Warmer winter in store for Portsmouth as community coat rail is set up in Guildhall Square

A WARMER winter is in store for the city’s residents as a community coat rail has been set up in Guildhall Square.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 4:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 5:17 pm

Ice rink worker Erika Rudash came up with the idea after seeing a similar scheme’s success in Chichester, where she lives.

Located outside The Norrish Central Library right next to the Portsmouth City Council buildings, the rail is a place for people to donate coats for adults and children who may not be able to afford a warm jacket this winter.

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Matt Levy from Don't Hate, Donate and Erika Rudash who set up the community coat rail outside Portsmouth Central Library

Erika said: ‘It’s really spread across the country and I think it’s a lovely idea because it’s so easy because it’s community run.

‘The library has really helped us in accommodating it and taking it in overnight so it’s protected.

‘The majority of the ‘customers’ are not actually homeless but are vulnerable families.

‘People want to help and we just need to give them the opportunity, people will rally behind it.’

She was inspired to set this scheme up following time volunteering with Portsmouth charity Don’t Hate, Donate, and seeing homeless people who were struggling with the colder weather.

The organisation has really got behind the community coat rail scheme and one of its supporters donated two rails to be used, one of which is on standby for when more space is needed for donations.

There has been a buzz of activity around the project already, with plenty of coats coming and going, and one woman made the trip from Portchester to drop off a collection of jackets.

Erika said only clean, good condition coats are needed for this scheme, and a range of sizes for all age groups will be welcomed.

The rail will be out Monday to Saturday during the operating hours of the library, which are 9.30am to 6pm from Tuesday to Thursday, 9.30am to 5pm on Mondays and Fridays and 10am to 3.30pm on Saturdays.

They hope to keep the project running until January, while Erika can keep an eye on it from her job at the ice rink.