A school uniform shop for disadvantaged families in Salford and Manchester is now open and ready to kit out local kids.
The ‘Back to School’ shop is run by charity Wood Street Mission, who are offering struggling families the chance to collect school clothes free of charge.
Based in Spinningfields in Manchester city centre, the ‘SmartStart’ shop opened on Tuesday 16 August.
The charity aims to give away £1 million of unbranded school uniform by 2019.
Lower Broughton mum-of-two, Ruth, was at the launch and will be a customer at the shop, she said: “Being on benefits I’ve really needed a project like this.
“Most parents can’t afford to buy school clothes because they are so expensive and the children are growing too fast.
“They [Wood Street] are so wonderful and they’re like a family to me.”
Salford is an area profoundly affected by child deprivation and over a third of the 2,000 children so far referred to the charity hail from the city, said Wood Street.
Speaking at a launch event for the ‘Back to School’ shop, Chief Executive of Wood Street Mission, Roseanne Sweeney, said: “Salford has high levels of child poverty – these are families that just can’t afford to kit out their children for the new school year.
“What we can do through our flagship SmartStart project is help kit out children for school so they can start the school year in a smart school uniform and engage at school.”
Items of clothing can be purchased through a credit system, which is based on family size.
A recent YouGov report found that school uniforms are one of parents’ biggest yearly spends with average sports and classroom kit costing up to £220 per child.
However, Roseanne has a positive outlook for the project and believes it can be a success: “We’ve been dependent on fantastic support from the local community – they’ve always come good in the past.
“This is a great cause, we’ve had a fantastic response to our appeal so far so we’re confident we’ll make our target.”
If you want to get involved and help out disadvantaged Salford school children you can donate here.