Meet the team keeping Northampton's children warm this winter with kindly donated coats

Rachel Morgan and Natalie Jacques along with their army of volunteers are making sure children aged from three months to 16 years old are keeping warm this winter.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 11:53 am
Crystal Steel, Katy Smith and Coats for Kids co-founder Rachel Morgan pictured by Louise Smith in the depths of sorting out a mountain of kind-hearted donations.

In just over one week of their Coats for Kids campaign, founders Rachel and Natalie are swimming in hundreds of children's coats. In fact, if the coats were heaped on the floor they would probably be up to their knees in them.

The dozens of colourful coats are piled on tables at Rachel’s house in age order where they are ready to be distributed by her and Natalie to the doorsteps of disadvantaged mums, dads and guardians.

Spurred on by a story Rachel had read about freezing cold children in Grimsby, she asked St James' CE Primary School whether they knew of children in need of coats. And the reply was yes.

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The three volunteers are helping to coordinate the huge pile of coats given to them by amazing people across the county and beyond.

After looking into children living on the breadline, statistics told Rachel that one third of children are living in poverty in England, and 49 per cent of children born to a single parent family are also living in poverty.

So, with this in mind, and their heart strings tugged, the pair decided to set up Coats for Kids last Monday, and in one week their Facebook page has more than 4,400 members.

Not only has the project taken off in Northampton - but groups have now been set up countywide and countrywide with 21 coordinators spread as far afield as Rippon and Wales.

Rachel, who is the coordinator for Northampton, said she can't thank this big-hearted town enough for its continued support.

Within one week the volunteers have given out 70 coats already and have a further 50 children needed to be kept toasty on their waiting list.

She said: "To start with, within about three hours of setting the page up we got our first coat request.

“We were sobbing because we thought 'someone has asked us for help', and we could help them. That’s why we are still doing this.

"A coat is not just for school. For me it's about walking to the shops and going to play on the swings and slides. I believe a child should be playing outside and they should not be too cold to go outdoors."

The way it works is there are six Northamptonshire coordinators so far across Northampton, Daventry, Towcester, Wellingborough, Kettering and Corby. They collect the coats in their area and drop them off to Rachel.

Coats are then either picked up from Rachel's house by parents in need or they are personally dropped off to the doorsteps of parents by Rachel herself.

"It's completley community-led and it's all about parents getting involved," Rachel added. "Natalie and I are both single mums and we've both felt the pinch a few times.

"To begin with we said if we could just help about five kids then we've done a good job but the page has just gone massive.

"I would love to say thank you to every one who has got involved. Even when I've picked coats up I've been left boxes of chocolates by some people.

"I do love Northampton and thank you so much Northampton for being amazing."

People wanting to donate coats, hats, gloves and scarves should get in touch with their local coordinator and arrange a time when they can drop off the coats at their house by clicking here. Only outerwear can be donated.