Belfast Telegraph

How David has designs on helping homeless with new fashion range

By Gerald Lennon

A Co Antrim man is hoping his new fashion range can make a real difference to the lives of homeless people.

David Johnston's brand OutsideIn has unveiled a new range of 37 different summer items, including baseball caps, sweatshirts and T-shirts.

With every purchase the buyer receives a free product, such as a hat or a blanket, for a homeless person.

The 26-year-old from Cullybackey hopes to change perceptions of homelessness, while also helping those who find themselves living on the streets. He explained: "The products we sell are beneficial, practical and will help homeless people.

"They won't end homelessness, but they're a great tool to connect you with someone living in the street.

"We want you to believe the person on the street is equal to you."

The products are certified through Fair Wear Foundation and are ethically sourced. They also utilise local screen printers, seamstresses and embroiderers.

David studied at Stirling University and decided to create his own company once he moved back to Northern Ireland.

He said: "We now have an influx of opportunities and networking possibilities for people who are homeless.

"I realised it's not about the money, it's about the time and the words that we get to speak with them.

"At the moment it's only myself and one other person who work at OutsideIn full-time, and that's where the Welcome Organisation will help."

The Welcome Organisation delivers support services to homeless people, and its new social enterprise, Welcome Home, will be sponsored by OutsideIn using the funds generated through the sale of their merchandise.

Welcome Home is aimed at providing a range of opportunities which support employability for The Welcome Organisation's clients and volunteers.

The organisation's CEO, Sandra Moore, commented: "It will utilise and build upon the many creative skills our clients have. Working with OutsideIn to brand their unique products will allow us to offer employment and learning in stitching and screen printing initially, and will help people move out of the 'benefits' trap."

Sandra added: "Collectively we can make change happen, even if it is one sweatshirt, T-shirt or cap at a time.

Belfast Telegraph

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