The simple act of donating an unwanted suit makes a huge difference to people facing challenges in their daily lives.
Job hunters, back-to-work mums and those wanting to make the right first impression were helped by the generosity of people supporting the Thrive Birmingham Suit Amnesty.
Fourteen charities have already made requests for suits from this year’s amnesty being held this Friday at Birmingham Town Hall.
Last year’s amnesty collected 1,000 unwanted men’s and women’s suits and volunteers are hoping to receive even more at this session that runs from 7.30am to 4.30pm.
Fidelis Hynam who is spearheading the initiative with Graham Nicoll, Regional Centre Head at Barclays Wealth in Birmingham and a team of volunteers hopes more charities will get in touch. Fidelis said: “A decent suit can make a real difference to someone’s life – it makes a good first impression and helps raise esteem. When you know you look good, you feel good – each suit really does help.”
The team of volunteers have spent many hours co-ordinating the initiative and encouraging a wide range of businesses to get involved. A Sprinter-style van, available for 24 hours from Thursday evening, would be useful and a search is still on for additional space to store the suits.
Fidelis said: “Some charities want to get involved but may not be able to store the suits so we like to offer support in that way. Alternatively other charities may only want two or three – it isn’t a problem. We know how even one suit can make a difference so any charity that would like to make claim should get in touch and we will see what can be arranged.”
Businesses that have already offered support include Marks & Spencer which is loaning the team a batch of clothes rails for the day. Mailbox-based store Harvey Nichols has also come on board offering discounts to any customers who donate a suit.
Harvey Nichols Birmingham is supporting the campaign by offering those who bring good quality suits into the store a 15 per cent discount on a future purchase of formal wear. The ultimate bring-and-buy sees the luxury Mailbox store giving business men and women the chance to update their wardrobe while helping those less fortunate do the same.
“There must be a lot of people out there who do update their business wardrobes on a regular basis and therefore must have unwanted, good quality clothes that are simply languishing in their wardrobes,” explained Kevin Breese, general manager of Harvey Nichols Birmingham. “We hope to encourage them to bring in their suits to the store and receive a 15 per cent discount voucher that can be used on their next purchase.”
You can take good quality suits in to Harvey Nichols Birmingham until Wednesday, October 22 and the 15 per cent voucher is redeemable in store until Wednesday, November 5 (ask in store for terms & conditions that apply).
Graham said: “Although it is a simple idea, it really does make a difference to the lives of people. Just one suit can mean they can make the right impression and it might mean a new job, new home or new opportunity to overcome challenges in their lives.”
Mailwash Dry Cleaning at Broadway Plaza is an invaluable supporter of the Amnesty – last year they cleaned nearly 1,000 suits. This year the dry cleaners are running a special offer for suits to be cleaned on the run-up to the day. It will cost £5 for a suit to be cleaned for the amnesty rather than £11 per suit.
Graham said: “Last year a lot of time, money and effort was spent on dry cleaning the suits so this year we are asking people to get suits cleaned before they bring them in or consider making a donation to help cover costs. Some offices have already made donations or their company has agreed to pay £100 – it is always very much appreciated. Another way is to include £5 when donating the suit but there is no obligation – the suits are the important thing.”
To support the Thrive suit amnesty email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07775 554215. Alternatively contact Thrive writer Annie Roberts on email: email@example.com
Charities who feel they could use the suits to benefit individuals they support should contact: Fidelis Hynam on 0121 333 8539 or 07920 593577.