‘Emotional’ opening for Sheffield clothing bank after pandemic halted their plans

A clothing bank in Sheffield City Centre has finally opened its doors to the public after the third lockdown brought their plans to a halt.

Sharewear, a scheme which initially began operating in Nottingham around seven years ago, launched their second branch in Sheffield on January 5.

They provide emergency clothing, shoes, and bedding, which have been donated, to people who have been referred to their service.

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Emily Hearne, the centre’s supervisor, said: “It’s been really emotional. It’s the first time our service users have been able to come in and it’s a very different feeling.

“Giving a clothing package to a professional is amazing and we’re really happy it’s being passed on to someone who needs it, but to see someone come in, pick their items and feel happy about it is incredible.

“It’s really nice to feel useful after such a long year of horrible times and horrible things happening. We can see this is making a difference.”

There are clothing banks dotted across Sheffield but setting up a centralised hub for clothing support that anyone can access was important to the Sharewear team.

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Food and hygiene banks are widely available, but the team believed a clothing bank was needed to fill the gap in the city’s services to combat deprivation.

Ms Hearne said: “We’re really passionate about raising awareness of clothing poverty, as it’s quite a hidden aspect of poverty.

“People don’t realise it’s not just homeless people who are affected by it. There are people on low incomes who can’t leave the house because they don’t have appropriate clothing.

“It massively impacts self-confidence, job opportunities, where they can go and what weather they can leave the house in – it’s huge and we want people to understand anyone can be affected for any reason.”

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The team are “really grateful” for all donations and lists of what they need can be found on their social media.

At the moment, they are desperate for men’s legwear.

Sharewear is located at 188 Norfolk Street and opens from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

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