Members of staff, customers and partners of housing company Thirteen have been helping families across the Tees Valley by providing children with warm coats this winter.

Thirteen’s money advice and neighbourhoods’ teams started a project in October to collect pre-owned winter coats to give to children across the region.

The call went out to the company’s 1,600 staff to donate any children’s coats that are pre-loved but in good condition, which could be passed onto people who might need a little extra help this winter.

Claire Spencer, one of Thirteen’s neighbourhood co-ordinators in Netherfields, said: “This time of year can be really expensive for a lot of people and we’re always trying to find new ways of helping our customers, so we thought that asking colleagues to donate unused coats would be useful for a lot of people.”

Over the two-month project, people searched through their cupboards and wardrobes and donated more than 400 winter coats to Thirteen’s scheme. The coats have now been given out to families at schools, youth projects and community centres across Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton.

In Middlesbrough, the Hemlington Linx Youth Work Project worked alongside Thirteen to help distribute coats to families in Netherfields, Hemlington and Coulby Newham.

Joanne Jones from Thirteen’s neighbourhoods’ team, who worked to distribute coats in the Hartlepool area, said: “Children often grow out of clothes almost before they have the chance to wear them! So, some of the coats donated have been like new and it’s been great to give them away to so many grateful people.”