Calls to donate pre-loved uniforms after scheme saved parents £40,000

A pre-loved uniform scheme run by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been hailed as a 'lifeline' for parents struggling with rising costs.

School trousers, shirts, skirts, blazers and sportswear can all be donated, as well as sports equipment, such as football boots and hockey sticks.

An average school uniform is now £300 per child and that doesn't include PE kits needed for the school year.

Drop-off zones can be found throughout July in Larne Leisure Centre, Seven Towers in Ballymena and the Amphitheatre Wellness Centre in Carrickfergus.

Last year, the scheme, which is run in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services, helped close to 1,000 children.

Over 2,500 school uniforms were donated, saving parents a whopping £40,000 on new uniforms.

Those running the scheme think there will be an even greater need for clothes this year.

District Electoral Officer Wendy Carson said: "We do anticipate a bigger turnout than we normally do because of the cost of living crisis.

"Uniforms are, you know, they're required but sometimes it's very difficult for some families that are on the breadline and can't afford either one or a couple of uniforms."

District Electoral Officer Amanda Cotter told UTV: "We have had parents previously through the scheme who have discussed with us the difficult choices that they have unfortunately had to make between at times putting food on the table for their family and purchasing school uniforms for their children.

"This has often pushed families into unwanted debt to be able to provide uniforms for their family. So we completely understand the pressures and the financial and emotional stress that families are facing at this time of the year.

"This is why this scheme has been such a lifeline in the past for parents."

The School Uniform Scheme is also for primary school children who may need t-shirts, joggers, school jumpers and school bags.

The donation points will close on Friday 28 July and teams will then sort the uniforms for collection throughout August.

The scheme is not just for those who can't afford one uniform, but also for families who need a second shirt or skirt for the school year.

Those running the scheme hope to see more donations than ever, so that more families can benefit after what's already been a financially tough year.

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