Updated: Thursday, 9th July 2020 @ 8:21am

Charity on a mission as parents in Manchester and Salford struggle with cost of school uniforms

Charity on a mission as parents in Manchester and Salford struggle with cost of school uniforms

| By Andrew Greaves

A Manchester children’s charity has revealed the amount of parents seeking help paying for school uniform as increased by a THIRD in the last year.

Wood Street Mission, which launched a major new initiative earlier in the summer called SmartStart Manchester & Salford to help low income families with school costs, supplied school uniform worth more than £85,000 to 1,741 children and 835 families in August.

The increase has been driven by a big hike in the number of schools referring families for help with 330 schools across both boroughs making referrals.

Figures show that it costs on average £220 to send a child back to school each September.

According to Family Action’s Stitched Up report it costs £285 for secondary school children and £156 for primary school children with uniforms the most expensive item followed by coats and shoes.

Roseanne Sweeney, chief executive of Wood Street Mission, said: “SmartStart Manchester & Salford helps kit out children in low income families for school so they can fit in and achieve and grow up to fulfil their potential.

“I am very proud of the help we have been able to give struggling families this year and look forward to extending the project in coming years.”

Families referred to SmartStart received school uniform with an average retail value of £102. Each family was allocated a virtual budget for their children which allowed them choose the uniform they needed most from a range of non-branded items including trousers, skirts, jumpers, shirts, blazers and fleeces.  

Rowena Allen, marketing manager of Trutex, which supplied the uniform said: “Trutex were delighted to supply Wood Street Mission to enable them to successfully provide school uniform to those in need around Manchester and Salford.

“The scheme is a fantastic way to enable children go back to school on the same level as others. All Trutex uniform is made to last so these pupils will also benefit from high quality products.”

SmartStart Manchester & Salford aims to distribute one million pounds worth of school clothes and kit to low income families in the next four years.

And as well as helping with back-to-school costs, the charity will distribute thousands of pounds worth of donations of uniform, sports kit and stationery throughout the school year.

Image courtesy of George at Asda via YouTube, with thanks.