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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Fresh threads for new beginnings

A joint venture between the St Vincent de Paul Society and Sydney-based program Thread Together is delivering new clothes to Canberrans who need them most.

Thread Together Sydney and Vinnies joined forces just over a year ago for the Thread Together Hub @ Vinnies, which allows people in need to pick up brand new clothes, whatever they might need, for free.

“When people come in, they’re free to shop, if they need help with sizing or anything that they’re looking for like formal wear, job interview stuff, casual things, just things to be comfortable in, whether they’re refreshing their wardrobe from maybe exiting homelessness or leaving a domestic and family violence situation; they’re able to come in and get a free wardrobe,” says Vinnies Canberra/Goulburn Director of Community Engagement, Erin MacArthur.

Thread Together Sydney has partnerships with a range of fashion manufacturers, who donate clothes that would otherwise go to landfill, bringing a strong sustainability aspect to the program. The clothes are then shipped to the Thread Together Hub @ Vinnies here in Canberra, and people with a referral to use the service can access a new wardrobe.

“We’ve just had a lot of different people coming in and leaving, I think, uplifted, feeling a bit more confident than when they came in, which is a beautiful thing to see,” Erin says.

“We’ve had people come in and say ‘this is the first time I’ve ever seen something on a clothing rack and been able to have it’ … It’s actually, sadly, in our society, if you’re living below the poverty line, a luxury to have new clothes.”

Based on volunteers, the Thread Together Hub @ Vinnies works hard to ensure people feel welcomed into the store, with great customer service, a huge range of clothing and facilities for showers.

“If people need private appointments or if there are any safety concerns around the situation, we’re happy to book them in, make sure it’s closed off and make sure we can cater to their needs particularly,” Erin says.

“Being able to select clothes that reflect who we are as individuals should not be a luxury. We are firm believers that new clothes help restore people’s dignity and self-confidence which form part of the identity we present to the world.”

Funds from the Vinnies CEO Sleepout go towards supporting programs such as the Thread Together Clothing Hub @ Vinnies. Donations via ceosleepout.org.au

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