Children at a Huddersfield school are doing their bit to save the planet … and their parents a lot of money.
For the youngsters at Kirkheaton Primary School have been inspired by the Huddersfield-based Uniform Exchange free school uniform charity to hold uniform giveaways in school.
At the latest one they gave away 33 dresses, 30 jumpers, 25 pairs of shorts and eight polo shirts. The items would have cost between £758 and £936 new.
There are a lot of plastics in school uniform so the amount passed on at this event is equal to saving 106 plastic bottles from landfill.
Uniform Exchange schools ambassador Ros Farrell said: “That is the most successful pop-up event we’ve seen yet and we would urge all schools to do the same.
“The giveaways only take a few minutes to set up yet save parents a fortune having to buy new uniform and also keeps a lot of the uniform from being thrown away and ending up in landfill.”
Ros has teamed up with the school’s Eco Club which has 31 children aged from seven to 11 to promote the importance of donating and receiving school uniform items from Uniform Exchange (https://www.uniform-exchange.org/).
Year One class teacher Gianna Shepherd, who also runs the school’s Eco Club, said: “Ros explained to us that an average uniform is the equivalent to 11 plastic bottles.
“We talked about how it is a far more sustainable option to donate old uniform items to friends, family members or the Uniform Exchange donation box in our school because it would otherwise end up in a landfill which could mean more plastic eventually ending up in our rivers and seas.
“We looked at how Uniform Exchange collects our donations, cleans and repairs them and then we can offer free pop-up events throughout the year so parents have a more sustainable and economical option.”
After listening to Ros, some of the Eco Club members were inspired to give an assembly to the whole school to tell everyone why reusing school uniform is so important.
The pop-up giveaway was a highlight of the school’s Eco Week and a great success with one pupil saying: “It was the best shopping experience ever because I found a pile of clothes for free.”
Gianna added: “It was fantastic and there was a real buzz in the air. I think the best part was seeing the children help each other look for their size and the items they were after.
“It was a lovely experience for the children and they were blown away when we began to calculate how much they had saved their parents. I think this made it tangible for them to realise how easy it can be to make a positive difference. They found it really empowering.”
One of the pupils involved was Grace Rocke. Her mum, Donna Thompson, said: “Grace came home shouting that she had saved me £75 by securing some new uniforms for her and her little sister for the summer term. She told me she had priced up the items to work out the saving and was surprised at how much uniforms cost. Hopefully this will encourage her to take care of hers!
“I think this is a great concept, especially during the cost-of-living crisis where budgets are very tight.”
Another pupil who helped organise the event was Ellie Smith, who said: “It wasn’t just good, it was amazing.”
The next pop-up school uniform event will be on Wednesday, April 26 during parents’ evening.
The school may also have one at a New Starters’ evening for Reception and for Year 6 children needing high school uniforms.
Gianna added: “We plan to have pop-up events throughout the year ahead of seasonal changes so parents can have the opportunity to collect new items and donate old ones.”
- Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.