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Charity prepares for a cold front as living costs soar

This news post is 9 months old

Christmas crisis in on the way warns Edinburgh group

The soaring cost of living, continuing high inflation and mounting energy bills will culminate in a ‘Christmas crisis’, predicts an Edinburgh charity.

The Leith Collective has been helping locals via a range of free clothing exchange initiatives throughout 2023, but says the coming season will likely be their toughest challenge yet.

First launched in January 2022, its winter coat exchange proved instantly popular, with more than 7,000 good quality coats donated and rehomed over the course of the year.

But while many had hoped spiralling everyday expenses would settle in 2023, the cost of living has continued to climb. According to The Leith Collective, the result of this is an even bigger number of Edinburgh residents now facing breaking point.

In response, the charity is now on a mission to distribute more coats than ever before and is appealing to local residents as well as businesses with excess old stock to donate what they can.

Founder Sara Thomson said: “We’ve had countless people telling us that last winter was unbearable. We all hoped that things would change for the better in 2023, but sadly it’s been cut back after cut back, price rise after price rise this year.

“For those people that had hoped to ‘ride out the storm’ last winter, the realisation that things have not improved since then and their struggles are likely to continue into 2024 will hit them hard this Christmas.

“A warm and comfortable winter coat is a basic necessity, especially now that we’re seeing more and more extreme weather as a result of climate change. But for families that have been continually stretched, a coat yet another essential item that they are having to sacrifice.

“From our experience, the culminative effect of all these ongoing sacrifices can have a hugely detrimental impact on a person’s dignity and on their mental wellbeing.”

The winter coat exchange launches in all three Leith Collective stores on 1 October. Locals and businesses are being urged to donate good quality winter coats and waterproof jackets suitable for all ages and sizes. The coats will be available for anyone to collect at Ocean Terminal, Fort Kinnaird and St Enoch Centre completely free of charge.