School uniform sharing campaign launched to help struggling families in Leeds

A social enterprise project has started a school uniform sharing campaign to help local families and tackle clothing waste.

Wednesday, 15th July 2020, 11:45 am

It was started earlier this month by Zero Waste in response to research which reveals that every year in Leeds, 4000 tonnes of clothing ends up in household waste bins and that 30,000 families are classed as low-income and may struggle to purchase school uniforms which can prove expensive.

The aim is to make it as easy as possible for people across Leeds to find out about school uniform reuse schemes at their school or in their local community and where there are gaps, Zero Waste Leeds will help people to set up local schemes to make it as easy as possible for families to share surplus school uniform.

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Kitting kids out with the right school uniform can be a financial burden for parents.

“In years gone by this would have just happened within families and communities but as we’ve become a bit less connected, it’s not a given anymore. We want to build back that

sense of sharing and passing things on and make it easy for people to do so.

"We know that around 30,000 children in Leeds are living in low income families – buying uniforms is an added expense that comes at the end of the long school holidays. If we can make reuse of uniforms the norm in Leeds then it means that money can be spent in other ways.”

It is expected that the coronavirus pandemic means even more good quality second-hand uniform should be available this year as most children won’t have used them and many will already be too small for September.

Coun Fiona Venner, Leeds City Council’s executive member for children and families said: “The high cost of school uniform can be a real burden for families already struggling to make ends meet, and particularly as they’ve been disproportionately hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In 2018, one in ten parents told the Children’s Society that the cost of uniform led to their child wearing ill-fitting uniform, and more than one in twenty said that their child was sent home for wearing incorrect uniform.

“I’m really pleased that here in Leeds this scheme is providing local families with easy access to good quality school uniform, helping to save money whilst being kind to the environment.”

Zero Waste Leeds is a project of Social Business Brokers CIC a social enterprise that has been working for over ten years on creative, collaborative approaches to tackling social

and environmental problems in Leeds.