Fay Sibley set up last year's Colchester Coat Exchange, and its success made her and Sarah Fletcher determined to spread the idea. Now Kind Coats is aiming to reach 100 locations across the UK. Let's help them spread the word!
Tell us a little about you, Fay.
I am 31 years old and live in Colchester. I work for the Health Innovation Network which is part of the NHS and before this I trained as a paramedic and worked for the London Ambulance Service.
Where did the idea for Kind Coats come from?
Kind Coats builds on the success of the Colchester Coat Exchange which we ran last winter. The idea was originally from America and I saw a photo of a coat rail on Facebook with the sign 'Need a coat? Take one. Want to help? Leave one'. When I saw this photo I thought it was such a brilliantly simple idea that could really help people in my local community.
This year we are trying to encourage other people across the UK to start a rail - we have a mission of 100 rails across the country!
Lots of people think they should 'do something' but not many do. What spurred you into action?
I think I felt like I didn't have anything to lose by trying - I wanted to help and so I just went for it. I think the great thing about Kind Coats is that it is such a simple idea. Lots of us have coats kicking around at home that we don't want any more - this is a really great way to recycle and help someone else.
How hard was it to garner support?
The support for Kind Coats has been incredible - people really embraced the rail and reacted positively. The media and the short film the BBC made really helped us share the message and reach more people. Watch it here.
What have been the highs/lows?
I think for me, meeting people who have benefited from using the rail has been the highlight. It has been humbling and moving to hear people's personal stories. It has also been really heartening to see how warmly people have embraced the rail - I think many people want to help but don't know how; this initiative gives them the opportunity to be kind.
What would your message to the good people of Colchester be?
Be kind to each other. We have a lot of power to do good as a community and care for one another. Take a moment, stop and have a conversation with someone who you might normally walk by.
Do you have any other plans in the pipeline?
I am linking up with the food bank to see if there is a way we could introduce a community fridge or toiletries at the rail. However, our main focus this year is to encourage others to start a rail and spread a little kindness!
Editor's Note: What a fantastic project, and what a truly lovely Colcestrian! Let's all support Fay and Sarah by spreading the word to friends and family in other locations to help them reach their target: https://www.kindcoats.com/