A mum is trying to ease the expense of the back to school period for families struggling to buy new uniforms for their kids.
Charlene Paterson, 33, from Newcastle, was throwing out old school uniform that her kids didn’t need, but realised she could do something much better with their cast offs.
“I decided that instead of throwing out the uniform, I was going to save it and see if I could get some friends to do the same, then donate it,” she told The Huffington Post UK.
She came up with the idea of the ‘Uniform Drop Box’, from which parents can donate and collect without spending a penny.
“I put the idea to a youth activity centre and got the nod from the manager there,” Paterson explained.
“Fast forward a month and I ended up with a room full of uniform!
“Both me and the manager [of the centre] were speechless at the response so we went ahead and gave almost every stitch to families that needed it.
“Then I started getting sent uniform from Sunderland and Durham areas (these are not local to me), which begged the question: how can I put things in place so the people of those areas can have the same type of thing?”
In the two weeks since the kids have been back at school, Paterson has been ringing around community centres all over the north east to see if they will hold a ‘Uniform Drop Box’.
Anyone who needs to can visit the centres that house the boxes to collect secondhand uniform for free.
“The need for uniform is unmistakable, however the price is unbelievable,” she added.
“Too many families are making the choice to either eat or send their kids to school and it’s not right.
“Too many kids are being punished for the fact their families don’t have much money and it’s heartbreaking.
“It’s those kids that are the reason why I won’t stop until either everyone has access to a drop box or uniform pricing changes.”
To find out more about the Uniform Drop Boxes and where they are, visit Paterson’s Facebook page.