As autumn gives way to winter chills, Harlow’s Central Library in the town centre are preparing to launch the town's first Coat Exchange Scheme for the homeless and vulnerable.
Situated inside the library, the scheme is quite simple – people are invited to donate unwanted coats and jackets by simply hanging them up on a rail, while those in need are welcome to help themselves. They don’t even have to let anyone know they have removed an item.
The scheme has been championed by Councillor Ian Beckett, chair of Harlow’s Health and Wellbeing Board. Councillor Beckett, said
“The health and wellbeing of all the people of Harlow is paramount and that includes those without homes or vulnerably housed. Lack of housing is an issue but there are complex reasons for people’s individual circumstances and we know that initiatives like this can make a real difference, especially at this time of year.”
The scheme is being supported by Harlow’s homeless charities Streets2Homes and The Chocolate Run who will also benefit from the donations. Kerrie Eastman, Chief Operations Officer for Streets2Homes said:
"We know how generous Harlow people are and we’re confident this scheme will receive significant support and be warmly welcomed.”
This will be the fourth scheme of its kind in Essex Libraries following similar initiatives in Colchester, Chelmsford and Witham. Cllr Susan Barker, Essex County Council cabinet member responsible for libraries, said:
“This is a fantastic community-inspired idea and one which will make a real difference to people in need, especially as the cold weather begins to creep in. Simple schemes like this, where people are invited to donated unwanted coats by simply hanging them up, while those in need can help themselves, are to be congratulated and I would encourage people to donate what they can to get it started.”
The launch of the scheme will take place in Harlow’s Central Library on Saturday 11 November at 11.15am. You are welcome to attend this event.