A new project to help vulnerable residents and those in need in Harwich has proved so successful it is to be continued for an extra week.
Winter Warmers opened up on February 10 in Tendring District Council’s (TDC) Waddesdon Road offices.
The initiative – which includes providing clothes, shoes, food, and bedding for families on benefits and low incomes - was due to run for two weeks and then close tomorrow (February 21).
Now it will be kept going until at least the end of the month so that it can support more people.
The Winter Warmers scheme was jointly set up between the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and TDC. The Harwich pop-up shop has also been supported by Les Nicoll, Community Connector for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
Lynda McWilliams, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Well-Being and Partnerships, said she is delighted that the idea has gone down so well in Harwich.
“The first pop-up shop was operated in Clacton towards the end of last year and assisted more than 400 people in just two weeks,” she said.
“It was then decided to move it over to Harwich in the New Year but we had no idea what the take-up would be. The feedback has been so positive and we have been able to help so many families that it has been agreed with the CAB that we will carry on for another week.”
Teenager Latrice Edwards from the CAB, who came up with then original idea of Winter Warmers, will continue to staff the pop-up shop with support from volunteers from the local community.
Cllr McWilliams added: “What is so good about this is that it is a team effort and that team continues to grow and support those in our communities that need it.”
The shop needs more menswear and children’s wear and items can be dropped off at Clacton Town Hall or the pop-up shop in Waddesdon Road.
Andy Rutter, Secretary of the Harwich Society, said he felt the scheme is a really positive move.
“The Winter Warmers project has identified a need and has provided genuine and immediate assistance for many people in Harwich,” he said.
“It is an excellent initiative offering real help to real people and is very much appreciated by the community.”
The project originally came about under the Community Builder Trial which received £53,000 from Essex County Council following a successful bid by TDC.
The Council asked the Cab to jointly deliver the idea in an effort to develop stronger communities in Tendring.
A Community Builder, Diane Boyd has been employed to work with two Apprentice Community Connectors to identify examples of good practice and areas where communities need support.
“The response to Winter Warmers in Clacton and Harwich has been fantastic and we are so pleased that so many individuals and families have benefited,” said Ms Boyd.
TDC, which has provided the premises in Waddeston Road free of charge, agreed to extend the lease so the pop-up shop can continue.