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Exmouth Market businesses help out homeless people with 'Take One Leave One' coat rail and pledge cards

PUBLISHED: 11:15 14 February 2019

The Take One Leave One coat rail in Exmouth Market has proved popular. Picture: Catherine Wiltshire

The Take One Leave One coat rail in Exmouth Market has proved popular. Picture: Catherine Wiltshire

Archant

The business community surrounding Exmouth Market has come together to give rough sleepers warm clothes, hot meals, haircuts, Oyster cards and more.

A “Take One Leave One” rail has been left outside of Holy Redeemer church, in the Clerkenwell market street so that people can leave warm clothes for those who need them.

The organiser Stefan Simanowitz, first got the idea a year ago.

He told the Gazette: “I saw on Twitter that someone had put a picture of one of these rails up with a message saying if you’re cold, take one. If you can help, leave one. And I thought what a simple, beautiful idea.”

The idea itself has grown with the addition of “pledge cards” – a system where customers of local shops can buy an extra coffee, pizza or even a haircut that can be donated to the homeless.

Pledge cards are left by the clothes rail and homeless people can simply take one and then trade it in at the relevant shop.

Mr Simanowitz explains that involving the locals was easy.

He added: “What this has shown is that people really do want to help. It’s a way that not only the community can get involved and break down the barriers that exist between homeless people in the area but individuals can as well, ” he said.

The most popular pledges come from Brill Cafe. Owner Jeremy Brill, 58, said: “We very much feel we’re part of the community and we’ve always helped out people when we can.

“We give people teas and coffees if they’re obviously needing them so this seemed like a really good way of extending that.”

Pizza Pilgrims have had at least five pledges redeemed and Hairdressers Barber Streisand is pleased to have had at least one customer buy an extra cut and hope more will follow.

The scheme was originally only meant to last a week but is coming into its third week and plans to extend it permanently are underway.

The next step for the scheme is an ambitious plan to turn the pledge card scheme digital so people can donate to rough sleepers via shops online.

Have you used the coat rail? Contact the Gazette on 020 7433 0104 or email sam.gelder@archant.co.uk.

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