Free coats on offer in Hackney pop up project

Variety of coats on the rail Pic: Katriona Thompson

A free “coat exchange” has been set up in Stoke Newington Library to provide warm clothes to those in need.

The idea behind the Coatrail Project is that anyone with an unwanted jacket is encouraged to donate it and anyone in need of a coat can take one of the items on the rails.

The scheme was set up by scriptwriter and Hackney resident Rachel Murrell, who was inspired by a similar initiative introduced in Colchester.

Speaking to the Hackney Gazette, Rachel said: “We set it up with one rail and after a week it was so squashed we couldn’t access the stuff, so I had to get a second rail.”

Coats available for the needy Pic: Katriona Thompson

Mayor Philip Glanville’s adviser on preventing homelessness, Councillor Rebecca Rennison, said there has been a “fantastic response” so far, with many local residents getting involved in supporting the scheme.

Rob Coyle, a local resident and CoatRail volunteer said: “I think it’s absolutely fantastic, partly because of the nature of Hackney people. Whether it’s these coats, or homeless centres, foodbanks or migrant centres, Hackney has really stepped up, Not just the borough itself but the local residents have been tremendously supportive.”

One of the primary figures in providing donations is Mustafa Tecimer, who owns the Five Star Dry Cleaners on Church Street.

Tecimer has supported the initiative by donating coats which were dropped off at his business to be dry cleaned but whose owners never returned to collect them.

He explained he got involved because Rachel Murrell is one of his customers. He said::“Rachel comes in here all the time, she spoke to me about the project… it’s a great cause.”

Now the CoatRail project looks set to expand to other parts of the borough, according to Rob Coyle. He said: : “We’re hoping this could be rolled out into some of the other libraries in the borough as well.”

To find out more about the CoatRail project, watch the video below.

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