Hartlepool primary school helping parents to keep costs down by launching uniform swap shop

A Hartlepool primary school has come up with a great way to help families save money and cut down on waste when it comes to their children’s uniforms.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:45 am

St Helen’s Primary School, on the Headland, has opened a swap shop in school for parents and carers to get rid of their child’s uniform when they grow out of it and pick up a new one for free.

It is one of a number of initiatives by school leaders to help support the local community when pressure on family finances is growing.

Deputy headteacher Marcus Newing said: “With the cost of living ever-increasing and the pressure this places on families, we felt that it was only right to use this initiative to support our families.

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St Helen's Primary school pupil Hettie Turner and Inclusion and Family Support Assistant Aimee Small restock clothing onto a rack for the uniform swap shop. Picture by Frank Reid.

“The idea of setting up such a swap shop was to help our parents and carers reduce the cost of having to purchase new uniform every time their child grows out of their current uniform."

St Helen’s provided a free school uniform from its budget for all of its pupils – around 300 children – last September.

The newly-opened swap shop has built up healthy stocks of items and is starting to welcome its first users.

Mr Newing added: “A lot of parents have been asking about it so I think it’s going to be very popular.

St Helen's Primary school pupil Noah Sedgwick and Inclusion and Family Support Assistant Juile McNeany hang items of clothing onto a rack. Picture by Frank Reid.

"Children grow so quickly but parents and carers can come in and use the swap shop and it doesn’t cost them anything. And it’s about making sure there’s no wastage.

"The quality of the uniforms coming back is great. They are in really good condition and don’t look second hand.

"There is a good range of things as well. It is not just jumpers, trousers and pinafores but footwear as well.

"It’s really lovely to see even if a child is leaving school the family feel they want to donate their uniform so another family can get good use of it.”

In recent years, St Helen’s has also helped families to access free food through charities and held workshops with parents including how to cook on a budget.

“Our ethos and vision is that we aim to be a beacon for our local community and we try in every way to support our families,” added Mr Newing.

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