Hundreds of families have been helped with the cost of school uniforms thanks to a community project run by an Angus church.
For the last four years St Margaret’s Church in Forfar has run a free school uniform swap service, with this year’s summer event hailed as the busiest and most successful to date.
The idea of the Reverend Maggie Hunt when she was trying to source school clothesfor her daughter, this year it has seen between 1,800 and 2,000 items distributed to families.
Primary and secondary school pupils have benefited from new or nearly new items which have all been of a high standard, and there is a back-log in storage should anyone require additional items.
Mrs Hunt explained the project has grown in popularity, partly due to the cost of uniforms, but also due to the willingness of more families to recycle items.
Used items have been washed, ironed and labelled, with the church hall acting as a shop during the school summer holidays.
With the schools now back Mrs Hunt took stock and stated this year’s project has been “absolutely brilliant.”
She said: “We have had everything from plastic water bottles, packed lunch bottles, hats, scarves, gloves, shirts, ties, pinafores, summer dresses, winter coats, PE kits, you name it.
“They have been for pupils at Forfar’s primary schools and Forfar Academy, as well as some of the outlying areas including Inverarity and Letham.
“People have been amazed and delighted they could pick up good as new clothes for free. This makes such a difference for every family, not just those struggling financially.
“For every family putting kids back to school it is a huge expense. Picking up as good as new clothes makes such a huge difference, it is a huge help.”
Mrs Hunt praised the Forfar community for getting behind the project and accepting it as their own.
She continued: “We haven’t just had volunteers from the church but volunteers from Tesco’s communities team, young adults from the academy and parents who found out about the shop on Facebook.
“Volunteers have collected bags, sorted out the clothes, done the laundry, ironing and labelling.
“As more and more people told others about the service, it has removed the stigma.
“The pre-loved clothes have been in a perfectly good condition, a lot still had labels on.
“They were not dirty, used clothes. It would have been a waste for them to go in the bin or for rags.”
An inventory of items left has been compiled and a stock sheet will be given to health visitors, social workers and local schools. Anyone still in need of any items can contact their school or St Margaret’s Church.