School’s back – but some parents can’t keep up with cost of branded uniforms

Popularity of groups offering free donations rises but charities struggle to cope

Charities and community groups aiming to lower the cost of buying school uniforms for low-income families say they cannot keep pace with rocketing demand, as parents struggle to afford essential items for their children in the run-up to the start of the new school year.

The popularity of groups offering free donations and secondhand school uniforms for swap has risen sharply this year and organisers say they have been inundated with thousands of requests for items over the past six weeks, with one parent volunteer receiving 93 requests in a single day last week.


Another charity, Bromley Brighter Beginnings in south London, works with medical professionals, teachers and social workers to provide families with items they need. Its founder, Emma Martin, said she had received so many referrals requesting school uniforms for children this year that the charity had launched a campaign to attract more donations. “More people are struggling financially now, because of austerity. But when a child moves schools – which a lot of deprived families do regularly because it’s not up to them where they get housed – they’re expected to have a particular branded uniform.”

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