Words: JILL STOCKS
Organisers of the Inner West School Uniform Exchange say they have received an “amazing response”.
Set up in August last year, the exchange has since received and fulfilled over 150 orders and distributed over 1,000 items of uniform, all for free.
Councillors Hannah Bithell (Kirkstall) and Jools Heselwood (Bramley & Stanningley) said a lot of people had helped them to establish the service and make it a sustainable resource for the community.
Volunteers helped them with the initial set up and processed the many donations from local people and the waste team distributed uniform donation bins to schools.
There are still “mountains of stock” to sort and put on the website and volunteers are still sought to help with this – but donations of uniform are always welcome, either at Bramley Community Centre or using the donation bins in schools.
All of the uniform offered is of good quality and any dirty or damaged items are taken to charity clothing bins or clothes recycling bins so that none goes into landfill.
Given the current situation the service is being run online at present, though hopefully customers will be able to visit to browse and try on items as restrictions are eased. At the present time delivery of items is contactless and any uniform items should be cleaned prior to donation.
As well as helping local families save money on school uniform the project is a great way to make use of uniform that children quickly grow out of and helps to tackle textile waste in a targeted way.
Councillor Bithell said:
“We know that the Covid pandemic has had a massive financial impact on many of our families that were already struggling because of years of austerity. School uniform is a difficult expense and it is great that we can provide uniform in our communities.
“I am also incredibly proud that we are working to encourage everyone to use the uniform exchange so that we can make a massive impact on the waste that is generated by school uniform being bought fresh for children.
“Often, and especially this year, we have got the uniform being grown out of way before it is worn out and this means that it is wasted. It can now be donated and reused meaning less ends up in landfill.”
If you would like to read more about what is available at the Uniform Exchange and order any items, visit the website.
If you would like to find out more about donating any items or volunteering for the exchange email Hannah.Bithell@leeds.gov.uk.