Mayor urges families to avail of school uniform recycling schemes

Mayor urges families to avail of school uniform recycling schemes

Mon, July 24, 2023

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens is encouraging families to make use of local school uniform recycling schemes.  

The cost of school uniforms is a heavy burden for many families, especially when households are already struggling with the increased cost of food and energy.

Councillor Steven Callaghan said: “Some 1.4 million wearable school uniforms are thrown away each year in the UK. by reusing school uniform items that still have life in them you are doing your bit for the environmental as well as easing the burden on your wallet.  

“There are a number of schools, churches and community organisations running pre-loved school uniform exchanges and sales over the summer months and I’d encourage families to check out their local school uniform recycling scheme first before they think about buying new uniform items.”

This sentiment is echoed by Ricky Wright - chair of the Anti-Poverty Steering Group for Causeway Coast and Glens and chief executive of Vineyard Compassion - who said: “Research in Northern Ireland by the Parents Engagement Group states the average cost of a primary school uniform is £173 and post primary £378.

“Many families on low incomes will struggle to afford this due to the rising costs of living and impact of decisions like the Holiday Hunger payments scrapped for families on free school meals. With so many essential costs to prioritise, families can feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn for help. It’s therefore great to see so many local organisations providing help for local families.”

Samantha Boswell, manager of Community Advice Causeway and vice-chair of the Anti-Poverty Steering Group, also highlighted that assistance is available through the Education Authority’s Uniform Allowance scheme.

“Applications for the upcoming academic year for Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance are now open and we’d encourage families to get in touch with us at Community Advice Causeway if you need help to apply,” she added.

“The Uniform Allowance is a great help to many, but it usually won’t cover the full cost of a new uniform, so also getting some pre-loved items is a great idea. The pre-loved uniform scheme should be seen as a good option for all families with school-aged children, given the current cost of living. We can use it to save money for other essentials and to reduce waste. Also, don’t forget to re-donate items that are still in good condition when your children have outgrown them.”

Details of the pre-loved school uniform schemes that are operating can be found at the following link -

The Department of Finance #GoONNI is hosting digital clinics in libraries across Northern Ireland to provide parents with support for applying. Details of where and when the clinics are taking place can be found here:

For more information about Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance, visit the Free School Meals and Uniform Allowance page on the Education Authority website #EAFSMU

ClothesSmart is a Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council initiative aiming to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of buying clothes – including school uniforms.  We want to encourage life-long care and reduce waste to landfill by giving unwanted clothes and textiles a new lease of life through donation and recycling. 

You can find more details at the LiveSmart section of Council's website

For information to support with food, energy and financial advice, check out Council’s information hub 

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghan pictured with Tracey Nicholl, Deaconess in St James' Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney and Pamela Stinson, Elder of St James’ Presbyterian Church.