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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Schools out! Launch of Mid and East Antrim’s annual School Uniform Scheme 2024

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Beth Adger MBE, with Michele Campbell from MEA Community Hub and Catherine Black MEA Council.


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 Hub and supported by Mid and East Antrim Poverty Action Group (PAG) and Volunteer Now.

 

This year’s scheme will be delivered over a seven-week period from 8 July 2024 onwards – and provides and opportunity for residents to drop off and pick up any school uniforms and school-related items.



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 £350 per child to buy school uniforms 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 our Borough.

 

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Beth Adger MBE, said:


“This is such a great initiative which has been very successful each year – with last year double the uniforms gifted. The project has so many positive outcomes, ensuring access to uniforms for our young people.

 

“Council is working hard to tackle poverty, particularly with the ongoing issue of increase in living costs, energycosts and fuel costs. 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.”



MEA Community Hub Operations Director, Michele Campbell added:


“We are delighted to be able to extend the availability of the scheme this year throughout July and August, hopefully this will allow us to reach more people and distribute even more items of uniforms.”

 

Last year’s scheme was a bumper year, both in terms of the quality and level of donations from  very generous residents. The scheme helped 1,676 school children by gifting 5,368 uniform items (2,568 items in 2022) from school uniform pop-up shops, which took place throughout August. The 2023 scheme total cost savings equated over £96k!

 

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 waterproofs jackets.



School Uniform Scheme drop off and collection points:

 

Donations of good quality, clean school uniforms, can be dropped off at the pop-up Shops listed below. Uniform items can also be collected between Monday 8 July until Friday 30 August 2024.

 

Ballymena – Retail Unit 58-59 Tower Centre, Wellington Street Ballymena, Co. Antrim, BT43 6AH: Mon – Fri 10am – 2pm

 

Larne – 4 Upper Main Street, Larne, Co. Antrim, BT40 1JZ: Wed and Thurs 10am -2pm

 

Carrick – 2 Joymount, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, BT38 7DN: Mon and Tues 10am - 2pm (please note – uniform drop off / collection is unavailable during 5 – 9 August in Carrickfergus).



Additional days/times may be added throughout the Summer, dependent on volunteer support.

 

This year, there will be a minimum donation of £1 per item, with nylon blazers £2 and woollen blazers £3. Funds will be in aid of the Poverty Action Group. All donations will cover the costs of delivering the project and will be provided to the Poverty Action Group (PAG) ensuring the scheme can be delivered throughout both July and August this year.

 

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 July and August.  

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