Free school uniform exchange helping ease cost pressures for families

New uniform exchange service takes 'huge stress' off families battling the rising cost of living ahead of school term.

A uniform exchange is helping lessen the financial strain for families across Edinburgh ahead of the new school term.

Heather’s daughter Scarlett is moving up to high school this year, meaning a new uniform, a bag, and all the other bits and pieces are needed.

But coming to the uniform exchanges at Fort Kinnaird means she can lessen the financial strain.

She told STV News: “When you get closer to the school term, it can be a bit of pressure to buy something new. But with donations you can relax a little bit.

“At least I can make use of second-hand instead of buying something brand new. Kids grow so fast, they might be in that awkward stage and you could end up buying something too small.

“I can come along and grab shirts that may be more suitable for her now.”

Research from the Children’s Society has found on average it costs more than £400 to buy full uniform for a Secondary school pupil, and it’ll set you back almost £300 for a primary school child.

Families are flocking to the uniform exchange ahead of school term

Coats and bags are generally the most expensive items.

Children will need both everyday shoes and gym shoes, each pair costing more than £60 each, with most other items still coming in at over £40.

Sara Thomson, founder of shop the Leith Collective, launched uniform exchanges at Fort Kinnaird, the Ocean Terminal and St Enoch Centre to combat the rising costs of kitting out school-aged children.

All three stores are seeing higher demand than ever for the service.

With donations are still streaming in on a daily basis, the uniform exchange is expected to run throughout the school year.

Sara said: “We’re going through full rails every single day in all three shop. It’s worked really well.

“The stress taken off families is huge. They may be able to do smaller things with the children they couldn’t afford to do beforehand.

“They don’t have to worry how much it’s going to cost for new shoes, socks and trousers. All these things add up.

“It’s helping families in a massive way, and helping the planet in a massive way.”

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