A grassroots organisation in West Yorkshire is recycling out-grown school uniforms, providing struggling families with items for free.
Families who have children in primary and secondary schools in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, are encouraged to donate ‘pre-loved’ school uniform to the project. Uniform Exchange then provides good school uniforms free to families who find themselves in financial need.
By helping families who are facing financial hardship, it allows children to be ready for school. Founder and project manager Kate France said the scheme also helps to reduce social isolation, enabling children to reach their full potential.
“By encouraging our community to recycle school uniform we have been able to help families send their children to school in proper uniform reducing the risk of bullying, building self-esteem and allowing the child to be proud of who they are and the school they go to,” she said.
5,000 items of good uniform have already been recycled.
Already, more than five tonnes of clothing has been prevented from going into landfill. Some 400 families have been provided with free school uniform and more than 5,000 items of good uniform have been recycled.
All the useable uniform collected gets recycled back into our local community while any unusable pieces are also put to good use. Rags get recycled through Oxfam, with Uniform Exchange currently delivering 150kg to the charity every fortnight.
As well as primary and secondary uniform items, shoes, coats, trainers, football boots, bags and socks are also included, with donations being dropped off via children’s centres and recycling bin drop-off points.
Families wishing to request a uniform simply fill in a form that can be downloaded at www.uniform-exchange.org
Kate said the scheme would not be possible without the support of partners – from businesses and schools to children’s centres – and has received several grants to support Uniform Exchange. She also said the feedback she receives from those who have been helped makes the hard work worthwhile. Last week, she was given a note which read:
“I just wanted to pass on a big thank you from the family, I took the school uniforms round today and they are very grateful. The boys and mum are really thrilled with what you have supplied, brilliant service.”