Donate a coat at La Tour Cycle Café for Ipswich’s cold and vulnerable
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A café has installed a give-and-take coat rack to help keep vulnerable and homeless people in Ipswich warm this winter.
Members of the public are encouraged to leave their unwanted jackets on the tree placed outside La Tour Cycle Café, in Tower Street, for those who cannot afford one of their own.
Business owner Anna Matthews said: “I think this year we have more and more people in dire need, their situations are bleak.
“We have lots of people who are homeless in Ipswich and they need a constant supply of clean and dry stuff, that’s the reality.
“Coats are really expensive, and if your coat gets damp or breaks it’s really good to be able to just take a coat without any monetary need.”
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Since opening in summer 2015, La Tour has developed into a community hub that opens its doors to typically marginalised members of society, including refugees and homeless people.
It operates a ‘pay it forward’ system that allows people to give extra cash so rough sleepers can pick up a hot drink or food without payment; and customer Jan Cawston has knitted and donated a basket full of hats and gloves for people who are out in the cold.
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The coat rack was built by Ipswich man David Sawyer, whose sister works at La Tour.
He said: “There are lots of people on the streets, not only in Ipswich but around England, and they do need our help.
“The services are over-stretched and they could use whatever help they can get.”
Mr Sawyer is a volunteer for environmental charity Green Light Trust, which is how he developed his woodwork skills.
Reflecting on the kindness of her customers, who have helped her transform La Tour into a safe haven for all, Mrs Matthews said: “Ipswich should be really proud because we have a great community.”
Mrs Matthews also praised the work of the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter, which offers rough sleepers a bed in seven host churches across the town for the three coldest months of the year.
Supporters are also able to donate to the cafe’s pay it forward scheme online on Just Giving.