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Virgin Trains are to donate blankets, scarves and dog coats which have been made from old staff uniforms to the homeless.
Garments which were originally coats, shell jackets, shirts, trousers and suits worn by Virgin Trains’ frontline have been given a new lease of life and will be distributed to those living on the streets in time for the winter months.
The upcycled clothes – many of which are in Virgin Train’s signature colour of red – were transformed by prisoners at HMP Northumberland at their onsite textile factory.
Items will either be distributed by Virgin Staff at Liverpool Lime Street, London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Glasgow Central or will go to local charities to give to the homeless.
Other items of clothing which could not be made into blankets have been used to make unbranded dog coats which will also be given out to those homeless people with four legged friends.
Some branded dog coats with the Virgin Trains logo will be given to staff in return for a donation -with the profits going to charity.
The remainder of the clothes – which are more than six years old – will be donated to charity or later recycled.
This initiative follows on from Virgin Trains recent partnership with Change Please Coffee, a social enterprise that empowers people who have experienced homelessness by training them to be baristas.
Change Please have used any profits generated from their contract with Virgin Trains to recruit more people who have experienced homelessness to be baristas. Both organisations are working together to develop successful trainees and offer them a chance to use their new skills in further or new employment with the train operator.
Jo Buckley, Community Manager at Virgin Trains: “We set ourselves the challenge to be creative and socially responsible with disposing of these old uniforms. It’s also a smart and socially responsible way to handle our waste.
“It’s so rewarding to see the repurposed uniform benefitting those who really need a little warmth and comfort during the winter months and we’re so proud to play a small part in helping the homeless alongside our work with our partners Change Please Coffee.”
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