Schools across Dundee are developing ways of recycling and reusing uniforms to help struggling parents – and the environment.
Projects being run in various schools in the city have an eco focus, helping parents to cut down on clothing waste, while offering a vital lifeline to families in crisis at the same time.
Around one in three children at Dundee schools need grants to pay for their uniform, as previously reported, and with that figure expected to rise, many schools are looking at creative ways of offering support.
Eco approach takes away ‘any stigma’
Some facilities, including Camperdown Primary School, on Buttar’s Street, have set up a “bring and take” clothing rail and encourage staff and families to donate clothing their children no longer need and take an item which could be of use to them in return.
Fiona Low, education officer at Dundee City Council, said: “The clothes are washed and in good condition and everyone is encouraged to take one, leave one or swap items.
“It’s an eco approach, focused on reusing clothes and reducing waste to become inclusive and take away any stigma.”
St Joseph’s Primary School and Victoria Park Primary School, which share a campus on Glenagnes Road, have a similar system which they call Zero Waste West End.
And Morgan Academy, at the other end of the city on Forfar Road, have a dedicated room of uniform clothing, The Wardrobe.
Fiona said: “The clothes there are gathered through a variety of means – parents bring stuff in that their kids have outgrown, staff will donate clothes, some of it is bought new using money from the pupil equity fund.
“Ties which are left in PE and other lost property is also added and anyone who needs to use the wardrobe, it’s done in a discreet way.
“Kids who might come into school without a uniform, or certain items, can go to the wardrobe and they can keep whatever they have needed to take that day.
“They used to have a uniform pass so if they were missing items they would have to carry a pass around and show all the teachers but the wardrobe has taken that away and the stigma of that.”
Other schools across the city also have their own approaches such as pop-up shops with recycled clothing at school events and blazer recycling systems.
Many offer basic uniform as opposed to badge specific items, increasing affordability for new items, and most have opted for affordable materials instead of more traditional wool items.
Every pupil in Dundee is required to have access to affordable school clothing as specified in the nationwide Cost of the School Day Action Plan, introduced earlier this year.