It was September 2022 that the children’s clothes bank in Camborne first set up its stall at the church hall in the centre of town.

In the space of a year it has grown so big that it now takes up the entire interior St Martin and St Meriadoc’s Church itself.

The brainchild of a group of local mothers, it now attracts up to 200 people on the first Tuesday of every month.

By the time it opens at 2pm, its team of volunteers have been working for more than four hours laying out thousands of donated items on pews and trestle tables through the church.

“Some people start queuing an hour before we open,” says Lisa, one of the organisers. “They sometimes queue past the church, past Wetherspoons and as far up as the hotel.”

Falmouth Packet: The clothes bank in the churchThe clothes bank in the church (Image: Truro Diocese)

When they’d first been offered the opportunity to move the monthly event into the church, they’d thought they wouldn’t be able to fill the space.

“But it’s just grown and grown,” Lisa says.

“Every month we think it’s going to big, but then the next month beats it,” adds Hayley, who co-founded the event, and whose work was recently nominated in the BBC's Make a Difference awards.

“We have people coming from all over the place,” she says. “From Penzance to St Austell – they come from everywhere now.”

It had been the Reverend Graham Adamson who’d first suggested that they move the event into the church.

Falmouth Packet: Revd Graham Adamson_Revd Graham Adamson_ (Image: Truro Diocese)

“It’s phenomenal, isn’t it?” he says. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. People come from far and wide, from Marazion, Helston, Hayle…”

One visitor from Hayle at this month’s event was Amy.

“It’s amazing,” she says. “More than useful. It’s a lifeline, it really is. It shows the church as a warm place that welcomes people and helps them. It’s also about reusing and recycling. Everybody benefits. It's a win-win situation. Hopefully more communities will pick up on this and do it as well.”

Falmouth Packet: St Martin and St Meriadoc's ChurchSt Martin and St Meriadoc's Church (Image: Truro Diocese)

Each month the church is filled with many thousands of donated items of baby and children’s clothes and toys. Larger items, such as prams and cots, can be viewed on the project’s Facebook page and picked up directly from organisers’ homes. In just a year, the initiative has helped thousands of people.

Kattrina is one of those who have volunteered with the clothes bank since it started.

“I love it,” she says. “It’s hectic but we look forward to it every month. It’s great to hear the feedback – the difference it makes to people’s lives.”