Who can use the scheme?
Any family can avail of the scheme. The scheme is NOT means tested. This means that you don’t need to “qualify” or provide proof of income.
In fact, you are contributing to recycling by using the scheme. If a scheme is over-stocked (which is often the case) these uniforms may go to waste. It is much better that these items are collected and re-used by families.
What school uniforms are available?
Whatever uniforms are donated by people living in your area are available for re-use! This should cover all common schools in your area and potentially other less common ones. If your child needs a different, less common uniform for your area, then one of the other exchanges will be almost certain to have items.
Where are the exchanges?
The list is growing each year and details of each exchange can be found at our Collection Points https://antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/uniform/
When can I donate or collect items?
Each exchange is run by its own volunteers from the host organisation. They each operate their own opening days, times and patterns, particularly during the current pandemic. Please see the link below for more specific details and contact your nearest scheme directly for more information. https://antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/uniform/
Why recycle your pre-worn school uniform?
Waste in the production of uniforms is vast! There is waste and adverse environmental impacts from every stage of the complex manufacturing process that uses an extraordinary amount of electricity and water. Then after all this the child grows and a perfectly good uniform could go to waste often landfill just because it doesn’t fit that particular child any more. But what if there was a better way?
School uniforms can last a very long time if cared for and laundered using eco-friendly products rather than harsh chemicals and optical brighteners which can fade and strip away the colour and wear them out before their time.
If you have a child who has grown out of their uniform or no longer needs it why not do your bit for the environment and come to a community school uniform exchange to donate the uniform and to find another one that fits your child for this year?
I can afford to pay a little and I don’t want to take a uniform without donating something. How do I do this?
We understand that some people will wish to contribute or pay what they can. Of course, the easiest way is to exchange some of your previous uniform which your child has out-grown.
Some exchanges keep new items which can be bought at a reduced rate. Other schemes may accept monetary donations. This money doesn’t generate profit but goes back into the scheme or other community resource at the host organisation.
What details or records are kept?
None of your details are kept and nor should personal information be asked for.
We understand that it is very difficult for some people to use services like this. For this reason it is anonymous and non-means tested. For our council supported schemes, you do not need to explain your financial situation, nor should you be asked for proof of it. We understand that a family’s cash-flow problems can often be invisible to the outside world, brought on suddenly and may even be temporary. No family should be increasing their level of debt to get school uniforms. Also remember, by using the scheme, you are making a helpful recycling contribution!
Will my child’s school be informed?
No. The scheme is anonymous and your information is not held. There may be occasions when a school, which is sensitive to the needs of its pupils, may contact specific families and recommend the use of the scheme or simply advertise the scheme more widely via its own methods. However, this is down to the relationship between the school and its families. Your personal data or items you have collected will not be shared with anyone by the council supported exchanges.
Can I take items home for my child to try on?
In short, yes, but at the current time with the pandemic we try to discourage this. We do wholly accept that some parents do not want their child to believe the item is pre-worn. If you do need to return an item we just ask that the item is carefully washed and returned to a relevant scheme.
I don’t want to be seen going in to collect items. How do I avoid this?
Most exchanges are held in centres where there is generally other daily activities going on in different parts of the building. No one will know why you are going in. Also, remember, you may very well be going in to donate items.
I have a more specific question which isn’t covered here; who do I contact?
You can contact your nearest scheme or our council officer. See link below.