A new Redbridge Council-backed clothes bank has been launched in Ilford giving vulnerable families access to free clothes and shoes for toddlers.
The initiative was led by Children’s Centre Group Manager, Shopna Hussain and her team from Thackeray Drive and Peabody Children’s Centres to help ensure vulnerable families in the borough can easily access essential items for their young children.
Redbridge Council supported the initiative with additional funds to help get it off the ground.
The launch of the clothes bank forms part of the wider work of the Children’s Centres under the borough’s child poverty strategy, aimed at supporting vulnerable families with a range of services relating to food poverty, including cooking skills classes, benefits advice, debt advice, employment services, and information about Healthy Start and foodbanks.
Speaking about the initiative Cllr Elaine Norman said: “COVID-19 has hit many of our families particularly hard, and clothes bank and food banks are often a vital resource for the most vulnerable families in our communities.
“The Toddlers Clothes Bank is part of our ongoing commitment to help ensure families in Redbridge have access to resources and support, including throughout the pandemic.
“I’m delighted to have launched the clothes bank and would like to thank those who have already donated towards it. Redbridge is a community that steps up for each other, and I’m proud to see that happening once again through all the kind donations.”
Leader of Redbridge Council Cllr Jas Athwal, commented: “No child in our borough should be left without access to essential items like food and clothing, which is why we’re committed to always stepping up and providing families in Redbridge with the support they need, when they need it the most.
“The pandemic has shown us more than ever that we need be there to support one another as one community – so please do donate to the new Toddlers Clothes Bank if you haven’t already.”
Located on site at the Peabody Children’s Centre in Jaffe Road, Ilford, the clothes bank is encouraging people to donate children’s clothes and shoes up to the age of five, as well as books.
The initiative is in addition to the Orchard Baby Bank project, which was developed by Orchard Children’s Centres in December 2020, to support children from birth to two years.
Redbridge families are able to access the clothes bank every Friday from 9am-4pm.
Donations are being welcomed at the Peabody Children’s Centre. For more information, or if you would like to volunteer to help at the Clothes Bank please contact the children’s centre on email: [email protected] or call 020 8708 5800.
Redbridge’s children’s centres are a one-stop shop for children aged 0-5 years and their parents and carers, providing access to family healthcare, advice and guidance about bringing up children, early education and childcare. Children’s centres also have links to career and employment services to support parents who want to return to work or find training opportunities.
As part of the borough’s Education and Inclusion Department, Redbridge’s children’s centres have been proactive in supporting children living in poverty, or likely to be, due to the pandemic.
From offering online courses and one-to-one early intervention support to families with young children, to making wellbeing calls, delivering free-school meals, and Home Learning to support child development – the borough’s children’s centres have been there to lend a helping hand throughout the pandemic when families have needed it the most.