An appeal for people to donate coats, jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves is being made by a Westwood mum-of-three and children’s social worker in a bid to help struggling families.
Gabi Rowland says she has been prompted to take action after seeing a notable rise in babies, children and adults in flimsy outfits as families are unable to afford the cost of warm clothing.
The 52-year-old is hoping to distribute the items from a venue in Broadstairs with anyone being able to pick something up free and “with no judgement.”
Gabi said: “I’m a social worker and team manager at KCC and referrals for children, in particular over the last year and a bit, have significantly increased.
“Families are really struggling financially. I had thought about doing an appeal last year but my husband had some health issues. I have decided to do it now because of the cost of living crisis. For some families that are a bit better off the cost of a coat, say a cheap £15 one, is manageable but for struggling families it is unobtainable.
“Even if you go to a charity shop they have rising costs so a coat maybe £8-£9 and that might still be too much for some.
“I thought why not recycle these things, especially for children who grow out of their clothes so quickly.
“I have seen kids walking about in the flimsiest coats with no hat or gloves and I just want to help.
“I have a passion for safeguarding children and it upsets me to think of them struggling. I went into Primark and did see gloves for £1 but that is still a loaf of bread and two tins of beans if you are a struggling family, that’s food.”
Gabi says her own previous experience of being a single mum and struggling to buy basics helps her to understand what people may be coping with.
She added: “I put up a post at the weekend and in ten minutes a friend called to say I could use her studio, which is amazing.
“I have a lot of offers for coats and jumpers from people who have had a rummage through and I can pick up if they are local to me.
“I am hoping to distribute at the end of March although it may be April, meaning preparing people for next winter.”
If you have items you would like to donate contact Gabi at firstname.lastname@example.org