New Horsham shop provides FREE prom dresses and suits for teenage school leavers
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The shop – Prom Dreams in West Street – provides free prom dresses and suits for local school students.
It is the brainchild of mum and nursery worker Emma Green, 36, and her partner James White.
“The idea came because I saw a post on Facebook from a single parent asking if anybody had anything for their child as they couldn’t afford anything for them to wear for their prom,” said Emma.
“I thought about how expensive it is with the dress/suit, hair, make up, transport etc and how these outfits would only be used once then put to the back of a wardrobe.”
She put out a plea for donations of any dresses or suits and received a huge response. “We now have an amazing collection of both suits and dresses, shoes and accessories,” she said.
Any families who want to access the shop need to make an appointment as it is not open all the time. Referrals are also made by schools and social workers.
Emma and James first launched the service in Brighton in 2019 but it was halted by the Covid pandemic. After moving to Horsham, they set up a similar service last year but are now keen to expand and help even more teenagers and their families.
Last year, the service had support from Swan Walk who provided a unit and helped with storage. Now they are set to help even more with their new shop which is opposite Poundland in West Street.
“The public have been amazing with donations,” said Emma. “We have a couple of drop off locations as our shop isn’t open all the time – appointments are usually after school times late afternoon or weekends. But we have some great people helping us with taking in donations – The Holbrook Club, Horsham, and All That Glitters inside Swan Walk.”
She added: “It’s a totally free service and gives families that can’t afford to go to high market Prom shops the same experience.
“People can come and try on and pick a dress/suit/shoes/bag/accessories and they then can have this to wear on their prom night for free – but we do ask for it to be returned so it can go to help someone for the next year.”
Now Emma and volunteer helper Dawn Mallinson are aiming to help even more teenagers’ dreams come true without pressure on their families’ finances, especially in view of the cost of living crisis.
"We try to run our service completely on donations to help families that most need it – prom is a huge part of a teenager’s life leaving school and everybody should feel special for this night.”
Neither Emma nor Dawn get paid for running the service and have set up a fundraiser to cover costs such as preparing the unit, painting, rails etc.
See GoFundMe: https://bit.ly/3V3nmpF
Anyone who wants to make an appointment can message via Facebook or email [email protected]