The Exchange

She stood checking her mobile; it was nearly time for the exchange. Two busy professionals were due to meet at 9:30hours in a busy Birmingham square, shuffling nervous feet, will the CCTV cameras notice, would she recognize the dispatch agent from Common Purpose? Then, it was all over, in a moment. Swiftly approached by Agent L, the suitcase was exchanged to Agent B, a smile, a natural exchange, both turned and went about their business. The donation was made.

Thank you Louise for the clothing donation, and to Laura for making the trek across to Snowhill to deliver to Crossroads Trust.

Crossroads Trust are really proud of our CLIP clothing project here in North Warwickshire. Every item is utilized for the benefit of our clients coming out of prison back to our community. Many items are kept in safe storage, itemised and sized in readiness for a male or female individual in need of clothing. It might be that they have lost or put on weight whilst in prison, or they may have no desire to look like a 90s throwback if they have served a lengthy sentence, and feel they need more modern items. Or, it may be that one of our clients needs a winter coat or a smart outfit for an interview. We hope to be able to provide this.

Extra special items may be sold via an online auction site to realize a cash value, that is then put towards our ‘new pants, new socks’ approach, as we naturally never give out nearly new underwear!

Other items that are not serviceable or suitable are recycled in our cash for clothes business, again making money to enable new clothing to be purchased when necessary. A man coming out of prison in March came to us and was shocked when we took him to Nuneaton for new jeans and warm jumpers. He had nothing that fitted on release and was angry at the lack of support for long term prisoners in Warwickshire.

‘You lot have done more for me than anyone. I am gob smacked, you’ll get my support for as long as you like. I want to volunteer.’

CLIP, a bit of dignity in disadvantaged circumstances. CLIP, a way of us as a community welcoming someone back, a way of showing that inclusion is far more effective than exclusion when it comes to reducing risk of re-offending and harm.

Thank you to Lucy, our CLIP project lead, and to all of you who have donated clothing.

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