KIND-HEARTED Colcestrians are giving their coats to the needy thanks to an innovative new scheme.

Friend Fay Sibley, Jo Bailey and Chris Dilley have set up a coat rack outside Colchester Library in Trinity Square.

People are free to pick up a coat, while others leave the ones they no longer need. It was set up with just ten coats, but in the days since there have been as many as 40.

Fay, of Colchester, said: “I actually can’t take any credit for the idea. It was something I saw on Facebook and I thought ‘It’s absolutely brilliant, let’s do it here’.”

Fay contacted her friend Jo who donated some coats and just days later the exchange was set up with the help of their friend Chris.

Fay said: People have been incredible. It’s not only coats they have donated but clothes horses and racks to put them on.

“We went down the other night and a couple of people took some coats and told us they were sleeping in tents.

“They wanted to express their gratitude to the people who had left them. It makes you realise the value in what you’re doing.

“It’s a very simple idea of having a coat you no longer need then there is someone else out there who perhaps does need it.

“We have all got coats in our cupboard we have had for ten years. They can go to someone who needs them.”

The exchange has been set up at the right time with temperatures set to plummet to -1C this weekend and snow forecast.

GO4 Cafe, in nearby Holy Trinity Church, has been taking the coats in each night to stop them getting wet.

Jo’s daughter Olive, three, is the scheme’s biggest fan and helps her mum set the exchange up some days.

Fay added: “We all feel so proud to be a part of it.”