‘It’s getting worse’ Cardiff woman behind children’s clothing bank says demand has doubled
A family support worker who runs a children’s clothing bank in Cardiff says her referrals have doubled due to the soaring cost of living. Claire Goode, 48, from Whitchurch, launched Lab Co Clothing in 2019.
The Cardiff council family support worker has worked in the industry for 20 years and started the non-profit after supporting a working mother of four who was struggling to dress her children. Lab Co Clothing helps organize clothes for kids ages 2-16. They receive recommendations from NHS staff, schools and Cardiff Council.
She said: “I felt there was a lot of support for new mums, babies, but no one was looking at the older age group, and as they get older their clothes get more expensive. .”
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“I thought there had to be a way to help people elevate the pressures they feel, especially now. It was bad before, but definitely worse now.
“As a Christian, one of the things I believe in is our faith in action, so I thought ‘why not’ – it’s not going to take a lot of my time; however, that is no longer true,” Claire added.
Cardiff has one of the highest child poverty rates in the UK – 40% of children in some areas of Cardiff are affected. A BBC report, which inspired Claire to launch the clothing bank, pointed out that of the 700,000 people living in poverty in Wales, 206,000 are children.
She first started collecting clothes by word of mouth and storing them in her husband’s workshop, but since it was demolished she has had to move to a smaller facility on Newport Road. Claire provided clothing for the first family in 2019 and has since helped over 210 families.
But due to the onset of the life crisis, references to the organization doubled. She has since applied for charitable status, to help expand her work by helping families with clothing donations.
“The need is growing. We helped our first Ukrainian family over the weekend, and we’ve already helped families who fled war zones. The demand is going to triple and that’s what scares me,” she said.
She added: “I will do whatever I can to help no matter where they are from.” The local community has been very supportive, with many people dropping by or phoning Claire to collect donations. She also uses Facebook to highlight urgent clothes she needs.
A single father who received help from Lab Co Clothing said: “It has been difficult with three children as a single father. I feel like sometimes people treat you differently than if you were a single mom in that position. But being a victim of domestic violence and a father, Claire helped get the clothes. It made the children so happy, which gave me hope in all the difficulties of the past few years with everything that has happened.
“Claire was one of the first contacts my worker gave me. She was very nice and that helped me, especially where my children and I were two years ago.
Currently, Lab Co Clothing is looking for clothing for boys and girls ages 13-16. They collect clothing donations in the Cardiff area every Saturday morning.
For more information, visit the LabCo website here or to organize a fundraiser, email [email protected]