‘Take one, leave one’ – a lovely initiative spreads beyond London

Photo from TOLO Vauxhall’s Twitter feed

“If you’re cold, take one. If you can help, leave one”

TakeOneLeaveOne (TOLO), helping homeless people and those need to keep warm in winter, marks its fourth anniversary with launches in London, Leeds, Manchester & Brighton & a plan to put warm clothes on every high street

Over the past 4 years, TOLO rails have been set up by individuals. But what if charity shops were to put a rail of free warm clothes for homeless people & those in need outside their shops each winter?

“It’s great something so simple can have such a great impact on the lives of so many people”

We’ve approached the main homeless charities with a simple proposal – that they put a rail of warm clothes for homeless people & a #TakeOneLeaveOne sign outside their charity shops this winter

This simple idea can be replicated on any street in the world

To set up a #TakeOneLeaveOne rail where you are:

  • 1. Get a rail
  • 2. Find good location (ideally covered)
  • 3. Get👍from locals
  • 4. Make/order a sign (or order one from print@adelphigrahics.com for £30)
  • 5. Set up Social Media accounts #TOLO+city
  • 6. Tell us & we’ll help tell world

It began in 2018 as the “Beast from the East” sent temperatures plummeting

We put a clothes rail outside a church with a #TakeOneLeaveOne sign

What happened next was miraculous

The rail filled with warm clothes which were taken & replenished each day.

We had originally agreed to stay outside the church for two weeks…but we ended up staying everyday for three months

And we came back the next year & the next & the next

Meanwhile TakeOneLeaveOne rails started popping up around the country as the idea spread

The TOLO rails not only ensured that homeless people and rough sleepers had warm clothes.

They also began to help break down the barriers that too often make homeless people and rough sleepers feel invisible in the communities in which they live.

Over the last four years, almost 100 TOLO rails have sprouted across the UK & beyond.

If there isn’t a rail near you yet, why not set one up?

“I could offer you a warm embrace, to make you feel my love.”

The idea behind TakeOneLeaveOne isn’t a new one

It’s as old as time.

The idea of caring for other.

The idea that if you have two coats and someone beside you has none, you give them a coat.

When TOLO began, the aim was to offer free warm clothing to homeless people and rough sleepers, but it expanded to offer clothes to anyone in need.

Anyone can help themselves, no questions asked.

Just a reminder: in 2020, nearly 700 homeless people died in the UK.

“The idea is unbelievably great”
says Victor from TOLO Thorton Heath

#TakeOneLeaveOne isn’t a charity or an organisation.

It’s an idea.

A ‘sticky idea’ that allows anyone to help people in need…right away.

“I love this idea” @BoyGeorge tweeted in 2020.

Whilst #TakeOneLeaveOne rails offer some respite, the fact that they are needed in one of the richest economies in the world is an obscenity and an abject failure of government.

Ending homelessness isn’t some Utopian ideal.

All that is needed is the will to act.

“This is a wonderful initiative which puts the government to shame”

Baroness Jenny Jones joins campaigners and celebrities to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the TOLO initiative for homeless people & those in need.

The event is hosted by @ToloVauxhall, here for one year!

“Today TakeOneLeaveOne have just made a major new announcement. They have approached the heads of several major charities to see if they would be willing to put a rail of free warm clothes outside their charity shops”

Jenny Jones on the plan to bring TOLO to every high street.

Around 283,000 households across England & Wales approached their local councils for help avoiding or getting out of homelessness between 2020 and 2021, with fears the number could be higher this year as costs of living spiral

“The beauty of this idea is its simplicity”

I talked to Alistair Stewart about our plan to put a TakeOneLeaveOne rail on every high street in the UK

Originally tweeted by Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) on 26/01/2022.