She became involved in 2009 when she interviewed homeless women and organisations as part of her PhD studies.
Her lecture on homelessness inspired the students to follow in her footsteps.
Colleges across the university gathered items of unwanted clothing and shoes, including some that had never been worn, with 50 bags donated.
Some will go to the people the charity works with, and others will be sold to raise funds.
Second-year politics student Camille, who studied a criminology module, said: “The colleges were really helpful in advertising it and people got involved and have already asked if we’ll be running it again next year. The charity was happy and they were shocked when they saw how full the van was.”
Stephen Bell, group chief executive of The Cyrenians, said he was “delighted” with the donation, and added: “Our partnership with Durham University is long-standing and we make valuable use of the donations of clothes, household items and other goods they regularly make.
“As a regional charity with projects in Sunderland and Durham, we’re always looking for contributions of clothes, time or money – small things which can make a big difference to our clients’ lives.”
The charity supports more than 1,600 homeless people every month with accommodation, drug and alcohol support and employment and training.
It is setting up a fund-raising group in Sunderland. Anyone interested can contact Laura Douthwaite by emailing L.Douthwaite@tcuk.org.