Daventry store spreads goodwill thanks to coat borrowing clothes rail

The coat rail outside Sheaf Street Health Store
The coat rail outside Sheaf Street Health Store

A health shop in Daventry has installed a clothes rail with coats available for borrowing and lending to those who need them in cold weather.

The rail sits outside the Sheaf Street Health Store and was inspired by an image which went viral in the United States at the start of the year.

The photo was shared on the Daventry Express Facebook page and was spotted by Dean Ronnie, who approached the store’s owner Shaun Higgs.

Mr Higgs, from Welton, said: “Dean, who does a lot of work with homeless people and charities, contacted me and asked if we would like to do something together.

“Dean got hold of the rail for us and we did all the signage. We went around the charity shops and bought a few coats to start it off, and it’s gone on from there.”

The scheme has been popular particularly after the recent spate of cold weather which hit the county this month.

Mr Higgs, who opened the store in September 2016, said passers-by expressing their support for the initiative in the form of a thumbs up aimed at him through the window.

He said: “It has attracted a lot of attention, even from people just walking past.

“It is something for the community.

“We pride ourselves on helping the community and being a hub, so it was a little thing we thought that we could do.”

Mr Ronnie, from Daventry, said he was happy to see that the coat rail had been a popular addition to the town.

He said: “There was quite a bit of negativity in the comments on Facebook and I asked on there whether any businesses would be interested in putting this outside their premises, and that I would be happy co-ordinating this.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea and thought that it would work in Daventry. I didn’t get much response from that until I posted something similar on my page.

“Within a few minutes a friend of mine suggested I get in touch with Shaun, and it went from there.”

Mr Ronnie, who volunteers for the homeless charity Crisis, is hoping that the initiative will spread further after its success locally.

He said: “I am thinking of doing it in other locations.

“I’ve already spoken to a friend of mine in Kettering, who has set one up there off the back of this.

“I think it would be a good idea to set more up and I plan to speak to businessess in Northampton.”