Scheme launched to provide free school uniforms for hard-up Doncaster families

Hard-up parents are being offered free school uniforms under a scheme due to launch at a Doncaster food bank.

By David Kessen
Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 12:30 pm

Uniforms will be handed out to families who are referred to the project by organisations including the Citizens Advice Bureau, St Leger Homes, and Doncaster Council departments.

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The scheme has been set up by mum Bev Chapman after she decided it was needed while out shopping for her own youngster’s uniform.

Bev and volunteers with some of the donated school uniforms

She said: “I overheard a few mums complaining about the cost of the uniform. It got me thinking about all the uniforms out there that had been outgrown, this year especially with the pandemic cutting the school year down so early, lots of uniforms still in excellent condition going to waste.

"So I put out a post on Facebook appealing for outgrown uniform and we have set up at Mexborough Food Bank to help out local families who are struggling to fund the full cost of their children's uniform.

“We have had a great response, with uniforms being donated from a range of different schools across the area, I was really touched by one unknown gentleman who has donated a bag full of brand new uniform which he bought to donate.”

Anyone wanting to donate items of uniform can drop them off at Just Cutz hairdressers on Mexborough High Street or the Willows Community Centre on Wath Road on a Friday morning.

Earlier this year, Citizens Advice Doncaster Borough raised concerns over the price of school uniforms, warning that some Doncaster families were going into debt to afford ‘high cost’ uniforms from specialist providers.

It said the average school uniform costs £340 per year per secondary school age child and 73.9 per cent of its survey respondents ‘cannot afford school uniform costs or find it a significant financial burden’.

The Mexborough scheme is not the first in Doncaster.

Wheatley has a branch of a scheme called Pre-Loved Uniform, based at St. Paul's Community Church, which in March said it had seen demand double this year to around 50 families, from around 25 the previous year. Most cases are down to ‘unexpected circumstances’ she said.