A NEW group which helps families struggling to kit out their children in school uniform is appealing for help to find a new location to store donations.

The Shipley Area School Uniform Bank, a non-profit voluntary project, opened for urgent referrals earlier this month and has already been able to help those in need.

The group collects donations from the community, both used and new items, which are then washed, quality checked, stored and entered into a database.

It operates a referrals system as a way to ease financial strain for those who may be struggling to purchase uniform items for their children.

While the bank will run as a pilot project for the 2018/19 academic year, it’s hoped it will flourish into a long-term sustainable venture.

Dawn Coleman, who is part of the uniform bank, said the cost of a full kit of uniform for primary and secondary schools can run into hundreds of pounds.

Schools, community centres, religious organisations, health visitors and other organisations which work with families are able to make a confidential referral to the project.

A form is filled out, which does not ask for identifying details apart from which school the child attends, their year, house or group if applicable, which items they need and in what sizes.

If the bank can then fulfil the referral, the form is sent back to the referring agency along with the requested items which will then be passed on to the family.

If it is unable to fulfil the referral, the request is then added to a waiting list.

Dawn said the bank has already had some emergency referrals and that prices going up and the number of items needed for a uniform can play a part in why people may need help. She welcomed the response from the community.

“It has been really positive from the schools themselves,” she said.

“We’ve had school teachers donating storage boxes. All the churches have been really positive

“The schools think it’s brilliant.”

She said the bank has counted over 800 pieces, but estimates there is more than that.

Going into the winter, donations like coats and jumpers will be welcomed. Items like tights will also be needed, but only brand new donations of such pieces will be accepted.

The group is now looking for a new room, with electricity, to store and sort new donations.

Volunteers would like to access it once a week - Wednesday is a must - but it does not need to be accessible to the general public and they are willing to discuss costs.

For more information or to get in touch with the group, search for the Shipley Area School Uniform Bank on Facebook.

Donation points are located at: Windhill Community Centre, St Paul’s Parish Church, Shipley, Kirkgate Community Centre, Incommunities Community Hub, The Quays, Shipley, Shipley Salvation Army and St Cuthbert’s, Wrose.