The All-in-One Company – which helped make the onesie a must have fashion item – is helping rough sleepers in Newcastle keep warm.
It has supplied a first batch of specially-made blankets to the Making Winter Warmer charity, whose volunteers provide food and clothing for the growing number of people who live on the city’s streets.
David Hall, who helps run the charity, said it sees between 85 and 100 people every Friday night.
“It’s getting worse,” he said. “The biggest growth area is people with mental health issues who just come because they have nowhere else to go, and that’s the big, big problem at the moment.”
Despite its name, Making Winter Warmer operates 52 weeks a year and is one of a number of organisations helping the city’s rough sleepers.
Although full of praise for the work of the police and Newcastle City Council, David said charities have had to step in because of cutbacks: “The government cut the council’s money, who have to make sacrifices somewhere down the line, and there’s not what there was. We fill a little bit of that gap.”
The All-in-One Company has handmade tens of thousands of onesies for customers in 200 countries since it was launched in Ashington 10 years ago.
“We also do as much as we can to help people,” said its founder Kate Dawson. That includes sending onesies to the growing number of Baby Banks – which provide clothing for hard up families – and a women’s refuge. It has also worked closely with the National Autistic Society to design a sensory onesie for those who are sensitive to seams on clothes. Money from the sale of sensory onesies goes to the charity.
The All-in-One’s first supply of blankets will be handed out from the charity’s Friday night base in Blackett Street alongside clothes, toiletries and food provided by Greggs, Pret a Manger, Dunston-based New York Deli and Hutchinson Catering at International Paints.
“It’s very sad that in 2019 charities like Making Winter Warmer have to step in – but thank goodness they do,” said Kate.
Blankets are needed throughout the year, said David, as rough sleepers have no means of drying them when they get wet.
“We’re so grateful to Kate and The All-in-One Company and all the other people who help,” he said. “It’s a shame we have to do what we do but unfortunately people depend on us.
If we help one person it’s worth doing. It’s as simple as that.”
Making Winter Warmer was set up in 2013. It has 12,500 followers on Facebook. The charity has 12 volunteers including a GP and an employee from a specialist supported housing service.
As well as continuing to provide blankets for Making Winter Warmer, The All-in-One Company is keen to hear from other charities who it might be able to help. E-mail email@example.com or ring 01670 522478.