Posted: 21st Sep 2020

Poverty in the UK

The growth of food banks across Britain has in many ways come to define the austerity era. Though it is not only hot meals that families are struggling to provide, but the clothes on their backs as well. A fifth of the UK population now lives in poverty: that is 14 million people, including working-age adults, children and pensioners.

There has been an epic emergence of charities like Sharewear – a clothes bank that holds occupancy at one of our properties. In 2018, Sharewear clothed 4000 people – twice as many as the previous year and has been on the rise ever since! At the same time as need has increased, the emergency safety nets such as local welfare schemes and discretionary social funds have been cut or abolished entirely. 

This incredible organisation provides a practical facility for those who need it: people who’ve had their benefits sanctioned, people in low-paid work, people in debt, the homeless community, asylum seekers and refugees, people with mental health issues, ex-offenders, victims of crime and of domestic violence and abuse. “We’re getting an increasing number of women through,” says Louise Cooke, founder of Sharewear. “Women who’ve fled and have pulled up with nothing, but the clothes they’re standing up in.

Clients are referred to the clothing scheme through schools, doctors, the police, social services, as well as smaller organisations like the Women’s Centre and debt advice centres, they are also the main clothes supplier for the British Red Cross’ emergency response unit for fire and flood, for the whole of central England.

If you would like to donate to this worthy cause Sharewear accept clothing items in all sizes:

Women’s clothing, coats and shoes

Men’s clothing, coats and shoes

Children’s (Girls & Boys) clothing, coats and shoes

Infants/Toddlers (Girls & Boys) clothing, coats and shoes

Bedding, sheets, duvets, pillows and bath towels

They can take pre-loved clothes as well as new ones, however they will only use clothes which are of a good quality. Please be aware that they can only accept brand new knickers and pants and they do not accept food, toiletries, household goods, furniture, toys or anything not listed above.

They would love to hear from you if you would like to get involved in any way at all. Please feel free to email them on

Thank you Centric, landlords, and everyone who’s played a part in establishing this fantastic community resource in Brighton. You’ve made a crucial difference to the development of our charity and the health and well-being of a large number of people in need

Gary Pargeter
Project Manager Lunch Positive