Sunderland Minster handing out free uniforms as parents struggle ahead of new school term

Fiona Collin (far right) with volunteers ( l-r) Marian Johnson, Sarah Hill, Katie Hobson and Vicki Hedley at Sunderland Minster, offering parents second hand school uniforms.

Fiona Collin (far right) with volunteers ( l-r) Marian Johnson, Sarah Hill, Katie Hobson and Vicki Hedley at Sunderland Minster, offering parents second hand school uniforms.

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FAMILIES struggling to make ends meet are being offered free school uniforms in time for the new term.

Infant and primary school pupils can get their hands on “upcycled” uniforms, free of charge, courtesy of Sunderland Minster and the One for the Wardrobe initiative.

The idea, to help out Wearside parents finding it hard to buy school kit came from Vicki Hedley, who volunteered with the One for the Basket initiative, which aims to provide groceries to families in need of food.

Curate Fiona Collins, a vicar at Sunderland Minster who is helping to organise the project, said she is keen to promote it to parents and carers.

“We leafleted round lots of schools and had a really good response in donations,” she said.

“But the uptake in people collecting the uniforms hasn’t been as good.

“We really want lots of people to come and take them because we have a lot of good quality clothes for a range of schools.”

One for the wardrobe started collecting, cleaning and repairing clothes – which they are calling upcycling – in July, from schools near the city centre church.

“We have had lots of donations from St Paul’s CE Primary School in Ryhope, and Hill View Junior and Infant schools,” said Fiona.

“We have a lot of items with their logos, but we also have plain green and red jumpers, plain shirts, plimsolls, pinafores from other schools too.

“It’s a great way for parents to save money and not spend unnecessarily at the beginning of the school term – and that’s why we’re doing it.”

Those in need of uniform have been able to collect it this week from Sunderland Minster, the Holy Trinity church, Southwick, and St Cuthbert’s church Red House.

Fiona said the collection days could also continue until all of the clothes have been claimed.

“We can go on until all of the clothes have been taken,” she said. “We have so much – including things like hats, scarves and gloves – and we do want people to make use of it.

“One mum said that she had been about to go out and buy uniform when she heard about the initiative on the radio, and said it was a God-send because it saves her so much money.”

For more information about collecting clothes, tel: 565 4066.