Sunderland clothing bank offering free coats and school uniforms for struggling families

A Sunderland charity shop is helping families by giving children free school uniforms.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th October 2019, 5:04 pm
Community School Clothing Scheme volunteer Jason O'Driscoll organising the school uniforms

The Community School Clothing Scheme has set up three stores set up across the North East including one on Fawcett Street in Sunderland.

Hundreds of families have benefited from the scheme which offers school uniforms free of charge and is now offering winter coats.

Supervisor of the Sunderland branch, Ann Gettins said: “Every child gets gets a free coat for winter, and basics like shoes, a bag and underwear.

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Community School Clothing Scheme volunteer Wendy Langton organising the school uniforms

“We’ve only been open four months, the scheme gives free pre-loved clothes to people who need them, you can come in and tell us what you need and pick it up the next day.

Most families are referred to the Community School Clothing Scheme by social services, and these families receive all the help the charity is able to provide.

The store currently stocks uniforms from 50 locals schools and the aim is to make sure every child has two complete sets of uniforms with their school logo.

Ann added: “I think the uniform scheme is a good idea, it’s a shame that not all kids can get them – people fall on hard times.

Community School Clothing Scheme volunteers Wendy Langton and Jason O'Driscoll

“We are currently raising money for a van, so we can deliver uniforms to the estates so every child can get a free school uniform and two free books.

“We try our best to make sure that kids get two of every product, and that the uniform has a logo on – it’s important to kids, so they don’t get singled out.”

As the charity gets more established in Sunderland, the more business they get through the door but the store still needs the support of local people.

Rob Turnbull from partner charity Clothe and Feed, said: “The Community School Clothing Scheme is the glue that holds everything together, on the back end of that we want to expand into areas where people don’t have much and seek help.

“We want to work closely with housing groups and renter areas as people tend to pay for their kids uniform before their rent.

“We know we make a difference, we’re the first charity to offer school uniforms in this capacity.”