Families in inner West Leeds are being encouraged to make use of a new uniform exchange set up by local councillors Jools Heselwood and Hannah Bithell.
The councillors had started talking about how the Uniform Exchange would work before lockdown but events meant that the plan had to be adapted to ensure it met all safety measures and restrictions.
The Exchange aims to help both local families by providing school uniform for free and the environment as the donated uniform is saved from going to landfill.
School uniforms have been donated for schools in Bramley, Stanningley, Kirkstall and Armley and families are able to order the sizes they need from the website and it is then delivered by volunteers, including Councillors Heselwood and Bithell.
By the beginning of September they had fulfilled around 80 orders or 400 pieces of uniform sent to new homes.
The plan is for the Uniform Exchange to continue all year round and the Councillors are hoping that a dedicated team of volunteers will be recruited to run it.
Councillor Jools Heselwood (Labour, Bramley and Stanningley) said:
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support from the local community for the Uniform Exchange. People really seem to be coming together to help one another out and also reduce waste, helping to support the work the Council is already doing to tackle the climate emergency.
“It is a huge operation and has taken an awful lot of organising but at a time when many families are struggling I really do think that is had made a lot of difference and taken away some of the stress and pressure families are facing.”
Councillor Hannah Bithell (Labour, Kirkstall) added:
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported the Uniform Exchange either by donating or ordering uniform. We need to find more sustainable ways to live our lives and making sure good quality school uniform isn’t just thrown away is a really positive step towards that.
“The Uniform Exchange is a fantastic way of aligning sustainability and poverty alleviation with the technology we have at our disposal in 2020. The Inner West Community Committee have also organised a tiered badge programme for students that links to the uniform exchange as we work towards a more sustainable future.”
How can someone place an order?
People can place orders on the website Inner-West-Uniform-Exchange.co.uk. The website has every piece of uniform listed by size so people can just click on the item they need in the size they need and add it to their basket-at no cost.
This will then be delivered to them. Eventually people will be able to browse the stock of uniform we have and select the items they need, but for now we need to deliver this to people so everything is safe.