ABOUT US

THE PAST

I started TwoToo in November 2007 through my involvement in a Soup Run to homeless people in Birmingham City Centre. I was a part of a team that went out from St John’s Church in Harborne. I wanted to give the homeless people something extra over the Christmas period and had the idea of selling scarves to be able to raise the money to buy more scarves to give out to them. I thought that if I could manage to sell 50 scarves I could then give another 50 away, which was the approximate number of people that came for the Soup Run each night.

This is where the name TwoToo came from – You don’t just buy one scarf, you buy TWO, so a homeless person can wear one TOO. When I told our Soup Run team and other people at the church about the idea they all said how great they thought the idea was. Instead of just 50 scarves being sold we ended up selling 500 scarves in the 5 weeks up until Christmas 2007! We were therefore able to give out another 500 scarves which had been paid for by the 500 sales. These went out to people before and after Christmas at the Soup Run and also to other people in homeless hostels.

TwoTwo continued throughout 2008 and 2009 with the addition of T Shirts and Fashion Scarves as a way of people paying for fleece scarves to be given away through their purchases and the www.twotoo.co.uk website was developed.

TwoToo has been featured in the media, including Heart FM radio and the Birmingham Evening Mail. It has also featured on the Greenbelt Festival ‘Christmas Present’ website page.

When I moved home from Birmingham to Poole in 2010 new local recipients for TwoToos were found, including Routes to Roots in Poole, Michael House and BCHA (including The St Paul's Night Shelter) in Bournemouth.

I am very aware that, on its own, giving away scarves isn't going to cure homelessness. However it does create awareness of the situation and shows those receiving scarves that there are people who care about them.

The TwoTwo label is the opposite of most designer labels. Instead of implying exclusivity and superiority it expresses support and identification with those in need - a touch or equality in an unequal world.

The scarves are great presents and help somebody stay a little warmer during the winter. On the very first night we handed scarves out temperatures were sub-zero and many of the people were going to be sleeping out in the freezing cold that night. There will be many more occasions like that.

 

 

THE FUTURE

We intend to continue and develop TwoToo further not only with an expanded range but also in the way we support homeless people. The initial idea of TwoToo worked very well for a small number of recipients. Now we are selling a lot more than 50 scarves we need to look at other possibilities as, fortunately, it’s difficult to find that many people who are actually sleeping rough. With the current economic downturn this however may well increase.

We will continue to give out scarves to homeless people but we will also begin to use some of the money raised by the sale of scarves as financial gifts to Homeless projects similar to those mentioned above.

We would also like to develop this website as a reference point for people who would like to be involved in homeless projects and we would like to develop a database of Soup Runs and related contact details. So, if you want to let people know about your project and for volunteers to contact you, just email us your details and we’ll add them to the database.

Also, if you would like to be able to give out scarves to the homeless people you are working with, please email us to find out how you can sell TwoToos locally to be able to achieve this.

Any feedback and/or photos of you wearing your TwoToo are very welcome. We’ll aim to feature as many as we can!

Steve Bamford