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MEA Council launches School Uniform Scheme

Michele Campbell, Operations Director for Mid and East Antrim Community Advices Services and Catherine Black, Community Planning and Development Manager for MEABC

Michele Campbell, Operations Director for Mid and East Antrim Community Advices Services and Catherine Black, Community Planning and Development Manager for MEABC

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is once again running the very successful School Uniform Scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS) and supported by Mid and East Antrim Poverty Action Group (PAG).


The scheme was initially piloted across the borough in July 2019 and has been providing good quality pre-worn school uniforms ever since. This has been a lifeline for many families who are struggling with the current increased cost in living.


Council’s Poverty Action Group took this initiative forward as the rising costs of school uniforms is a source of emotional and financial stress for many low-income families.  In some cases, families have described having to choose between eating and getting their children kitted out for school.  This has also pushed some families into debt.


It can cost families up to £300 per child to buy school uniform ready for the new academic year. This places additional stress on families. In these tough times with budgets already stretched, it could be ‘make or break’ for some of the households of the 30k schoolchildren in the Borough.


Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Geraldine Mulvenna, said:

“Council is working hard to tackle poverty, particularly with the ongoing issue of increase in living costs, energy and fuel. This is such a great initiative which has been very successful – in particular last year when double the number of uniforms were gifted.


“The project has so many positive outcomes, ensuring access to good uniforms for our young people. Not only does it make good financial sense, it also strengthens communities and makes good ecological sense.  On average, each household bins more than 25kg of textiles a year. So rather than adding to the landfill mountains, please play your part in helping us to sustain our beautiful environment.”


The school uniform scheme is accepting all clean, good quality garments including blazers, shirts, blouses, ties, polo shirts, trousers, shorts, skirts, pinafores, summer dresses, sweatshirts, jumpers, cardigans, PE kits, PE equipment, school bags, school shoes, trainers, football boots, hockey sticks, coats and waterproof jackets.


School Uniform Scheme drop off points:


For your convenience, donations of good quality, clean school uniforms can be dropped off at the following Council leisure centres between Monday 3rd July and Friday 28th July:


•​ Seven Towers Leisure Centre, Ballymena:

Monday, Wednesday & Friday 7.30am - 9pm, Tuesday and Thursday - 8.45am - 9pm, Saturday9am - 5pm and Sunday -12noon - 5pm


•​ Larne Leisure Centre:

Monday to Friday - 8.30am to 9pm, Saturday - 9am to 5pm, Sunday - 11am to 5pm  


•​ Amphitheatre Wellness Centre, Carrickfergus:

Monday – Friday - 6.30am - 9pm, Saturday - 8am - 5pm and Sunday - 9am - 5pm


In late July Council will announce details of where families can collect items of school uniform FREE OF CHARGE.


There is no qualifying criteria or referral process.  People can go along and drop off uniforms, however if they have nothing to donate, they can still pick up anything that they need (subject to availability) throughout August.  Beneficiaries will be asked to complete a very short questionnaire, which will be anonymous.  This will allow Council to measure impact.

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