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T-shirts and chats help UK homeless

Up to 40,000 homeless people have been helped by kind-hearted t-shirt buyers across the UK.

Outsidein’s (Oi) “wear one, share one” clothing firm has given away around 40,000 beanies or blankets to its customers to hand out to local homeless people.

Customers buy a t-shirt, sweater or hat and then are given a beanie or blanket to gift to someone who is homeless. The founders claim this not only gives homeless people something practical, but also means someone talks to them in a positive way when they hand over the gift.

Ross from Northern Ireland, who became homeless after his marriage broke down, is one of the thousands to benefit so far:

People come with preconceived notions of what I’m really like – that homeless people are bad, and to avoid us at all costs.

But we’re not all drug addicts or alcoholics or thieves, we’re not bad men. We’re just people who are down on our luck, struggling at night.

It means so much to me when people don’t see me as an animal or scum on the street – I’m none of those things. I’m just down on my luck.

David Johnston from Oi, which is exhibiting at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Edinburgh, said:

What drives the “wear one, share one” concept is that behind every person is a unique story, which deserves to be heard.

Although our products provide practical help for the homeless, we believe people’s time and words of hope are key to seeing homelessness combatted.

Through giving apparel, speaking words of hope, and helping society to understand these irreplaceable humans through the sharing of stories, we seek to put an end to homelessness for good.

Oi’s clothing is for sale online at

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise campaigns.

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