Huge response to free uniform scheme

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Two Derry mothers running a free school uniform scheme for parents who may need a “little bit of help” have been inundated with donations and requests.

One of the mothers has revealed that since setting up the initiative at the start of August she’s been contacted by 47 people asking for a helping hand getting their children ready for the new term.

“It’s really needed. This year we started it from the start of August but even from then we have had 47 requests from people needing uniforms,” said the woman.

The coordinators have asked not to be named because they feel that in a small city like Derry this could discourage some people from asking for help.

Anonymity, they believe, will allow them to handle requests for aid discreetly.

“We listen to their stories and it’s heartbreaking. Even if you got two shirts for somebody you can see how grateful they are. It’s people who are working too. It’s affecting everybody the way things are going.

“It’s not just people who are lone parents or are on benefits. This is people who are working. People who don’t get any help with transport, free school meals, nothing. The stress is there for people who are working. It’s not just for people on benefits.

“We had a single dad who got in touch and he was just so grateful. He couldn’t have said thank you anymore than he did, just for a blazer,”

If you want to recycle some old school uniforms and be part of a brilliant and resourceful community initiative you can drop them off at a range of locations until the end of next week. These include: Northside Shopping Centre, Shantallow Community Centre, On Street Community Youth, Dove House, Rathmór, The Old library Trust, Hillcrest House, Eglinton Variety Store, and at Karen Mullan’s, Mark H. Durkan’s and Gary Middleton’s constituency offices. The scheme can be contacted on twitter @freeuniformsch1 and on Facebook @Freeuniformscheme