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School uniform project helping ease cost of living pressures

Posted on Monday 23rd January 2023
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(Left to Right) Libraries Development Manager Kerry Hutchings, Cllr Mark Sutton and Amy Bayliss-Fox from the Salvation Army

Families in Staffordshire are getting a helping hand thanks to a project providing free pre-used school uniforms.

The Pre-Loved Uniform Market (PLUM) is run by Staffordshire County Council’s libraries service and The Salvation Army.

The project allows local families to pick up items of clothing at key dates during the year, to help support them with their children’s school uniform needs. The market stocks school trousers, skirts, shirts, ties and branded school sweatshirts for all ages.

Last year, the project supported over 900 children with free uniforms and since launching in 2020, has saved families an estimated £47,000.

The team are currently collecting, preparing, and washing items ready for the next market being held at the Salvation Army Church’s in Cannock and in Stafford.  Anyone with unwanted or unused items is being invited to donate them at either Cannock or Stafford Library or the Salvation Army Church, Hednesford.

Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:

“We know that many families are facing additional financial pressures because of the increasing cost of living but I want to remind people that help is at hand.

“This is a wonderfully simple project that is helping hundreds of families with their school uniform needs each year.  By providing access to free, pre-used uniforms, it means families can save on the costs of new items and put their money towards other household bills.

“We do rely on donations from the public and I would urge anyone with unwanted items to donate them.  Our team will make sure they go to a good home and are used.”

Amy Bayliss-Fox from the Salvation Army said:

“By working together with Staffordshire Libraries, we have been able to serve local families by being able to provide good quality, second-hand uniform that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

“Over the last 3 years that the project has been running in Cannock, we have kitted out over 900 children with uniform.  Since our first Stafford dates, back in August 2022, we have already helped over 30 children with the scope to help many, many more.  But we can’t do it alone.  If you have uniform (logo’d or plain) that your children have grown out of, please consider donating them to the Project.”

Staffordshire County Council’s ‘Here to help’ campaign and dedicated webpages also have information for families worried about additional cost of living pressures. Advice and signposting on things like childcare funding, paying bills, food and essentials and staying warm are available.  Access to the online benefits checker along with information on other council projects is also available.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Staffordshire County Council added:

“I would like to remind families that there is lots of help and support out there from local organisations and at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/heretohelp.

“Support is often closer than people think too and getting help early can also make a real difference.”

The Pre-Loved Uniform Market project is supported by Staffordshire County Council members across Cannock Chase, as part of the doing your bit campaign.

Further details and times of markets are available on Staffordshire Libraries Facebook page.

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