Mid & East Antrim School Uniform Scheme

Local Gov't, Third Sector • Mid and East Antrim

MEA School Uniform Scheme - Mid and East Antrim'sCommunity Planning Partnership teamed up with Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS) and Volunteer Now to help provide families with good quality, clean and pre-worn school uniforms.

  • MEA school uniform scheme.
  • MEA school uniform scheme.
  • School uniform collection scheme.

Mid & East Antrim BC's story

It can cost families up to £300 per child to buy school uniforms 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 30,000 schoolchildren across Mid and East Antrim.

Not only does it make good financial sense to reuse preloved uniforms, 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 accepted all good quality garments including trousers, coats, skirts, cardigans, blazers, shoes, jackets, trainers, jumpers, sports kits, polo shirts, and dresses. The area's Community Planning Partnership teamed up with Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS) and Volunteer Now to help provide parents with good quality, clean and pre-worn school uniforms. The scheme ran across the borough's three main towns of Ballymena, Larne, and Carrickfergus.

There was a tremendous response to the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council School Uniform Scheme, with some amazing feedback, which was quite humbling. Compared with previous year's figures, we are delighted to say that in 2021/22, 173 families benefitted from 1,156 items of clothing. This is a leap from 2020/21, where 145 families were gifted 554 items.

Useful learnings from Mid & East Antrim BC

We ensured that we had a network of organisations ready to help with this scheme, including Mid and East Antrim Community Advice Services (MEACAS) and Volunteer Now, to help sort through clothing donated. We also engaged council staff, particularly the five Household Recycling Centre staff, who managed the drop-off points at their sites, whereby residents could call in to donate. We also organised drivers to ship the clothing items to a centralised area in each town, where the volunteers and recycling centre staff helped to sort. We also engaged our communications team to promote the scheme online (via the council website and social media), through the Bin-ovation app and through a local press release. Staff at the centralised locations were also on hand to ensure a smooth set-up and to ensure accessibility to the centralised collection points.

Our advice for others hoping to establish a similar initiative would be as follows: Ensure you have the correct network of people available and that they are up to speed on key dates etc. Ensure you advertise the scheme well in advance to give residents time to respond. Ensure the timing of the scheme is considered, to ensure residents have the opportunity to collect school clothing items, in advance of school returning. Ensure that there is an end-destination of clothing items not collected, this ensures no items of clothing will go to waste such as landfill. Ensure to report on the figures following the scheme, and make this information widely available to the public. This helps to raise awareness of the existence of the scheme, emphasises the benefits to the environment and the community, and ensures the scheme's longevity. Ensure senior management is aware of the necessity of the scheme to support families in the run-up to school starting.

Mid & East Antrim BC's metrics

Number of families who were gifted school uniform items.
Number of school uniform items gifted.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Action Area

Circular Economy

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation

Reach

Area

Organisation

Local Gov't, Third Sector, 250 to 10,000 people

Shared by

Northern Ireland Local Government Association

Updated Feb, 2024

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