My Week

Maria Chenoweth-Casey, chief executive of Traid

Maria Chenoweth-Casey
Maria Chenoweth-Casey

MONDAY - I finish an application to Wandsworth Borough Council to place more of our recycling banks in the area. Textile wars are the new ice cream wars, with dozens of organisations competing for unwanted garments. I'm surprised people still hang their clothes out to dry.

I also finish my monthly report and management accounts for the trustees, along with an analysis for Tesco of the recycling areas where Traid banks are sited.

TUESDAY - When I arrive at work there is a big box in my office marked "Happy 10th Anniversary". Inside, there is a huge neon yellow, grey and white cake with the Traid logo in icing. I am overwhelmed. One of our staff, Elaine Joseph, who has been working for Traid since the beginning, has made the cake to mark Traid's anniversary.

Later, my husband Seamus drops by with my son Henry-Joy, who is nearly three. A moment's distraction at my computer and Henry-Joy has opened the cake box, leaving deep finger indents all over the icing. I manage to repair the damage and send him on his way.

WEDNESDAY - I have a meeting with the Timberland Company, which makes outdoor wear and footwear, at the group's head office in Wexham, Slough. Paula Kirkwood, head of design for TraidRemade, our recycled fashion label, is navigating. We end up totally off course, heading down the M25 in the wrong direction.

Traid has been working with Timberland to get its customers to bring their unwanted clothes to its stores so we can reuse them in our shops. The money thus raised will support our project with organic clothing company Pan UK to improve the income and health of cotton farmers in Benin, west Africa, by establishing an organic farming model. Today we are hoping to persuade Timberland to use the organic cotton from Benin in its clothing range and sell TraidRemade clothing in its stores.

THURSDAY - We attend the Charity Awards 2009: we're finalists in the Animals and Environment category, but are beaten to the top prize by environmental volunteering charity BTCV. We're all aghast when Ken Livingstone introduces us to a room full of our peers as "Triad" and fluffs the scripted description of what the charity does. Leigh McAlea, our comms manager, is livid and I hide my face in disgust. I get home after midnight.

FRIDAY - We are in the throes of organising a party to celebrate the opening of our new Camden Shop - our 10th, in our 10th year. The organic prosecco has arrived, TV and radio presenter Lauren Laverne is hosting and designer Wayne Hemingway's son Jack is going to DJ. By strange coincidence, Oxfam relaunched its old Camden shop last week as 'Oxfam DIY' - which sounds like somewhere you would go to get a screwdriver...

- Traid stands for Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development

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