Christmas jumper swap launched in Beccles in fight against fast fashion

Caroline Topping, centre, Beccles Community Hub chairman and district councillor, who has launched a

Caroline Topping, centre, Beccles Community Hub chairman and district councillor, who has launched a Christmas jumper swap at the Hub, with volunteers, Charlie Nevitt, and Melanie Goodwin. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The fight against fast fashion in Beccles has offered local families a festive lifeline this winter.

With less than a month to go and school and work parties nearing, Beccles Community Hub, have launched their Christmas jumper swap in a bid to save vital pennies in the run-up to the bid day.

The hub was set up earlier this year on Blyburgate by East Suffolk and Suffolk County Councillor Caroline Topping.

Caroline Topping, right, Beccles Community Hub chairman and district councillor, who has launched a

Caroline Topping, right, Beccles Community Hub chairman and district councillor, who has launched a Christmas jumper swap at the Hub, with volunteers, Charlie Nevitt, and Melanie Goodwin. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

She said: "I don't like fast fashion. There's a big carbon footprint used in ordering and making a lot of clothes that aren't even purchased, which then goes into landfills or incineration. 

"All that for something which never gets worn.

"The rest are purchased at great expense and worn once or twice and never again because people don't like to be seen in the same jumper.

"I'm hoping to stop people buying Christmas jumpers for the sake of it. 

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"People can come and swap their clean, pre-loved, nearly new jumpers with another clean, pre-loved, nearly new one so they can still get a new jumper without costing them a penny."

The hub began accepting donations last week in a bid to build up a stock of jumpers in a range of sizes, with visitors able to swap from next week.

While the swap is free, donations can be made to support local families in need this Christmas.

Mrs Topping said: "I want to embrace the concept in a way that can help local people.

"It is free, but if people would like to donate, they can and that money will be given to families in our area who might not get a Christmas this year.

"Already we have had a mother say she can't afford jumpers for her children's school Christmas jumper day, so we were able to let her borrow some to help her out."

During the first lockdown, Mrs Topping was one of the members who set up the Covid Recovery Response, which involved shopping for people in isolation, collecting prescriptions and a befriending service.

The community hub is a continuation of this previous volunteer led service as Beccles used to be the only town in the area without a volunteer-led centre.

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