Jeremy Corbyn speaks at launch of clothing poverty campaign

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP has spoken at the launch of a new campaign to expose clothing poverty during the current cost of living crisis, and ensure adequate clothing for all.  

The Right to Clothing Campaign is a new initiative by Sharewear UK, Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project and Dr Luke D. Graham at The University of Manchester. 

It hopes to raise awareness of clothing deprivation, provide clothing directly to people on the ground through Community Sharewear franchises, bring about a change in the law which better protects the right to clothing, and thus ensure that charity is not required for any individual to access adequate clothing. 

Sharewear UK, a clothing charity based in Nottingham, has been providing clothing to those who are unable to afford them, including vulnerable families and individuals, refugees and those with no recourse to public funds and from its centre in the city since 2014. 

Over the last year, they have partnered with the Peace and Justice Project to set up Community Sharewares – hubs in other cities run by volunteers where people can access clothing free of charge, starting later this year including in Manchester. 

Manchester is an apt location for the launch as the city was a centre for the textile industry, and Lincoln thanked the stance that workers in the city took maintaining an anti-slavery cotton embargo during the American Civil War, which Mr. Corbyn will make reference to at the event.

A truckload of clothes is burned or dumped in the UK every second, and the campaign’s first action will be to urge activists to write to clothing brands and retailers asking what they currently do with their returns and end of line stock, before actions further in the year around lobbying MPs to support the Right to Clothing.

The campaign is also building a Right to Clothing Network comprising of foodbanks, charities, trade union branches, campaigns and organisations working in the field of clothing depravation The campaign will also look at two important strands related to the right to clothing: sustainability in fashion and garment-workers rights and is inviting groups working in this field to join their network.

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