Social Justice

How to donate old school uniforms to help others in the cost of living crisis

Four in 10 parents will struggle to pay for their child's school uniform this year. Here's how you can donate old uniform to help out

Donating old school uniform helps others and prevents clothes going in the bin

Affording school uniforms can be a yearly stress for parents with stretched budgets and growing kids. So if your kids are growing out of their old gear or casting it off for good, why not donate old school uniforms to someone who needs them more?

It can cost hundreds of pounds a year to kit a child out in school uniform, and four in 10 parents will struggle to pay for their child’s uniform this year, according to research from Greene King, the pub chain behind the Wacky Warehouse soft play centres which has launched a new scheme to support parents.

The research also found that 30% of parents were cutting back on meals to afford school uniform.

A lack of access to school uniforms is one of the most visible effects of child poverty. As of 2022, there were 4.2 million children living in poverty in the UK, often relying on food banks, charities, and generosity.

Here’s how you can help out by donating old school uniforms.

Wacky Warehouse soft play centres are running a summer holiday donation scheme

Old trousers, shirts, skirts, blazers and more dropped at any of 20 Wacky Warehouses – located mainly in the Midlands and the South – between 17 July and 3 September will be donated to charities chosen by each local venue, as part of a new scheme.

Find your local branch of Wacky Warehouse here.

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Lorraine Collier, head of marketing at Wacky Warehouse, said: “We pride ourselves in being a central part of the local community, and we know how costly the back to school season can be for so many – especially in the current economic climate.

“That’s why we’ve launched our school uniform donation scheme to help families with the annual expenditure this year. To donate, simply head to your local Wacky Warehouse and drop your unused or pre-loved uniforms at the designated donation stations and we’ll take care of the rest.”

Local charities

There are a number of organisations who provide ways to donate school uniforms, and then make them available for low or no cost. In London, Recycle School Uniform CIC collects school uniform and re-sells it at an affordable price, while the School Uniform Bank provides donation bins, aiming to reduce textile waste by reusing uniforms.

There may also be a charity near you providing ways to donate and recycle old school uniforms.

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Check with your local school and see if it runs a take-back scheme

Many schools offer take-back schemes, allowing parents to donate old school uniforms at the end of the year, which are then sold on at a reduced price to others.

Check if your local school has a scheme like this going. If it doesn’t, you might even be able to get one going with other parents.

We’ve got a full explainer on how to find cheap school uniform here, with a range of local charities and grants providing much-needed support.

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