Guest blog by Paul Wales, operations director at Actes
It was an absolute honour to pick up the Community Health Development award from the Royal Society for Public Health for our Trending clothing bank at a glittering award ceremony in London last week.
This accolade was true testament to the hard work of the Trending team, as well as our funders Talent Match Middlesbrough and Middlesbrough Council, whose commitment has enabled us to support almost 600 people in need with free, quality clothing since the service launched in June 2016.
Trending was borne out of a need identified by Talent Match clients to provide young people in Middlesbrough with access to quality clothing suitable for interviews, work and training. We successfully secured funding from Talent Match Middlesbrough’s Innovation Fund to deliver the service and were able to extend the project beyond its original aims with support from Middlesbrough Council Financial Inclusion Group funding. As a result we have been able to help those most in need in Middlesbrough, including the homeless, those fleeing domestic violence and families in urgent need of clothing.
Photo caption: Terrie Allinson (left) and Jade Greensmith (right) from Actes who run the Trending project
What makes Trending stand out is the unique way in which the service is delivered. Clients can have a real shopping experience in our boutique inspired store, which Talent Match clients and other young people in the town helped us to kit out, and our friendly team will put them at ease and find them clothing to meet their specific needs. If clients prefer a more discreet approach, they can bid for items posted on the Trending Middlesbrough Facebook page and to ensure we’re as accessible as possible, we also operate the Trending on Wheels outreach service at community hubs across Middlesbrough every week.
We know what a difference our project is making due to the positive feedback from clients who have been able to feel more confident whether that be in a work environment, interview or at a family event, so to be recognised by RSPH was the icing on the cake, particularly as we were up against some strong competition from community health ventures in Hednesford and the Isle of Dogs.
The night itself was a star studded affair with Natasha Kaplinsky, my wife’s idol professional dancer Karen Hardy and many other celebs and dignitaries, but more importantly, it was great to hear about all of the fantastic projects improving people’s lives across the UK.
For further information about Trending please contact Tel: 01642 858 050, Email: email@example.com or visit the website http://www.actes.co.uk/health-wellbeing or Facebook page /TrendingMiddlesbrough. Follow Actes Trust on Twitter @ActesTrust