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Take One, Leave One: Project offering warm clothing to homeless people returns to Exmouth Market

PUBLISHED: 14:47 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:56 03 December 2019

The coat rack set up as part of the Take One, Leave One project in Exmouth Market.

The coat rack set up as part of the Take One, Leave One project in Exmouth Market.

Archant

As temperatures start to plummet, an initiative offering warm clothing to homeless people and rough sleepers will return to Exmouth Market tomorrow.

The coat rack set up as part of the Take One, Leave One project in Exmouth Market.The coat rack set up as part of the Take One, Leave One project in Exmouth Market.

Take One, Leave One, organised by Stefan Simanowitz, will see coat rails and clothes bins stationed outside the Holy Redeemer Church in the Clerkenwell market street.

It first launched in January this year, and was such a success the idea was emulated across the capital and further afield.

"Last winter, as snow and freezing temperatures hit London, I set up a clothes rail outside a church beneath a sign which read: 'If you are cold? Take one. Like to help? Leave one.' What happened next was remarkable," said Stefan.

"By the afternoon the rail was filled with coats and jackets as well as gloves, hats, scarves and blankets and the rail stayed there throughout the winter.

The coat rack and 'pledge cards', part of the Take One, Leave One project in Exmouth Market.The coat rack and 'pledge cards', part of the Take One, Leave One project in Exmouth Market.

"Rails were set up in other sites around London and the country and it is hoped that this simple idea will be replicated around the country."

As well as the clothes rail, "pledge cards" enabled people to offer homeless people free food, drinks and other services. These pledge cards could be bought by locals from shops at a discounted price or donated by shopkeepers .

More than 100 meals and hot drinks were donated in the first day alone, in the form of pledges, and more than a dozen businesses on the street got involved.

Stefan decided to set up the project after seeing a tweet about a similar scheme in Chicago two years ago.

It comes as volunteers and Islington Council workers counted 57 people sleeping rough in Islington on Thursday night in the official "snapshot" count.

That's up from 43, and does not include those sleeping either on public transport or in emergency hostels. People on the street are only counted if they are bedding down - if they are stood or sat next to a sleeping bag they are excluded.

"At some point today, you will probably walk past one of the 5,000 people who slept rough last night," he said. "Their situation is a result of the housing shortage, the lack of homelessness prevention schemes and a woefully inadequate benefits system.

"Whilst initiatives like Take One, Leave One can have a small, short-term impact this winter, we join with other organisations in calling on the government to take urgent steps to end the scourge of homelessness.

"Ending homelessness is not a utopian dream. All that is needed the will to act."

The launch will take place at midday.

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