Increase in calls to help service

FISH Information Officer Sarah Tudor with items of donated school uniform

FISH Information Officer Sarah Tudor with items of donated school uniform

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BOSSES running a school uniform recycling scheme say they have seen a three-fold rise in cash strapped families appealing for help since the onset of the economic downturn.

The initiative, run by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Families Information and Support Hub (FISH), takes in donations of unwanted clothing, launders them and then offers them back free of charge to parents unable to afford uniforms for their children.

Bosses say the scheme has always been in demand but there has recently been a surge in the number of families seeking help.

FISH Manager Penny Thompson said the scheme would see one or two calls a week, but now see around five or six requests a week.

She said: “We have built up quite a good stock of clothing as a result of a lot of donations and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed unwanted items.

“We would welcome further donations of good quality clothing such as trousers, skirts, dresses, shirts, polo shirts, sweaters and sports kit – with or without school logos – and, in particular, items of secondary school uniform.

“We would also urge parents who are struggling to afford uniforms for their children to get in touch and arrange to come into the Civic Centre to see what we can offer them.

“In addition, we are planning to stage drop-in sessions at a range of community venues and these will be publicised in due course.

“There has always been a demand for this type of recycling service, but recently there has been a noticeable increase in the number of families seeking help. This undoubtedly reflects the economic situation.”

She acknowledged that some schools around the town operate their own uniform recycling schemes and stressed that the FISH initiative aimed to complement them.

For more information about the uniform recycling scheme contact FISH on (01429) 284284 or email: fish@hartlepool.gov.uk