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Parish 'pitstop' gives away £750K of clothing

The organisers of a parish "bring and share" scheme estimate they have given away more than £750,000 of children's clothing in three years.

The Pushchair Pitstop was set up at St Edmund's Church in Felixstowe, Suffolk, to help families in difficult times.

It was established just before the first lockdown in March 2020 to provide a support network where people could donate - and take - items.

Rev Andrew Dotchin said it was "a brilliant example of faith in action."

Families are invited to donate unwanted baby and children's clothing, as well as items such as buggies, highchairs, bottles, toys and bikes.

The pitstop scheme also acts as a community hub, with three drop-ins during the week - and a fourth at the weekend.

It is run by a team of about 27 volunteers, Rev Dotchin said.

The Parish of Felixstowe also runs a "Parish Pantry" scheme every day at St John's the Baptist Church, where families can pick up free food and produce.

"Sadly, most of the food goes in the first two hours but if someone is really struggling, we can arrange a Morrison's voucher," Rev Dotchin said.

"We have recently moved some of the Parish Pantry down here to St Edmund's Church as it complements the Pushchair Pitstop - people can take food as well as the baby equipment and clothing."

Rev Dotchin said lockdown had impacted charity shops at a time when families were in greatest need.

"People coming to see us are not obliged at all to make a donation - you don't have to bring something to take something.

"The Pushchair Pitstop is a brilliant example of faith in action.

"Our vision was to create our own church giveaway shop and since lockdown ended, the pitstop has just got busier and busier.

"I think we have given away almost £750,000 of kit over the last three years."

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