A NEW scheme which donates uniforms to needy families has been set up by two members of a Moorlands community in time for the 2019/20 academic year. Ellie Smith and Beth Flashman have launched “Cheadle Staffordshire School Uniform Exchange” - an initiative that has already helped ten families and 20 children after just two weeks. Ellie told the Times and Echo: “We donate uniform to anybody who is in need.
“You don’t have to give to receive.
“However, we are grateful for all donations and if you have items that your child has grown out of then we will happily take them in exchange.”
Ellie, who works for the Staffordshire Moorlands Domestic Abuse Service, explained how she often witnesses families who have left their homes due to domestic violence and have no means of affording school uniform, and so she wanted to reach out to help such members of the community.
She said: “We soon realised that there were a number of families in the Staffordshire Moorlands who were choosing between eating and purchasing school uniform.
“In 2019, this is something that shouldn’t be happening, particularly when there is such an easy solution.”
Beth, who has two children that attend Bishop Rawle Primary School, and Ellie, both said that while their focus is primarily on schools in the Cheadle area currently, the scheme can effectively cover any child that goes to any school.
Ellie said: “Our main focus is obviously the Cheadle schools and those in the immediate area.
“We currently have some stock of Bishop Rawle, Cheadle Primary, St Werburgh’s, Painsley, St Giles and The Cheadle Academy branded uniform along with shoes, trainers, school bags, pencil cases, PE kits and generic white shirts and grey and black trousers.
“Our aim is to talk to the schools and hopefully they will support our scheme going forward.
“As the scheme is very new, we are currently just dealing with requests through our Facebook page. “However going forward, we aim to work on a referral basis similar to the food bank where local agencies, schools, doctors and the like can refer into us if they come across a family in need.”
The pair spoke of how a “generous donor” gifted money to the cause which allowed for Beth and Ellie to purchase new uniform to help get the ball rolling.
The scheme is currently run from one of the lady’s dining rooms and offers to deliver the uniform if within a reasonable distance.
Both Ellie and Beth are now encouraging people who are interested in the scheme to donate pieces of uniform or cash to help those in need.
Ellie added: “People can donate items of uniform at Bargain Booze, Something Special – both in Cheadle – or pop us a message on Facebook (at ‘Cheadle Staffordshire School Uniform Exchange’) and we can try and collect it if we can.
“If you wish to support the scheme with a cash donation, then again pop us a message on Facebook and we will arrange this.”
Anyone who would like to volunteer for the initiative is also asked to contact the duo via the group’s Facebook page.
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