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Charity is helping kids feel the heat in LS12 this winter

By Amy Downes

A WEST Leeds charity is on a mission to help hundreds of local children feel warmer this winter.

It’s estimated that over 30% of children in Leeds are currently living in poverty and, with the cost-of-living crisis affecting so many, this winter is set to be a challenging time for families.

That’s why volunteers at charity LS12 School Uniform Exchange are on a mission to distribute 250 winter warmer packs to children in their area, which will include coats, boots, scarves and gloves.

Founder Debbie Binnersley.

Founder Debbie Binnersley has been spreading the word about their Winter Warmers campaign and received great feedback from parents visiting her pop-up shop at Whingate  Primary School.

“Many of the parents said what a fab idea it was,” she said. “Not only for saving money, but also from an environmental point of view as most uniform items have plenty of life left in them at the end of the school year.”

The charity was originally set up in 2020, when Debbie was having a conversation about how many uniforms must have remained unused as children had grown during lockdown without wearing them. 

Debbie added: “Within a couple of weeks, I had loads of uniform being donated. This proved to me that the scheme was very much needed.”

The scheme supports children in the whole of the LS12 area, including Armley, Farnley and Wortley, and has grown quickly over the past two years with donation points added at three local schools, supported by Councillor Mark Sewards (Lab, Farnley & Wortley).

“I’ve been speaking with many people who want to help the scheme reach more people and help more families,” Debbie continues. “During one of the conversations, a comment was made about a family who had required help from one of the local foodbanks after being forced to choose between buying uniforms or food for her children.

“We may be over the Covid pandemic, but the cost of living is increasing which means more and more people are going to struggle over the coming months. The aim of the scheme is to help make a difference to as many families as possible by providing them with good quality uniforms and warm clothes.”

Here’s how you can support it:

  • The project needs coats, hats, gloves, scarves and wellies.
  • Hold a collection at school, work or in the community. 
  • Laundry Angels to clean and iron the uniform when it’s donated. 
  • Amazon wishlist.
  • Space to use and sort donations.

Debbie and her team will then ensure all clothes are passed on to children in the area who will benefit over the coming colder months.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, Debbie encourages you to contact them via the form on their website: “The service is totally confidential, so please don’t struggle in silence.”

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  1. Marvellous idea, as a retired teacher I really welcome this initiative. Even in more affluent times, I feel its so good to recycle unused and outgrown clothing Children grow so fast, it must be a real burden on parents. I also think it’s a very good educational opportunity to which youngsters will respond. I always found youngsters very willing to help any less fortunate than themselves. It encourages a sense of responsibility , useful in their future lives. Well done to the organisers!


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