A group of Littlehampton town councillors has teamed up with Morrisons for the scheme, which will mean uniform can be swapped for free or bought for just 50p an item.
Mike Northeast, who represents Courtwick with Toddington ward on Arun District Council and Wickbourne on Littlehampton Town Council, said he had wanted to introduce a uniform swap for quite some time and it was thanks to Alison Whitburn, community champion at Morrisons Littlehampton, that it could now be launched.
“There has been a need for years, it is just a matter of finding someone to do it and find someone to support it,” he explained.
“The uniform exchange will not only help parents to get replacement school uniform for their kids, by exchanging uniform they have grown out of but is still in good condition, clean and with wear left in it, it will hopefully stop it going to landfill, so helping the environment.
“Ali has come along to support it and Morrisons to back it. Now, it will depend on how people use it. We do want it to be run ultimately by the mums and dads.”
The first event will be held outside Morrisons on Wednesday, August 25, from 2pm to 4pm, and it is expected the uniform swap will continue on a monthly basis. Any money raised will be donated to local primary schools.
Freddie Tandy, a town councillor and teacher at The Littlehampton Academy, said: “Brand new uniform is a huge outlay for most parents as schools reopen and as we all know, children love to grow continuously, meaning that it’s not even a once-a-year expense.
“The reality is a lot of the uniform that young people grow out of is often still in perfect quality and condition, so we really hope this swap shop scheme will not only help to reduce the financial burden of purchasing uniform but also ensure that we are being responsible in terms of the environment.”
Designed as a ‘swap shop’, the initiative will gather and collect good-quality uniform that families no longer need and make this available to other young people and their parents in the town, no questions asked.
A collection point is now available in Morrisons Littlehampton ahead of the first swap shop. Good-quality uniform items for all schools in the town, including shoes and football boots, can be donated at the customer service desk.
Mr Northeast said: “School uniforms can be a huge expense to parents even when we are not in a pandemic. This uniform exchange will be a great way of recycling good-quality kids’ uniforms and extending their useful life by offering them to other families instead of the unwanted clothes just ending up in landfill.
“A huge thanks to Morrisons for the active involvement they are taking in this, and if it proves a success and we get good feedback and help from parents there is no reason why they scheme shouldn’t be extended to daily clothes and even toys.”
The donated uniforms will be washed and cleaned by Morrisons before the swap shop to ensure high levels of hygiene and cleanliness.