A group of Denny High School pupils who set up a clothing bank for fellow students in need have won a national award.
The clothing bank was set up by Ellie Mackay, Abbie Fish, Caitlyn Mackenzie, Jamie McDonald and Lucy Moffat as 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.
An initial grant of £400 was awarded to the sixth year group to design and deliver their own initiative and once complete they received a further £1,000 to develop it. They were also given the opportunity to represent their region at the Scottish National Awards ceremony.
All five pupils delivered a power point presentation to a packed audience at the Tolbooth in Stirling and were subsequently chosen for the People’s Choice Award on the night.
Ellie said: “Winning this award meant so much because we are really passionate about this project and this must have come across for us to be voted as the People’s Choice. The clothes bank’s main aim is to help other pupils who struggle to buy uniform.
“Having full school uniform is important because it means that everyone is equal and nobody stands out which can help stop bullying.”
Caitlyn added: “We get items in as donations which are then washed by volunteers and we then sort them on hangers in a way that looks good. I personally really enjoyed this part of the project and we are soon going to all be taught how to iron the items as well.”
Pupils can access the clothing bank via a room in the school that has been set up like a shop.
Lucy explained the group set up meetings through Snapchat to discuss the different stages of the project.
“We created a stock control system so that we can monitor the sizes we have and buy anything we’re short of. We’ve added underwear, socks and tights to the list of items available as well as sanitary products.”
The group also have P.E kits and plan to soon offer casual clothes and prom clothes to ensure every pupil is able to take part in all school activities regardless of their income.
Abbie said: “Confidentiality is important which is why we have arranged it so that pupils can access the school bank by speaking to school staff rather than coming directly but we will be responsible for all the behind the scenes work.”
To raise awareness of the clothing bank, information has been shared at both assemblies and in the school newsletter and on Facebook and Twitter.
Jamie said he played an instrumental role in the organising of the tasks, adding that the initiative has taught the team not to take anything for granted.
“We also learned about budgeting and how to look after our money by shopping around and looking out for the best deals,” he said.
As winners of the People’s Choice Award, the group have been invited to attend the UK National Awards Ceremony in London in March 2019.
Shona said: “We’re so proud of everything the group have achieved and of how passionate they are about this project. Feedback from fellow pupils, parents and even other schools has also been fantastic.
Support assistant Fiona Boyd added: “They’ve worked incredibly hard to get the clothing bank up and running, making sure that the clothes are presented to a high standard and that anyone needing support can access it discreetly and confidentially.
“Getting through to the final of the Scottish Money for Life Challenge and having their achievements recognised in this way was fantastic. We’re now all very much looking forward to going to London.”