Clothing Bank wins top award

Co-founders of the Clothing Bank, Tracey Chambers and Tracey Gilmore with Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde.

The Clothing Bank, in Thornton, won the top award at the Western Cape Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards ceremony (PERA), at the Century City Convention Centre on Monday November 20.

Clothing Bank co-founder, Tracey Gilmore, said they had hoped to win in the social-business category and were delighted and surprised that they had won the overall award for 2017.

“We did not expect that a socially focused organisation would win. Recognising a social enterprise will hopefully inspire others,” she said.

Since its inception in 2010, the Clothing Bank has helped more than 2 000 women, mostly mothers, become self-employed.

They get training, support, mentoring and coaching to establish their own small businesses.

The Appliance Bank was started in 2015 and is aimed at men, mostly fathers, who repair damaged or broken household appliances that retailers donate to the programme.

The organisation has five branches in Cape Town, Paarl, Johannesburg, Durban and East London.

Ms Gilmore said that through her work she had seen the devastation of gender violence on families.

“We believe that we must take a disruptive approach and include men in our vision by restoring their dignity and equipping them with the tools they need to become role models and pillars of strength in their communities.”

Ms Gilmore said the businesses supported by the Clothing Bank had generated R30
million in profits this year.