Residents buy school uniforms for struggling families

Linda Russell, Donna Squires, Penny Baillie and Julia Grindley work for the 'Edinburgh School Uniform Bank. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Linda Russell, Donna Squires, Penny Baillie and Julia Grindley work for the 'Edinburgh School Uniform Bank. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Hundreds of Edinburgh residents have rallied to help buy uniforms for children in need who are starting school in August.

The adopt a school uniform campaign was launched by charity Edinburgh School Uniform Bank which aims to promote pride, dignity and self-esteem by providing uniforms for children from families experiencing poverty.

Up and running for two years, this is the biggest response the charity has had, which volunteer Donna Squires, 52, said is down to the “connection” the campaign has created between donators and the very real needs of children in the city.

“We put the message out on our Facebook page on Friday and hundreds of people responded, with people offering to adopt a uniform,” Donna explained. “We often worry about not having enough stuff to make up the referrals we receive and this is the first time we’ve had such an overwhelming response.

“We’ve hit a chord – it’s created that connection where people know they’re helping a local child.”

The charity is run by seven volunteers, who match someone who has pledged support with an anonymous child.

“We do not directly work with the recipient,” added Donna. “They must come through an official referral line such as a health visitor, food bank worker or social worker, or care professional.”

Those wishing to donate are given the age and gender of the child they have been matched with and buy 
uniform, other clothing, equipment and supplies for the kids, aged four to 17.

Donna said: “The families we aim to help often struggle to clothe and feed their children, and for many a new school uniform is out of reach.

“We want to help the poorest children in our society go to school with some dignity and with the right kit to get the most out of their education.”

The charity has felt the swell of support from across the city, with clothes drop-off points being set up from 
Murrayfield to Murrayburn, Sighthill to Portobello and Currie to Bruntsfield.

The volunteers – Donna Squires, Linda Russell, Penny Baillie, Louise Kowalska, Julia Grindley, Alex Campbell and Hayley Mcdougall – who run the operation from their own homes, have been touched by how engaged the whole city has become in the aims of the charity.

Donna said: “It really has touched the hearts of the people of Edinburgh. It has been really amazing – the 
generosity is beyond our expectations. We do put hard work into what we do and there is often a lot of emotional stuff that happens.

“In the past we have had to personally pay for extra bits and pieces because there has not been enough to go round.

“But this time it is happy tears. We have enough to give to every single child who has been referred.”

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