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The Grace Project: Children's Clothes Bank

A church project in Wadebridge is going from strength to strength as it reaches two years since the official launch at the end of July 2021.

Aiming to help families by providing clothing to children, the Grace Project was set up and is being run by volunteers at Egloshayle Church, following an initial appeal for donations of children’s clothing from the local community.

The project is not a charity or a profit-making organisation but rather a community project that takes the gift of pre-loved children’s clothing and re-distributes it to those who are in need, free of charge. The idea for the Grace Project came from Helen Eustice who saw the impact the Cornwall Children’s Clothes Bank based in Truro had on families and thought there might be a need in Wadebridge.

“I could not believe there was such a high demand for children’s clothing in an area like Truro and the number of families that relied on it to clothe their children,” she said. “When I learned that the local foodbank and storehouse was moving to larger premises in this town it confirmed to me that there was a definite need.”

With advice from those involved with the Cornwall Children’s Clothes Bank, the Grace Project sprang to life. Donations of pre-loved children’s clothing, for children aged 0 -12 years, can be left at Egloshayle Church, with a team of volunteers routinely going through the donations and sorting them according to age, size and gender. When requests are received, these are bundled and are then left ready to be collected from Egloshayle Church which is open from 10am until 4pm every day. Drop-offs can be arranged if transport is an issue.

Revd Steve Payne said: “We initially put out an appeal for donations of children’s clothes and had a terrific response from the community.

"In these last couple of years since the project was launched, we have been packaging more and more requests as awareness and demand have increased. To date, the costs of the project have been met from church funds and individual donations from church members who have been busy working hard.

"More recently we have been successful in securing a grant from the Deanery which will enable us to expand the project into other parishes across North Cornwall and pay for some much-needed shelving and better storage facilities.”

Since January volunteers from the project have been visiting the foodbank in Bodmin on the first Monday of every month, taking with them a selection of clothes. On the first visit they gave out in excess of 30 winter coats.

Social media has undoubtedly been the most effective way of reaching people and informing them that there are good quality pre-loved children’s clothes freely available to anyone who needs it. The project is very fortunate to have a young volunteer who manages this.

Open Afternoons are another recent development for the project and these are held on the first Thursday of every month at Egloshayle Church between 2pm and 4pm. Anyone can come along, grab a bag or two and fill them with whatever clothes they select from the donations available. Refreshments are available and there are always toys for any children to play with.

To date the project has helped in excess of 500 families, and with an increasing network of volunteers who are prepared to transport clothes to more local drop-off points for those living beyond Wadebridge, this looks set to increase.

Helen added: “We are obviously reliant on the kind donations of clothing from people within our community and we really want to thank all those who have, and are, donating as well as those sorting, bundling, delivering and raising awareness.”

If you would like to receive some clothing or you have clothes to donate contact the Grace Project via its Facebook page - Wadebridge Grace, email or Instagram @thegraceprojectegloschurch


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