Farringdon’s Warm Clothes Initiative has celebrated its fourth anniversary

4:57 PM February 22, 2022

An innovative warm clothes initiative, which started with a single clothes rail outside a church in Farringdon, has celebrated its fourth anniversary.

The local Take One Leave One (TOLO) project has gone national over the past four years since its first rail offering warm clothes to homeless people at Holy Redeemer Church in Exmouth Market.

To mark the anniversary on January 28, additional TOLO rails were launched at Vauxhall in South London, Manchester, Brighton and Leeds.

Take One Leave One rails allow members of the public to leave warm clothing and other items like shoes for those in need
– Credit: Veronika Ward

Plans are also underway to work with homelessness charity shops to put a TOLO on every high street.

Pop icon Boy George praised TOLO on Twitter at last year’s launch, saying, “Love this idea.”

Other celebrities championing the initiative include Rob Delaney, Gary Linekar, Emily Maitlis and the band Massive Attack, who helped set up and promote a TOLO in Bristol.

He has also received support from homeless charities Centrepoint, Shelter and Crisis and the Big Issue.

In addition to celebrity endorsements, TOLO has found a new mascot this year in the form of Farringdon Bear.

The initiative aims to work with charity shops for the homeless to have a TOLO rail on every main street

The initiative aims to work with charity shops for the homeless to have a TOLO rail on every main street
– Credit: Veronika Ward

Farringdon is a homeless stuffed koala who was found on a train at Farringdon station earlier this year by TOLO founder and journalist Stefan Simanowitz.

The search for the bear’s owner has gone viral.

TOLO rails, found across the UK and even the US and Canada, enable communities to provide warm clothing to people in need.

Founder Stefan said: “We have approached the heads of the main UK charity shops with a simple proposal – that they put a rail of warm clothes for the homeless outside their shops this winter.

“With freezing temperatures, this simple idea that can be replicated on any street in the world.”

TOLO Founder and Journalist Stefan Simanowitz

TOLO Founder and Journalist Stefan Simanowitz
– Credit: Veronika Ward

Starting with just one rail, year two saw a dozen and year three over 20 rails.

Last winter more than 30 rails were put in place and this winter the organizers hope to see even more.

Stefan says TOLO is not a charity or organization.

“It’s an idea. An idea that we hope will be taken up by homeless charity shops across the country ensuring that we have a TOLO rail on every main street.”

To find your local TOLO rail and to learn more about setting up a rail, visit takeoneleaveone.org

Elizabeth J. Harless