Collecting coats for Wrap Up London 2015

Wrap Up London collects unwanted coats from commuters at underground stations and distributes them to people in need around the capital.

Louise Thomas works in communications for a social enterprise organisation and has been a Wrap Up London volunteer for four years. She is a committee member and leads the team collecting coats at Highbury & Islington.

Jenny James is a member of the K2 Space design and build team. This was her first year as a volunteer. She helped transport bags of coats from three London underground stations to Safestore in Bermondsey for counting and sorting.

Louise’s story

I first got involved with Wrap Up London by volunteering for two days at Charing Cross. I got on well with the team leader there and that led to me being invited to look after London Bridge the following year. Now I’m part of the committee and have been team leader at Highbury & Islington for the last two years.

The campaign builds up from August. I attend committee meetings on Monday evenings. I then work five half days in the week of Wrap Up London. I’m at Highbury & Islington between 7.00am and 11.00am – handing out leaflets on Monday and Tuesday and then collecting coats on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The best way to raise awareness is to be loud, proud and friendly. Now we are in our fifth year we do get people coming up to us and saying “Oh, you’re the coat people!”. Others haven’t heard about Wrap Up London but most love the concept and want to donate their old coats.

It has been an awesome experience and I’ve met people that I wouldn’t ordinarily have. One man specifically came to see us at London Bridge and thanked me in advance for the coat that he’d been promised by his homeless shelter.

We want Wrap Up London to get bigger and better. As well as increasing the number of coats each year, our main ambition is to expand the campaign to include other cities. Look out for Wrap Up UK coming to where you live very soon!

Jenny’s story

I knew about Wrap Up London before I joined K2 Space. It was mentioned during my interview process so I was aware of it before I’d even got the job.

It is great seeing our logo on the tube. We are listed as a supporter on the Wrap Up London posters and its great publicity for the event and a nice reminder for us that its nearly time for us to get collecting.

There were four K2 Space vehicles on the move on all three collection days. I was on the K2 Space van that visited London Bridge, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf. Over three days we collected 324 bags from these stations and 814 bags in total.

It is a real team effort when you’re on your way around London. We keep the teams at each station updated on where we are and then work together to get the bags into the vans. This involves carrying them carefully through the stations, which are always busy and full of commuters.

People donate the right sort of coats. Thick, warm coats that are in good condition make a big difference to someone who hasn’t got one.

As Wrap Up London progresses you get to hear about all the amazing things that take place. This year we had retailers like Next donating dozens of brand new coats and people donating the coat they were wearing.

To find out more about Wrap Up London or to donate your unwanted coats to this year’s campaign, visit the Wrap Up London website.


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