On Sunday, 26 May 2019, The Clothing Bank (TCB), an acclaimed social entrepreneurship programme, suffered a huge loss when a devastating fire broke out during the early hours of the morning at their Cape Town branch in Thornton.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries, however the fully-stocked warehouse and admin offices were completely destroyed in the inferno. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire.

Founded in 2010, TCB provides opportunities for unemployed mothers to learn skills required to become entrepreneurs. They do this by helping them set up their own trading businesses using clothing donated by South African retailers. The programme currently supports 760 mothers across its five branches in Cape Town, Paarl, East London, Durban, and Johannesburg.

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With over 400 women traders depending on the Cape Town branch for their livelihoods, TCB is in dire need of clothing for their beneficiaries. The programme is appealing to the public to donate any good quality second-hand clothing items to build up stock.

“We are deeply saddened by the fire but we are working hard to get up and running as soon as possible to limit the impact on our traders,” says Tracey Gilmore, Chief Operating Officer of TCB.

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A new premise for the branch has been secured. The branch will be open from Monday, 3 June 2019 to receive stock. In the meantime, members of the public can drop off any donated clothing at selected Woolworths stores, including the Woolworths at Waterford, Paarl, Blue Route, Cavendish and Bayside, or at 31 Thor Circle in Thornton. An additional collection point has been set-up at Decorwoods on 42 Main Road in Bergvliet. Arrangements can also be made by TCB to collect donated items – please email [email protected] for more details.

Picture: Supplied

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