Uniform exchange scheme launched

Mid and East Antrim's Community Planning Partnership launching the uniform exchange
Mid and East Antrim's Community Planning Partnership launching the uniform exchange

A new uniform exchange scheme is helping families across Mid and East Antrim cut the cost of going back to school.

The area’s Community Planning Partnership is teaming up with Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS) to help provide parents with good quality, clean and pre-worn school uniforms.

There will be drop off points across Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus for people to donate any uniform items that they no longer need for nursery, primary, secondary and grammar schools.

It’s all completely confidential, simply bring along the uniform items you no longer use and swap them for those that you need.

Nothing to swap? Don’t worry come along and volunteers can help you out.

Katrina Morgan, Director of Community at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said: “It can cost families up to £250 per child to buy school uniform ready for the new academic year. With household budgets being squeezed more and more, kitting a child out for school can be a real stress for families. It can often be make or break for the households of the 30k schoolchildren across Mid and East Antrim.

“Lots of uniform, often in good condition, is thrown away with each household binning more than 25kg of textiles a year. Aside from the environmental impact, this is also a waste of perfectly good clothing which could be used elsewhere, so what better way to make use of it than help families who need it.”

The swap shops are accepting all good quality garments including trousers, coats, skirts, cardigans, blazers, shoes, jackets, trainers, jumpers, sports kits, polo-shirts and dresses.

Michele Campbell, Operations Director with MEACAS, said: “I am delighted to get behind this initiative.

“Welfare reform and the introduction of Universal Credit has pushed many families into hardship and debt so it will be fantastic if we can minimise some of the stress related to buying new school uniforms. The uniform exchange gives families a free, easy and environmentally friendly way to get their children ready out for school.”

For more information and a list of drop off points, visit www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/uniform-exchange