Nicole Roberts has seen first hand how a new outfit can change someone's life.
As Cafs program and volunteer lead she oversees Thread Together, a store that provides new, brand-label clothes at no cost to people in need.
Since opening in Ballarat in July, Thread Together has provided 2000 items of clothing to around 200 children, teens and adults.
Among them are women and children fleeing domestic violence, children and adolescents in foster care, people with court dates, teens with nothing to wear to a school formal, and young people needing smart clothes for job interviews.
From the outside it seems like it's just about clothes, but Ms Roberts said the clothes could bring about much bigger changes in the lives of people who are struggling.
"Everybody should have choice and dignity and be proud of what they are wearing," she said.
"We have teens walk in the door, head down, with dirty clothing and zero confidence then they check themselves out in the mirror with new clothes and a big grin," she said.
"Just to see the difference it makes for a child to go to school, to a placement or wherever wearing new clothing - it's not hand-me-down or op shop, they've walked in and chosen it themselves and when they walk out they are so excited.
We have teens walk in the door, head down, with dirty clothing and zero confidence then they check themselves out in the mirror with new clothes and a big grinNicole Roberts
"You realise a child or young person won't participate in social activities because they don't have clothes to wear, that make them feel like they fit in, so letting them choose their own clothes is a boost to their self confidence, esteem and mental health."
In one case a teenager was referred to Thread Together because he had an interview for a job placement, but no appropriate clothes to wear to meet a potential new employer.
"He had no permanent home, didn't have anything he could wear to meet his employer to try to gain a placement so we decked him out in new clothes, he went to the interview, got the placement and is going to be working in hospitality.
"It's situations like this where the clothes give them the confidence to actually turn up - otherwise they may not turn up to the interview, or not turn up to the job if they've got no clean clothes."
Ms Roberts said the shop aimed to help the customers referred to it to forget that they are in the system, or in need, and allow them to have "a normal retail shopping experience where you pick out what you want and say no to what you don't want".
Cafs was the first in Victoria to partner with Thread Together to create a local clothing hub. The concept was created by a fashion industry insider who saw how much excess clothing from the industry was going to landfill. Logistics companies donate transport to dispense the clothes to the Thread Together hubs around Australia.
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Customers must be referred to Thread Together, but Ms Roberts stressed it does not have to be through Cafs but referrals can come from other welfare groups, schools, sporting clubs and more.
"We give it away to anyone in need through a referral system. If someone is vulnerable in the community, speak to a service, school or sporting club and they can do a referral ... or give Cafs a call and we can link to Thread Together and other services so they don't miss out on other things they may also need."
Ms Roberts said they had also had referrals from financial counselling services, gamblers help, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services where parents were trying to get their lives back on track and having new clothes for their children would take pressure off.
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