Virgin Trains to upcycle uniforms to provide scarves and blankets for homeless

Scarves and blankets made from a train company’s worn-out uniforms are being donated to people living on the streets.

Garments such as coats, shirts and trousers originally worn by Virgin Trains staff have been given a new lease of life by prisoners at HMP Northumberland at its onsite textile factory.

The rail firm will distribute the upcycled items at major stations and to homeless charities.

Other items of clothing which could not be made into scarves or blankets have been used to create unbranded dog coats which will be given to pet-owning homeless people.

Some branded dog coats are being given to staff in return for a charitable donation.

The initiative follows a partnership between Virgin Trains and social enterprise Change Please Coffee, which trains people who have experienced living on the streets to become baristas.

Virgin Trains community manager Jo Buckley said: “We set ourselves the challenge to be creative and socially responsible with disposing of these old uniforms. It’s also a smart and socially responsible way to handle our waste.

“It’s so rewarding to see the re-purposed uniform benefiting those who really need a little warmth and comfort during the winter months and we’re so proud to play a small part in helping the homeless alongside our work with our partners Change Please Coffee.”

A spokesman for the firm said the project is not in response to the upcoming end of its franchise.

The uniforms were more than six years old and were not being worn.

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