This was the eighth year for the annual Calling London Winter Coat campaign and it has been the most successful yet with over 5,000 coats and fleeces collected in total, nearly 3,000 of which were donated via Chestertons, after the business turned its network of 33 London offices into public collection points.
Thousands of donations were made by so many generous people throughout November. Coats have now been sorted and bagged up with the help of volunteers and distributed to over 40 charities and shelters across the capital, including: St Mungo’s (Chestertons’ charity partner), Crisis at Christmas, Hestia Crisis Support, foodbanks, refugee groups and charities working with the most vulnerable in the community.
Chestertons reached out to local community groups, businesses, schools and its sponsored partners to help promote the campaign this year, including London Welsh Rugby Club. Chairman Gwyn Williams says: “If a high-profile company like Chestertons can use their offices all over London to help keep vulnerable people warm through the Winter Coat campaign then it is an absolute pleasure for us as a club to help and get behind it.”
Tim Bates, Marketing Manager and Treasurer of Chestertons’ Charity Champions, says: “We are delighted with the number of coats collected and would like to thank everyone who came to one of our offices to drop off their unwanted winter coats. A special thanks goes to Belleville School in Battersea Rise for its amazing efforts. They collected over 100 coats for us.”
The Calling London Winter Coat Campaign was established in 2010 by local Kensington resident Frances Manthos to help Londoners in need keep warm during the cold winter months. Since launching, the campaign has continued to reach more people, of all ages, who are sleeping rough or unable to afford a winter coat.
Frances says: “It's been our biggest year. We surpassed our target and are thrilled so many coats came via our Chestertons public donation points (60% of all donations). Our collaboration with Chestertons has maximised our ability to collect even more coats and reach even more vulnerable people.”
Chestertons also had 26 members of staff that formed part of a fabulous team of volunteers who spent three days going through 5,000 coats to get them ready for distribution.
Daniel Taylor, Head of Kensington Residential Sales at Chestertons, was one of those volunteers. He says: “Well done to all the volunteers who helped out. It certainly felt like a high intensity training workout at times when we were moving all the heavy bags.
This is the second time that I have helped out and I am delighted the campaign managed to collect a record number of coats! This year’s success is a real testament to our local communities supporting this incredibly rewarding campaign. Huge thanks must go to the founder of Calling London, Frances Manthos who organised the coat sorting weekend, without Frances this charity would not be what it is today. I strongly encourage anyone who has an unwanted winter coat or puffa jacket to donate next year.”