A CLOTHES bank providing emergency garments and linen to people in need is in danger of closing its doors.
Organisers of IMCALM and CLOTHED social enterprise in Shotton, which is also a drop-off point for donations for Flintshire Foodbank, said they may have to shut up shop because of access difficulties which have led to a drop in donations.
The outlet, which has been at its Chester Road West premises for seven years, provides heavily subsidised clothing to people on low incomes or on benefits.
It is also makes emergency packs of basic items such as bedding, curtains, towels and clothing available to support organisations like Women’s Aid, the Drugs Intervention Programme and social services.
But the volunteers who run the enterprise claim footfall has decreased dramatically because of new parking restrictions, high business rates and roadworks.
Other problems include the emergence of cash for clothes outlets and the removal of several clothing banks from sites around Flintshire because of a local authority contract award.
Director Carolyn Jones said they were now unable to use 10 of their 24 clothing banks so were more reliant on people bringing donations to the Shotton store.
But new parking enforcement have meant people being hit with parking tickets.
“They come in to tell us they’ve got things to donate and go back to their car and they’ve got a ticket for £70 so they’ve stopped coming,” she said.
Recent roadworks have made matters worse. The work, which the council hope will lead to reduced congestion, began at the end of January and are scheduled to go on 16 weeks.
“It’s already had a massive effect,” Carolyn said. “We get great support but people don’t want to come to Shotton because it’s a nightmare to get here.”
“But we need to have an income and it’s just not working for us,” she added.
Co-director Sarah Jane Law said while there had been a fall in donations and sales, there had been a ‘massive increase’ in the number of requests for emergency assistance.
“No other organisation in Flintshire provides this service free of charge to people in need,” she said.
“We’re discussing with our partners and Flintshire Council how best to continue in some shape or form. In the present economic climate there’s a need for the service and we intend to continue for as long as possible.”
A Flintshire Council spokesman said there were no new parking restrictions in operation but that the council had taken over responsibility for civil parking enforcement last October and was “undertaking its duties”.
He added: “The proprietors of the organisation have been provided with detailed responses to the issues they have raised with the council about business rates.
“A contract for the maintenance and collection of material from the council’s textile banks was awarded during 2013 and all local organisations were given the opportunity to tender for the work.”