School uniform exchange scheme supporting Newtownabbey residents
Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s school uniform exchange scheme is set to provide a “vital” service for residents across the borough when it opens for donations this week.
Following the success of a pilot scheme last year, where 2,200 items of clothing were donated, the council is asking residents to support this initiative by donating all good quality items of school uniform they no longer require.
A total of 16 community groups and schools are now supporting this programme across Antrim Ballyclare, Crumlin, Glengormley, Randalstown, Toomebridge and Whiteabbey.
Alliance councillor, Ald Julian McGrath, said this year’s roll-out of the school uniform exchange scheme is “more important than ever”.
The Glengormley representative stated: “With one in five people in our borough being described as ‘income deprived’ before the pandemic, things will have only deteriorated.”
Ald McGrath asserts that with workers being furloughed, job losses, overtime being cut and associated losses of income, more families than ever will struggle to pay some of the hefty prices for school clothes this summer.
He said: “The uniform exchanges are not means-tested and this is vital. Means-testing is a very blunt instrument and it does not take into consideration those families who are really struggling but who just earn enough to stay above the benefits threshold.
“These families pay for everything and get help with very little, yet they may have taken on credit - for a wide variety of reasons - prior to the pandemic and been caught out by a sudden reduction in income.
“Children grow out of their uniforms quite quickly and the uniform schemes enable residents to donate and contribute pre-worn items of good condition, whilst also allowing them to pick up similar items left by others. It’s a win-win and it will really help families who are struggling to meet these costs.”
This is the second year of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council promoting and endorsing uniform exchange schemes across the borough since Ald McGrath and Cllr Glenn Finlay proposed it at the end of 2019. New community schemes are springing up as a result of council involvement in addition to some schemes which where already in existence.
Uniform donations will be accepted by all venues from Wednesday, June 30 to Friday, July 9.
For more information, check out antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/uniform
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