PEOPLE across Somerset are answering the call to donate unwanted coats to keep others who are less fortunate warm this winter.

Customers visiting Somerset libraries can expect an even warmer welcome thanks to the Donate a Coat initiative being launched in some branches in the county.

The scheme encourages people to give a warm, winter coat they no longer need to help others less fortunate. Both adult and children’s sizes are welcome.

The coats are made available to anyone who may be struggling to make ends meet in the cost-of-living crisis.

People can simply pick one up at one of the libraries taking part - at the moment these are Taunton, Yeovil, Chard, Bridgwater, Ilminster and Dulverton, with more are expected to join in.

So far around 300 coats have been donated, with more than 100 already handed out.

The libraries are happy to accept donations and have been overwhelmed by the response so far.

Customers who have donated their coats are delighted to do so and feel they are making a difference in their local community.

A dad who donated children’s coats said he would hate to think of other children being cold on their walk to school and that his daughter had wanted to help.

In Taunton, 112 coats have been donated and 77 have found homes. There is a need for more good quality children’s and men’s larger size coats.

In Bridgwater, a week after donations started last Tuesday (January 16), 112 coats have been donated as well as a few hats and one coat rack. Almost all the children’s coats have already found new homes.

Over in Chard, of the 74 coats donated, 25 coats, as well as gloves, scarves and hats, have been distributed to the local community.

The scheme has been operating over the county border in Devon and was spotted by Somerset Council Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, lead member for communities, housing and culture, who encouraged Somerset to follow suit.

She said: “Winter can be challenging for many, especially those who can’t afford to stay warm.

"Libraries become so much more than places for reading and studying, they become warm, welcoming, social spaces – real community hubs.”

Donated coats for children or adults need to be clean and in good condition and can be dropped off at Somerset libraries.