More than 200 low-income families have been supported with the high costs of school clothing through a swap shop set up at St Columba’s United Reformed Church (URC), Wolverhampton.
As part of the congregation’s eco-church ethos, Elders decided a school uniform swap shop would save a lot of discarded clothing from ending up in landfill and much needed cash in parents’ pockets.
Dr Rosalind Shaw, a mum of two teenage boys, set the process in motion and the project took off.
June Jones, a non-serving Elder at St. Columba’s, said: “To say that the swap shop has been a success would be a gross understatement.
“All donations are weighed and sorted and so far this year more than half-a-ton of school clothing has been donated to the shop.
“More than 50 local schools are represented in the shop and in addition to parents’ contributions some schools have donated the unclaimed contents of their lost property boxes. This year and last, because of lockdowns, many items bought for children have been outgrown before ever being worn so a great many of our goods were brand new with labels still attached.
“To see the gratitude of parents for such help is quite humbling and it has been my privilege to assist with the shop on its open Sundays during school holidays. One mother told me that to equip her child with everything on the school’s list would have cost over £400 and that was for just one of her three children moving to new schools.”
“The whole experience has opened my eyes to the difficulties faced by families. No longer does one buy a school badge to sew onto a blazer or tunic but every item, even PE kit, is embellished with a machine-embroidered logo which can be, and often is, changed with little notice thus rendering perfectly good clothing out-of-date. One local school even changed its entire uniform basic colours after becoming an academy.”
All donations are weighed and sorted and so far this year more than half-a-ton of school clothing has been donated to the shop.
All donated items were given to families free of charge saving them collectively thousands of pounds.
Dr Shaw, her husband and two boys, Andrew and Daniel, aged 15 and 13 respectively, helped set the swap shop up in the church hall and worked hard to ensure the shopping experience was a happy and easy one for customers.
Andrew and Daniel donated much of the school holidays to help out and in the process gained a Lundie Memorial Award from the URC Children’s and Youth Work department.
07 September 2021