The Salvation Army is offering free coats to help struggling families in Manchester.
A clothing rail with coats suitable for children from the age of one-year-old right up to adult sizes is set up outside the church in Lime Square, Openshaw, every Thursday.
The Wrap Up Openshaw scheme was set up in December in partnership with St Clement’s Church and charity Manchester Settlement, who were also collecting and distributing donations.
Corps officer Captain Jane Bishton, who runs Openshaw Salvation Army with her husband Captain Jon, said: ‘We’ve given out 40 to 60 coats so far to people of all ages.
‘We know a lot of people are struggling financially and can’t afford new coats, so it is nice for us to be able to give something away for free. There’s been a great response, I think people are quite surprised that they don’t have to pay.
‘It’s been a really great community project working alongside our friends at other local churches and charities.’
The rail is left in the lobby area and put outside on Thursdays when Openshaw Salvation Army runs its food bank. The service, which is no longer accepting donations, will run until the end of March.
This comes after The Salvation Army is urged the government to set out a clear plan to help people trapped in poverty by the pandemic.
The government has confirmed it will extend the £20 Universal Credit uplift and the furlough scheme for another six months, until the end of September 2021.
While this is welcome, the church and charity are warning that this does not address the longer-term financial impact on many struggling families and individuals.
The Salvation Army is also calling for the government to ensure those who receive alternative benefits to Universal Credit, known as ‘legacy benefits’, are also eligible for the £20 boost.
Dean Pallant, the Salvation Army’s secretary for communications said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, the Salvation Army has continued to help the most vulnerable people in our communities, with food banks, debt advice and employment services.
With the unemployment rate at its highest level for five years, we see first-hand, that the way we help the most vulnerable in our communities right now, will have repercussions for years to come.’
Photo Credit – Pixabay