Coat rack appeal is back in Chichester

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A crucial community project launched in Chichester at the weekend for its fourth consecutive year.

The coat rack appeal is an annual initiative set up to help struggling members of our community during the winter months by giving them a warm winter coat free of charge.

ks190623-6 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Members of the public donate a coat to the scheme.ks190623-6

ks190623-6 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Members of the public donate a coat to the scheme.ks190623-6

The scheme was set up four years ago by Donna Ockenden of the Four Streets Project in partnership with the Chichester Observer and Chichester City Council.

On Saturday (November 16) Four Streets Project volunteers met outside the Assembly Rooms in North Street for the coat racks official launch. Passersby donated coats and members of the community in need were able to take one.

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Donna Ockenden, founder of the Four Streets Project said: "The Four Streets Project in Chichester is now in it's fourth year and we provide a service 365 nights a year caring for the homeless and vulnerably housed that we meed on the streets in Chichester.

ks190623-5 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Founder Donna Ockenden and volunteer  and reporter Joe Stack with the coat rail, .ks190623-5

ks190623-5 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Founder Donna Ockenden and volunteer and reporter Joe Stack with the coat rail, .ks190623-5

"We started in in January 2016 informally and then it became the Four Streets Project at the beginning of 2017. Since 2017 we have never missed a night. We are genuinely a 365 night a year service.

"The community coat rack is now out for the fourth time. The messages have always remained very simple — if you have a spare coat, please leave it on the rack and if you need a coat come and take one.

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Two people who benefited from the appeal were former nurse Pat Ward and her daughter Pippa who left their home earlier this year and are currently unable to afford rent in the city.

ks190623-5 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Donna Ockenden and volunteer Joe Stack with the coat rail, .ks190623-5

ks190623-5 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Donna Ockenden and volunteer Joe Stack with the coat rail, .ks190623-5

The pair have since been staying in B and B's over the past few months and have since been using the services of Chichester's Four Streets Project.

Pat and Pippa were two people who were able to take a coat from the rack.

Pat said the coat rack is about more than just a warm coat "You've got a nice warm coat and you've got a change of clothes but it's more than that. When everyone is letting you down, it reminds you that there are people who do care and that are interested in our welfare.

"You can get so despondent because it's cold out there and why should people who are paid to look out for us not look out for us?

ks190623-1 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Donna Ockenden.ks190623-1

ks190623-1 Four Streets Coats phot kate...Donna Ockenden.ks190623-1

"This is a wonderful gesture. It's brilliant because it does remind you that there are people out there they may not be able to give us somewhere to live but they do care and they are doing as much as they can to help."

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Donna added: "We are always enormously grateful to the population of Chichester. Last year we re-homed hundreds of coats with need families.

"The coat rack is designed to ensure that no one in Chichester and around Chichester is cold through lack of a warm coat this winter as every winter."