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Patient clothing bank celebrates third anniversary

Patient clothing bank celebrates third anniversary

‘The Wardrobe’ – a volunteer-ran clothing bank for mental health patients in Worcester, marked its 3-year anniversary earlier this month. The collection at the Wardrobe. Clothes are hung neatly organised by size on hangers and in boxes. 

Set up in 2021 by Dr Louisa Ward, the Wardrobe provides emergency clothing to patients admitted to mental health wards at the Elgar Unit in Worcester.  

Run by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the unit provides a variety of inpatient care for adults who are experiencing significant mental health difficulties.

Many patients are admitted to the unit following stressful circumstances, in which essential clothing items might not have been gathered for their stay. Some simply do not own basic clothing due to factors such as homelessness or financial issues.

Not having adequate clothing upon admission can have a significant impact on the wellbeing and independence of patients.

The Wardrobe gives patients the option to wear free, clean clothing, so that they feel comfortable in their time of need.

Clothing can be an important part of recovery from mental illness, and providing patients with a choice of clothing aims to help this recovery.

Dr Louisa Ward (pictured), Project Lead for the Wardrobe and SAS doctor on Holt Ward said , “We started the clothing bank as a way to provide patients with access to clean clothes, helping them feel comfortable upon admission and promoting independence. I am glad it has not only sustained but also flourished over the last 3 years – all thanks to our lovely staff and volunteers.” Dr Louisa Ward Smiling 

“For some, clothing represents dignity, and we want to make sure we protect and preserve all our patients’ dignities no matter what mental health issues they are facing. I know the Wardrobe has helped many, and I hope it continues to help those who need it.”

Gemma Diss, Associate Director of Specialist Mental Health and Learning Disability Services said, “It’s great to see our staff go above and beyond to care for patients in our local community. The safety and care of our patients is our top priority, but our care efforts go well beyond them.”

“A big thanks to Louisa and all the staff who help maintain this noble initiative on top of their day-to-day duties.”

The Wardrobe contains a range of size options, and has been put together by donations from staff and members of the public, as well as companies such as Re-Fashion, ASOS, Selective, Aldi, Bonaker Convalescent Charity, Talk Clothing, and Preloved Kilo, with more organisations continuing to pledge their support.

It also provides workwear to those attending interviews locally, as well as sportswear to improve access to physical activity for patients and the local community.

The Wardrobe is open to patients accessing community mental health services in the area, and is currently accepting donations from the public at: Newtown Hospital, Newtown Rd, Worcester WR5 1JG

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