Now that you’ve ticked off the university year, completed Netflix and exhausted Joe Wicks’ workout videos, the word ‘productivity’ might start to sound rather alien. The taste of free time might be turning sour amid the lockdown blues, but now is the time to be getting involved in the things that you wished you’d had the chance to squeeze into your chaotic pre-COVID schedules. For once in the entire history of Gen Z, our busy worlds have been paused. However, it is important not to forget that social ills have not been put on hold. Amongst the swarms of COVID panic, donations to charities have been drying out. It is therefore a particularly important time to be helping those in need. So, why not take advantage of our empty calendars and get involved in charity work?
As a source of inspiration, Life&Style spoke to Made In Chelsea’s Eliza Batten on her recent charity initiative. Juggling her final-year studies at Durham University alongside upholding her prominent social media presence, Batten’s hustle epitomises that of the no-time-to-breathe student. Like many of us, she returned to her family home to isolate and has been making full use of the lockdown period to get involved in raising money for charity. The way in which she does this is highly innovative. With charity shops and clothes bins being closed, she urges all local people to donate their clothes for her to sell on Depop, a social shopping platform which allows users to sell or buy second-hand clothes. All funds made from her Depop sales go to The Trussell Trust, a charity which supports a nationwide network of food banks and provides emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and Time For Children, a charity which provides one-to-one emotional listening support for children.
The Batten family has always been involved in charity work, but saw fit to make use of the Depop platform in a time where charity shop donations are no longer possible. Batten explains, ‘I have had Depop for a couple of years and have always used it in University holidays to make a bit of money. At the start of lockdown, Mum and I did a food donation to our local food bank and I found it a really humbling experience. Later that day I cleared out my wardrobe and decided to sell it in order to raise money for our next food donation. The first week made about £100, and it has snowballed from there! I ran out of clothes from my own wardrobe pretty quickly so started asking around locals for clothes they don’t wear anymore!’
Batten has taken advantage of her following on Instagram to promote her Depop shop which has helped it become the successful weekly fundraiser that it is. She notes, ‘I don’t take that for granted! People have been so keen to donate and get involved, which has been so great. It is the clothes donations, from my local friends and strangers, that has kept it going!’ She also ensures that the entire process is COVID-proof by washing all donated clothes before sending them out. Her local food bank works like a drive-through, with someone efficiently taking all donations out of her car boot.
This charitable spirit has translated to selling around 150 items every Thursday, raising £1250 in only 2 hours from her most recent Depop drop. Despite the lengthy process of ironing, dividing the clothes into categories, modelling, shooting, uploading, mass packaging and then finally posting the items, Batten finds the project fun and rewarding, urging people to continue getting involved in creative charitable projects: ‘It has been really cool to see people getting creative in lockdown. I have seen little brands cropping up, albeit jewellery/hairbands/painting, with proceeds going to charities, or people converting their old clothes into face masks.’
The positive contributive effects of Batten’s initiative are threefold: it offers a perfect way to get a wardrobe clear-out going all whilst donating to your chosen charities. On top of this, using the Depop platform is a way of backing resale culture, so it is equally encouraging sustainable shopping. What better way to combine our passion for fashion with charitable and environmental causes?
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