Kids' community wardrobe helps families with rising costs
published on 31 Mar 2023
A Salvation Army community wardrobe is offering good quality new and second-hand clothing for as little as 50p to help families struggling with rising costs and for those who want to be more environmentally friendly.
Set up by Majors Paula and Ian Haylett, who lead the church and charity’s North Yorkshire Pioneer in Thirsk, the Kids' Community Wardrobe is usually held every three months at Thirsk Methodist Church in St James Green.
Not only offering affordable children’s clothing for children up to 13 years old, it’s a place for parents to meet for coffee and for kids to play and try on new outfits, and to play their part in recycling good quality clothing.
Paula said: “For us it’s ticking a lot of boxes, there’s the reuse and recycle element, meeting the desires of people to be more environmentally friendly and helping families during tough economic times.
“As we don’t have our own Salvation Army building, we’ve partnered with the local Methodist church who have kindly given us their space, which means children coming into church too.
“The kids love it. They like browsing the stock and trying things on, it’s lovely for them to be able to go home with nearly new items which won’t hurt their parent’s pockets. Some people come back again and again because they might spend £20 but get 40 items.
“It also means we can connect with families and invite them to take part in some of the other activities we have going on like our parent and toddlers and mum’s group.”
The items are all good quality, clean and in good condition. Most are priced 50p, but some like coats and party dresses are a £1.
Paula continued: “The community is incredibly generous. If I ask for donations they will turn up on my doorstep and the Methodist church and volunteers will kindly store them for us too. As well as clothes we get prams, cots, baskets.”
Mum-of-two Emma, who has two children aged seven and four, said items are good value and of such good quality that she makes up bundles to give to friends.
Emma, 34, said: “The last year has been a struggle for everyone because of the cost of things going up, so I try and pick items up for my friends’ kids and those expecting babies who can’t make it to the Community Wardrobe themselves. There’s a lot of brand new stuff for new-born babies.
“It’s not just about it being good value, it’s the experience. It can be carnage shopping with kids, but at the Community Wardrobe there are activities like colouring to keep them entertained. The volunteers are so good, they get to know what the children like and will save items for them.
“The kids will go and pick out their own items which in a shop you might ask them to put back, but for 50p it’s fine.
“You can get a coffee and it’s a nice, relaxed environment to be in. When I moved to Thirsk, I didn’t know many people but now I’ve met people through the Community Wardrobe. I can’t rave about it enough, it’s so good.”
The next Kids Community Wardrobe will take place on Saturday 29 April.
The Community Wardrobe is part of a Salvation Army Fresh Expression where Paula and Ian work within the community and from their home responding to community need rather than from a traditional Salvation Army building. For more information search for The Salvation Army – Thirsk on Facebook.