Chichester school supports families through cost of living crisis

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A scheme aimed at supporting families at a Chichester primary school has gone from strength to strength as it nears its first anniversary.

Business manager Lorraine Orchard has been running the second-hand uniform shop at the St Richard’s Catholic Primary School since its launch in September last year.

Now in the face of the cost of living crisis the shop is helping to support families with uniform costs by making them cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

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“It’s going really well actually,” Lorraine said, “we also had it up-and-running in the school holiday which has been really really good.”

Business manager Lorraine Orchard and headteacher James FieldBusiness manager Lorraine Orchard and headteacher James Field
Business manager Lorraine Orchard and headteacher James Field

The shop was run by a parent at the school over the holidays to allow parents to prepare for the new school year.

Lorraine added: “The think I really like is all the money that we raise goes back into it. We have had fantastic reviews from parents. I think uniform can be really expensive – everything we sell is unisex and we have taken away a lot of logos with just one on a jumper or a cardigan and we have really cut our uniform list down to the core essentials.”

Each uniform item, from tights to winter coats, cost just £1, or 50p if parents donate items as well. Families who receive a free school meal also get their uniforms free-of-charge.

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Money raised is also put back into the shop with cash spent on bookbags for pupils in reception and subsidised leavers hoodies.

With the cost of living crisis gripping the country and energy prices soaring, the shop has been hailed as a lifeline for families.

Headteacher James Field said: “There is a bit more urgency to support families and families who may not have needed the support before.

"About three quarters of our families use it and there is no embarrassment around using it – and it’s good for the environment.

"The parish has been really supportive as well and have donated thousands – it has really been a great success.”