Large numbers of families in Salford are unable to afford the cost of the new school year, that’s according to local charity Wood Street Mission.
The charity set up its ‘Back to School’ shop last month which encouraged Manchester and Salford-based families to come and pick up school uniforms, for free.
A snapshot survey of families visiting the shop found that; 47pc said they would have to go without buying food or paying the rent in order to purchase uniform if it wasn’t supplied to them.
While 37pc of families said they would have to borrow money to purchase uniform if they did not get help from the charity.
An astonishing 77pc said they needed help to afford the costs of uniform and other school goods at the start of the school year.
Salford is one of the areas most profoundly affected by child poverty, so much so, that 2000 children referred to the charity earlier this year hail from the city.
Roseanne Sweeney chief executive of Wood Street Mission said: “It’s concerning so many families cannot afford the costs of the new school year without going without other essentials or getting into debt.
“We had families queuing from 7 in the morning to get into our shop because they were unable to buy basic necessities for their children like shirts, bags and even underwear.
“We are however pleased that thanks to the generosity of our supporters we were able to relieve some of the financial burden at an expensive time of year and ensure thousands of kids can go back to school in the right uniform so they fit in with peers and can engage at school.”
The community shop was stocked with over 600 warm school coats funded by a £15,000 grant provided by the Brian Kennedy Trust.
Linda Miles director of the Brian Kennedy Trust said: “When we first heard about Wood Street’s SmartStart project, we were really keen to help as we appreciate how difficult it is for some low income families to buy school uniforms for their children.
“We also know how important it is that children arrive warm and well fed at school hence our decision to fund a large number of school coats.
“The Brian Kennedy Trust are really pleased to be working with the Wood Street Mission and admire the work they do in ensuring Manchester children are given every opportunity to have a fair start in life.”