Church groups rally to take up the slack on school uniforms

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Hard-pressed local families are increasingly turning to school uniform banks run by congregations, according to the Church of Scotland.

Clothing is largely donated by parents of children who have outgrown them or no longer have any use for them, but some items are brand new and have never been worn.

One project manager,Marie Brownhill, said: “School uniforms and equipment cost an absolute fortune and parents and teachers believe a lack of money to make purchases affects pupils’ emotional and academic wellbeing.

“The project doesn’t only support families affected by poverty - the working parent also finds it difficult to purchase school uniforms and equipment as the cost is so huge.”

Mrs Brownhill, a mother of three, said the project allowed the community to give something back through donations of clothing or time and receive help with dignity.

“Children grow very quickly and items that are donated are usually in very good condition and parents are really pleased to know that they have also helped others within the community by donating items back to the project,” she added.

Mrs Brownhill said St John’s Episcopal Church in Alloa used the proceeds of a collection to buy new clothing and equipment.

“The congregation kindly spent £500 on a jumpers, polo shirts and school bags for a local school that is always our highest referral,” she said.

“We hold a three-day collection stand within supermarkets and customers donate hundreds of pounds worth of uniforms and items.”

Outwith the church, the Kersiebank Community Project in Grangemouth staged a uniform giveaway day earlier this week, after collecting a substantial number of items suitable for local schools.

Last year a group of Denny High School pupils who set up a clothing bank for fellow students in need won a national award.

The clothing bank was part of the Money for Life Community Challenge project, a UK wide competition to find the most innovative and impactful ways young people can share their money management skills.