Sunderland’s first clothing bank aims to keep community warm

Penshaw Community Clothes Bank's Katherine Mason sorts through some of the clothing available.
Penshaw Community Clothes Bank's Katherine Mason sorts through some of the clothing available.
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Wearside’s first clothing bank has begun its task to keep those most in need warm with woollies and more.

Penshaw Community Clothing Bank has launched from its base in the village’s community centre in Wensleydale Avenue.

Its bosses say they have set it up to meet demand following public service cuts and austerity measures “imposed upon the poorest in society by this Government”, which they say leave people struggling to juggle their household budgets.

Organiser Katherine Mason said: “The clothing bank will provide free clothing, toiletries, household cleaning products and toys to people who find themselves in financial hardship.

“Anyone on benefits, or in low-paid work who are struggling to pay their every day bills are welcome to come along and take items for themselves and their families.

“We are also being supported by Unite Community, who will have a stall at the session to offer welfare advice and practical support to those who need it.

“Eventually, we hope to have representatives from debt counselling services who will also be able to assist people in their financial struggle.”

Clothes can be dropped off at any time during the centre’s opening hours, with leaders of the group requesting donations are clean, as it has a limited washing capacity.

Katherine added: “We are opening the clothing bank in response to the public service cuts and austerity measures imposed upon the poorest in society by this government.

“Static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare, including a massive increase in the use of sanctions, have all contributed to the significant rise in the use of food and clothes banks.

“If we can succeed in making the lives of even a handful of people a little more bearable, then we will have achieved our goal.”

More details can be found via its Facebook page, with its next session running form 1pm to 3pm on Wednesday.