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Buy one, give one free

18 December 2007

by Margaret Duggan

IT WAS Steve Bamford’s idea. He is a graphic designer who attends St John’s, Harborne, and a couple of times a month goes out on his church’s soup run among the homeless in the centre of Birmingham. As the weather got colder, it occurred to him that scarves could not only be a way of offering some extra warmth to those on the streets, but could give others a chance to express their care and even identification with the homeless.

  He ordered 100 scarves with the logo “TwoToo” that he had specially designed (left). He offered two scarves for £5 — one for the purchaser to wear, and one that would be given to a homeless, needy, or elderly person. The first 50 sold so quickly that he ordered another 1000, and tells me that 400 of those have been sold already.

  “I’m very aware that giving away scarves isn’t going to cure homelessness,” he says, “but it does create awareness of the situation, and shows those receiving scarves that there are people who care about them.”

The TwoToo label is the opposite of most designer labels. Instead of implying exclusivity and superiority, it is intended to express support and identification with those in need.

Mr Bamford admits that he does not know how many of the 30 to 50 people who turn up for the soup and sandwiches may actually be sleeping on the streets, but some hot food can mean a great deal if someone is sleeping rough on a cold night.


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