One secondary school in North Lanarkshire recognised that increasing numbers of young people were in need of school uniform and clothing. The school decided to set up a cluster-wide uniform bank.
“We engaged and worked in partnership with several stakeholders to help support this including the parent council, Morrisons, Scotcrest and restorative justice. Parents were also asked to bring in unwanted uniforms.
"The uniform bank was initially designed for pupils in our school, however this quickly grew into a uniform bank servicing our cluster primaries and the other local secondary schools. The uniform bank continues to run very successfully and not only do we offer uniform, we also offer other items of clothing including winter jackets. The number of families using our uniform bank has significantly increased and we monitor the usage of this. Families and pupils can come and collect items of clothing and items can be sent to family homes to reduce stigma.
The uniform bank is available on the school premises. Pupils can be referred to the uniform bank and there is also a helpline that families can access to receive clothing packages. The uniform bank also provides access to shoes and winter jackets.”
Staff say that for this measure to work, it's important that pupils and families don't feel there's a stigma attached to taking uniform from the bank.
“To reduce stigma, emphasis is placed on ensuring that all interactions with the uniform bank are confidential. Awareness of the uniform bank is raised in the school, ‘swapping’ clothes is seen as something that is a worthwhile thing to do, and it is flagged up that buying something new doesn’t need to take place when there are supplies in the school. All of this has made it more likely that pupils and families will ask to get access to the uniform bank.”