Bellies boost confidence with heart-warming clothes swap initiative.

No matter your size the #GetYourBellyOut campaign would indeed encourage all of our campaign supporters to disregard the number which can be found on the inside of clothing garments and focus more on the relationship that one has with their own body/ health.

clothes swap 3 Many with Inflammatory Bowel Disease know all too well the struggles which IBD’ers face with regards to a fluctuating waistline. Some face a struggle to gain or maintain weight because of symptoms such as the loss of appetite whilst others are managing the often uninvited weight gains thanks to medication side effects such as the steroids used to aggressively treat IBD.

Those with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis can face a challenging journey with regards to maintaining a healthy waistline and as a result often struggle with body confidence. Many find themselves out of pocket or out of style when it comes to fashion but worry no more as help is at hand! For the cost of postage and packaging you can restock your wardrobe with clothes that actually fit thanks to an ingenious idea that’s sprung from within the IBD community!

Fairy godmother Brenda Meakin was inspired by fellow #GetYourBellyOut campaign supporter Sarah Young to set up what is fast becoming a well loved Bellies Clothes Swap. The aim of the Facebook group is to encourage ‘bellies’ who have outgrown their wardrobe to donate any unwanted items so that others can benefit from them.

The idea has seen campaign supporters spring cleaning their wardrobes all for a good cause. Stories are emerging of those who are wishing to ditch their oversized wardrobes in order to replace the space with clothing that actually fits their new frame. Likewise there have been stories from ‘bellies’ who have really gained confidence from being sent clothing donations of a larger size without having the added expense of buying a whole new wardrobe of clothing. Already the movement has received some very desirable clothing donations which were quickly snapped up by those who could give these pre-loved clothes a new lease of life.
clothes swap

How does it work?
Bellies who have items of clothing which they’re happy to pass on to fellow IBD’ers upload an image of the clothing item into the Bellies Clothes Swap Facebook group, listing the size of the garment and any descriptive wording that may help those perusing the goods on offer. Those wishing to bid on an item simply express their interest and the clothing items are dispatched on a first come first serve basis. The only costs involved for the recipient of the garments is to reimburse the cost of postage and packaging for the sender.

Who is it for?
Whether you’re in your teens or enjoying the later enjoyments of life you’re most welcome to partake in the bellies clothing swap. The movement is open to both men and women although currently it seems to be mostly the women who are clearing some extra space in their wardrobes.

Why is such a movement is so important?
The Bellies Clothes Swap is an important step in boosting people’s confidence and can really help make someone’s day! Mrs Meakin explains ‘I was a size 24 before I first became unwell with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and my weight dropped right down to a size 12/14 (UK clothing chart). Somewhere in the middle of my weight loss journey I had to buy a load of new clothes as I couldn’t continue wearing a size 24 now that I was a lot slimmer. After spending a fortune on clothes I lost more weight again so once more I was forced to restock my wardrobe with clothes that would fit…only my new clothing wouldn’t fit me for very long as I began to put the weight back on as my health stabilised. I’ve wasted so much money because of my continually changing waistline so when Sarah Young posted in the #GetYourBellyOut support group that she had clothing items to donate to a good home it really struck a chord and inspired me. I get such a lovely feeling when I see others happy to receive the clothing donation and it gives these items another lease of life. ‘
Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease that could benefit from being involved with such an initiative can reach the Facebook group here.

What of the future?
The movement has already seen a very kind donation of pre-loved wedding and bridesmaids outfits which quickly found a new home so I would imagine that the aim for the future is to continue drawing in quality pre-owned items which are looking to be worn once more.
When asked of her future plans Mrs Meakin said that she hoped to encourage supporters to rope in more friends, places of work and schools to participate in the clothes drive. ‘It would be wonderful if a group of friends or colleagues could band together and have a clothes swapping collection party then send their kind donations to one of the team who could distribute the clothing items to those who could greatly benefit from them.’

Want to get involved? Here’s how you could help!
Are you one of the many that have a ball gown or prom dress that is sitting up the attic gathering dust and would love to give it a new home? Any such donations would be greatly received. Here’s an example of how your kind gesture could really help:

The #GetYourBellyOut campaign hosts an annual charity evening which see over 200 campaign supporters gathered for an evening of fun, giggles and charitable fundraising with costs kept to a minimum as many supporters are too unwell to maintain regular work. Some spend months saving to cover the cost a £39 ticket in order to meet friends that they’ve spent a great deal of time chatting with online as well as a room full of fellow IBD’ers. So imagine the relief when an idea was pitched to swap pre-loved prom or ball gowns. Now not only are our campaign supporters able to make the event but they too shall have a chance to shine by giving a pre-loved gown another night to remember.
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The movement would also like to hear from you if you’re interested in donating any good quality pre-loved clothing items. Perhaps you have items of clothing in your wardrobe which still have the labels on and have no intentions of wearing the items?  If so please let us know.
If you, your friends or place of work have decided to join in with the Bellies Clothes Swap make sure that you share your photos with us!
So whatever your size be sure to get involved with such a worthy cause.

We respectfully ask any media wishing to feature the heart-warming story about the Bellies Clothes Swap initiative to contact us directly.