It’s hard to believe that one comment on social media could lead to dozens of families being helped to make it through another school year? But this story shows, the well-known power of social media and community can lead to real solutions for local issues…
July is a time when many parents start thinking of school again, but with school uniforms costing at least £129.50, not all of these thoughts are happy. With this in mind, one considerate resident contacted our Blacklands Community Co-ordinator on social media to find out if there was somewhere to help parents struggling to afford school uniforms. Further investigations showed there was nowhere for this, and community enthusiasm for the idea began to swell – and so did the questions…
Where should the clothes be stored?
The group of volunteers decided it needed to be a neutral, safe-feeling space where everyone felt welcome. Kilwinning Library staff stepped forward, offering not only a devoted space, but also a decorated collections box which they made themselves.
How was the community to raise awareness?
Just as the original idea was floated on social media, Facebook and Twitter became important ways to raise awareness, as did local people telling each other in the street.
Would people donate clothes?
As awareness grew, donations started to trickle in, and soon over 80 people had given items.
The swell of generosity meant that a new space was needed, and soon a library office became a jungle of clothing racks, folding stations and tables mounted with clothes and shoes.
Would it really help families?
When the date came for the school clothing bank to open, the relief and appreciation of people was palpable.
There were not only uniforms, but shoes, winter jackets, backpacks and other items to choose from.
The generosity of the community was incredible. Any clothes which weren’t picked up were given to the local school and charities, ensuring the donations would continue to support local people.
What we learned:
- Small ideas, started on social media, can grow into impactful actions.
- Simple solutions such as a clothes drive can make a real difference to people’s lives.
- Local people are well placed to spot gaps in provision, and find solutions for these gaps.
- Good partnership working builds stronger communities.
- Location is important, the library was an inviting place for all the community to get involved.
Where can I find financial support for school uniform costs?
Local authorities provide support for families struggling to afford school uniforms. For further details on the support each council provides, please click on the links provided below.
Funding Available 2017/18
|Argyll and Bute||£50|
|Dumfries and Galloway||£80|
|Eilean Siar||Funding available- amount unknown.|
|Perth and Kinross||£50|
Project Officer (Place)