Cardiff Mum Supports Hundreds Of Families From Storage Giant Clothing Bank
A Cardiff-based Family Support Worker who runs a clothing bank from a Storage Giant self storage facility in Cardiff has supported more than 200 families since she set up Lab Co Clothing.
Claire Goode is in the process of applying for charitable status for the clothing bank that she runs solo, so she can access more support for the service, and perhaps expand it beyond the Cardiff area to meet the burgeoning need. She has seen at least a 50 percent spike in the number of families who are struggling to clothe their children because of the rocketing cost of living.
Claire set up the operation after seeing a BBC report which outlined that out of the 700,000 people in Wales who live in poverty, 206,000 of these are children, and that Cardiff has one of the highest child poverty rates in the UK- more than 40 percent of children in some wards of Cardiff live in poverty.
She says: “The situation is critical for so many families and I hear so often that parents are making hard choices between eating, heating their homes, or buying clothes for their children. There is a common belief – and it is very wrong – that parents who cannot afford to clothe their children are ‘spending their money on beer and cigarettes.’ This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am dealing with working families who are just overwhelmed by the rising cost of living. Since I started doing this two years ago the need has gone up more than 50 percent, would say. Lab Co Clothing serves families via a referral system and these come to me from colleagues, local authorities, NHS staff and local charities.
As well as managing her day job Claire runs her clothing bank out of a Storage Giant unit in Newport Road, Cardiff, which houses a mix of self-storage clients, smes and charities. She is soon to change the name of her operation to Wear It, Share It, and she hopes local businesses will get involved with clothing donations and other support.
“At the moment I get referrals from my colleagues within Family Support and I run Lab Co Clothing thanks to very generous donations from local people. Many people give me clothes that are still tagged and unworn and I ask on various Facebook groups and via my social media channels for clothes and for bedding – duvet covers, sheets and pillows. I hope that by applying for charitable status I will be able to expand and apply for certain grants and for more formal support. I am always being asked ‘do you have a branch in Newport or Swansea?’ The need is so great and it is getting greater.
Simon Williams, Storage Giant MD, said: “This is of course, a worrying time for many families and it is sad to see people struggling. But Claire is doing an admirable job to support people in her community and we are pleased to be able to support her in this valuable endeavour. A number of small charities thrive under the Storage Giant roof at our facilities all across Wales and in the UK, and we make sure our rates are low and our terms are flexible, so we can meet the needs of people like Claire and of start-ups and entrepreneurs. I would encourage anyone in the Cardiff area to give their support to Lab Co Clothing if they can.”