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Uniform for All brings welcome support to families facing soaring uniform costs

28 September 2021

• Families making use of the high quality uniform on offer, with Councillor Rachel Massey.

A local school uniform initiative is in full swing for recycling week as part of the commitment to supporting sustainable school uniform.

October half term will see 2 events that families can attend to access uniform items they need. On Tuesday, 26 October 2021 and Wednesday, 27 October 2021, from 10.30am–2.30pm, the volunteers will be at Falinge Park in the community room.

Launched over the summer, the initiative saw over 2,000 pieces of recycled and reused uniform across Rochdale.

Councillor Rachel Massey inside Number One Riverside.

'This project is not only helping the growing number of families living in poverty within our borough, but it's also helping us all to recycle more clothing and act more sustainably'

Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet for children's services and education, said: "The events we held over the summer were great so I'm really excited for the future of this scheme. It was great to be able to help so many families out and put so many perfectly good uniforms to good use. This project is not only helping the growing number of families living in poverty within our borough, but it's also helping us all to recycle more clothing and act more sustainably."

Concern is growing about the financial strain purchasing uniform places on a family each year. Uniform for All was developed to help those struggling to meet these costs by offering a service where you can call or email when you are in need. It is now run by volunteers on Facebook at Uniform4A, where you can send requests and get information daily about what's available.

The Children's Society estimates that it costs approximately £255 a year per child for everything they need for primary school. It then grows to £340 per child when they reach secondary school, with the largest cost item being a blazer with the school emblem.

Councillor Neil Emmott on the roof of Number One Riverside.

'It ticks 2 big priorities for me – it helps families who need it and it is a much more environmentally friendly way of getting new school uniform'

Leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Councillor Neil Emmott, said: "I'm really proud of our borough coming together on this wonderful scheme. It ticks 2 big priorities for me – it helps families who need it and it is a much more environmentally friendly way of getting new school uniform."

"School uniform is both costly to our families and our environment and we're committed to support families where we can. Government might be dragging their feet on the affordable uniform law but we're not sitting back, we're determined to make a change."

The voluntary group runs regular events at Falinge Park and The Hub at The Strand in Kirkholt. It sees local councillors provide some funds to the initiative. The Co-op at Cutgate Precinct and The Strand in Kirkholt is where people can drop off items. Crystal Wash Laundrette on Rooley Moor Road support with laundering the items too. Uniform For All are always looking for more volunteers who can help sort, organise and iron too.

As the service relies on donations of uniform, there is no guarantee that everything will be available but they are building up a healthy stock of jumpers, cardigans, shirts, skirts, ties, trousers, blazers, shoes, PE bags, summer dresses, winter coats and lunch bags. There are also some items for Rainbows and Scouts groups too.

If you'd like to donate uniform items for local schools, you can drop off items at the following locations: