Anthea Peters, together with her 11 volunteers, are proud recipients of this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.
“I am absolutely thrilled to receive this award on behalf of my volunteers whose dedication and commitment to Togs is exemplary. I couldn’t do this without them!”
The story starts nearly 9 years ago. In late 2011, Anthea was volunteering for the Derby City Mission helping to collect Christmas presents for the City’s disadvantaged children. In discussions with the social workers and other agencies, they highlighted the extent to which local parents living in extreme poverty struggled to clothe their children.
“Realising how many clothes my grandchildren and their friends had, I decided to start the clothing bank in January 2012, running it on the same lines as a food bank”
She began by collecting clothes for children aged 0-16 years in one box within her house, but over the next couple of years this project grew, and storage boxes were taking over her home. In August 2014 she moved into premises at 119 Osmaston Road in Derby and currently rents three smallish rooms at a cost of £2000 per year. As Togs is not a registered charity all funding for rent must be raised through generous donations from local sources, most prominently from Foundation Derbyshire.
In addition to clothing, Togs now provides bedding, toys, books and school uniforms and if space allows, equipment such as cots, prams, pushchairs moses baskets etc.
Many of Togs’ referrals come from social workers, children’s centres, family workers, health visitors, midwives, refugees, Red Cross, schools and nurseries. Some of the referrals are from the Derby Refuge where the families have arrived with only the clothes they have travelled in.
Many referrals are via the Red Cross for refugees and asylum seekers. Togs has partnered with Migrant Help based at Laverstock Court in Derby where asylum seekers arriving in Derby are housed for up to two months, prior to being moved to another city.
The Mandela Centre in Normanton (where 50% of the children residing there are living in poverty) are also supported by Togs.
During 2015, Togs provided help for over 200 families and in 2016, over 260 families, representing around 1,000 children. Figures for 2017 amounted to over 350 families with 2018/2019 exceeding 450 families, representing around 1,200 children. Togs is open on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings, working with a team of six volunteers who help to sort the clothes. However, if a family is in crisis the bank will open at any time.
Congratulations to everyone at TOGS – a richly deserved award
Categories: Charity issues