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A volunteer in a high-vis jacket helps a man put on a scarf in front of a clothes rail of winter clothes. A sign above says "Take One Leave One. Are you cold? Take one. Like to help? Leave one. Clothes for homeless people and rough sleepers"

Take One Leave One launches in Vauxhall to help homeless stay warm

An initiative providing warm clothes to homeless people and those facing hardship this winter was launched in Vauxhall this afternoon.

The Take One Leave One scheme places a sign next to a rail of warm clothes, offering passers-by the choice to take an item if they need it, or leave one if they can help.

Over the last four years the initiative has expanded from a single rail set up by founder Stefan Simanowitz, to more than 30 rails last winter, and has even spread to the US and Canada.

Simanowitz said: “With freezing temperatures hitting Britain, this simple idea which can be replicated in any street in the world is trying to ensure homeless people and anyone facing hardship can stay warm this winter.

“Take One Leave One is a sticky idea which is why it has spread. People see it and are inspired to get involved wherever they are.

“All you need is a rail, a place to put it and a sign which you can make yourself or order.”

GETTING WARMER: the rail at Vauxhall attracts some attention. Credit: Take One Leave One

The rail in Vauxhall was set up in January this year and has run every Friday from 12pm to 3pm.

Organiser Hayley Eroeola said: “We have a great team of dedicated volunteers who want to make a difference to people’s lives, no matter how small.

“One of our volunteers met us when he was homeless. He visited us often and was so motivated he was able to seek accommodation and now volunteers with us every week.”

“We see many new faces every week, but there are around 25 regulars who pop by for clothes and snacks but mainly for a cuppa and a chat.

“Many people can go a whole week without talking to anyone and that’s where our team can step in.

“It is an honour to be there each week and support those in need.”

The initiative has received support from homelessness charities Centrepoint and Crisis, as well as celebrities including Rob Delaney, Gary Linekar, Emily Maitlis and the band Massive Attack.

It has also gained a new mascot in Farringdon Bear, a homeless stuffed Koala, which was found at Farringdon Station earlier this year, and whose search for its owner went viral on social media.

Featured Image: Take One Leave One

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