What do you get if you combine a very simple idea, a lot of good will and a few coat hooks? A Kindness Wall.
Cestrians have been donating items in their droves to bring a smile to people who need it most via the Kindness Wall at Share Shop on Northgate Street.
People are invited to hang up clothes or bags of sweets – complete with a message for the recipient – for those living rough or who find themselves in dire financial straits to help themselves to.
Not content with coordinating collections for refugees or pioneering a scheme to raise money to buy and refurbish derelict houses for homeless people, the founders of charity Share are now hoping to create a network of Kindness Walls across the UK.
Share co-founder Adam Dandy told The Chronicle that the idea was born after learning that such walls existed in Iran.
“We saw that and I thought it would be an amazing idea for the front of Share Shop,” he said.
“Everybody thought I was a bit mad but I bought some coat hooks and put them up.
“Within days, people were hanging things up with bags of sweets and Quality Street and attaching notes.
“We thought it was unbelievable.
“We now have a room full of stuff and we make sure the wall is topped up every night.
“A lot of the stuff is gone the next day and the way we know it’s working is because there are old, thin, ripped jackets and clothes in place of the thick coats that people have left there.
“We invite anyone who lives in the city to help us keep the wall full day or night with kind gifts for those in need.”
Adam explained that a lot of the messages are to let those in need know somebody is thinking of them and some have been left by parents of children who have donated their pocket money.
The Share team is urging churches – as well as schools, shops and cafés – to follow their example by creating their own using lost property items which remain uncollected after a set period of time.
Adam said Chester, Salisbury and Liverpool Anglican Cathedrals are considering it, while Kindess Walls are already being constructed in Leeds and Sheffield.
“We would love people just to rock up anytime and hang stuff up, particularly coats with hoods, gloves, scarves and hats – all with a message of kindness attached,” Adam added.
For more information about the project, follow @KindnessWalls on Twitter.