Lancashire TelegraphBlackburn mums set up ‘lifeline’ service to sell unwanted cheap uniforms (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Blackburn mums set up ‘lifeline’ service to sell unwanted cheap uniforms

Lancashire Telegraph: AFFORDABLE Rachel Rhodes, left, and Caroline Fotios of Mum’s The Word AFFORDABLE Rachel Rhodes, left, and Caroline Fotios of Mum’s The Word

TWO mums have launched a uniform exchange to help parents struggling to buy schoolwear.

Rachel Rhodes and Caroline Fotios have set up charitable organisation Mum’s The Word.

They recently set up a temporary ‘pop-up shop’ at St Thomas’s CE Primary School, Blackburn, selling uniforms for minimal prices to parents.

And they said they are desperate to get a van to offer a mobile outreach service for families in the harder to reach areas of the East Lancashire area.

Mum-of-three Rachel, 43, of Roe Lee Park, Blackburn, said: “I don’t know how parents are expected to fork out so much money on uniforms.

“Things are getting really tough and there will be a growing need for this service.

The number of referrals we receive is increasing all the time.

“The families we help are so grateful for the service. It’s a lifeline for some.

“In some cases if pupils don’t turn up with the right uniform on, they are turned away.

“There are some schools that have generic pants, shorts and jumpers, but a lot, especially secondary schools, have logos on everything and it’s expensive.”

Rachel, Caroline and six helpers, who work on a voluntary basis, keep the service running.

She said: “You can easily pay £200 on a child’s uniform.

“Many parents I spoke to said they just binned their children’s uniform when they had finished with it or when they had outgrown it.

“It seemed ridiculous so I put clothes baskets at all the children’s centres in Blackburn with Darwen and in lots of the schools.

“Mum’s The Word takes all the unwanted uniforms and offers a one-stop shop, offering infant school pants for 50p, and senior blazers with logos from £12 – which is half the price of a new one.”

The idea started as a pilot in Blackburn with Darwen, which has now been rolled out across East Lancashire.

Blackburn with Darwen Council said it plans to stop the discretionary clothing grant to help families on low incomes buy uniforms. In 2012/13, more than 5,000 grants were awarded.

Lancashire County Council scrapped school clothing grants in 2006, which were made at the discretion of local authorities to help with the cost of uniform for pupils attending state-maintained schools.

To contact Mum’s The Word call Rachel on 07856 897 673.

Comments (9)

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4:35pm Tue 12 Feb 13

the usher says...

What a brilliant idea. Well done ladies for your thought and efforts. Why has nobody thought of this simle idea before. I hope it goes from strength to strength.
What a brilliant idea. Well done ladies for your thought and efforts. Why has nobody thought of this simle idea before. I hope it goes from strength to strength. the usher
  • Score: 5

5:34pm Tue 12 Feb 13

pwei73 says...

The Schools should be doing this it would be a great idea.
The Schools should be doing this it would be a great idea. pwei73
  • Score: 5

7:18pm Tue 12 Feb 13

katypri says...

why not bring in a more affordable uniform, skirt/pants and polo shirt no badges then these can be bought cheap and jumper or cardigan, get rid of tie shirts and blazers and badges, they wear the tie as if it is a scarf anyway. bring skirts down to the knee and the problem solved
why not bring in a more affordable uniform, skirt/pants and polo shirt no badges then these can be bought cheap and jumper or cardigan, get rid of tie shirts and blazers and badges, they wear the tie as if it is a scarf anyway. bring skirts down to the knee and the problem solved katypri
  • Score: 1

10:07pm Tue 12 Feb 13

2 for 5p says...

katypri wrote:
why not bring in a more affordable uniform, skirt/pants and polo shirt no badges then these can be bought cheap and jumper or cardigan, get rid of tie shirts and blazers and badges, they wear the tie as if it is a scarf anyway. bring skirts down to the knee and the problem solved
Better still do away with uniforms .
All uniforms do is stiffle a persons freedom of expression.
[quote][p][bold]katypri[/bold] wrote: why not bring in a more affordable uniform, skirt/pants and polo shirt no badges then these can be bought cheap and jumper or cardigan, get rid of tie shirts and blazers and badges, they wear the tie as if it is a scarf anyway. bring skirts down to the knee and the problem solved[/p][/quote]Better still do away with uniforms . All uniforms do is stiffle a persons freedom of expression. 2 for 5p
  • Score: -2

10:10am Wed 13 Feb 13

ossym says...

2 for 5p wrote:
katypri wrote:
why not bring in a more affordable uniform, skirt/pants and polo shirt no badges then these can be bought cheap and jumper or cardigan, get rid of tie shirts and blazers and badges, they wear the tie as if it is a scarf anyway. bring skirts down to the knee and the problem solved
Better still do away with uniforms .
All uniforms do is stiffle a persons freedom of expression.
I thought the idea was to give all kids an even start, and not be victimised for what their parents can afford to dress them in, avoiding an arms race between kids/parents for trendiest/most expensive gear.

Do schools not get a kick back (or paid for an exclusive right to use schools logo), the expensive prices from "authorised" distributors are paid for by those who can least afford.

Well done ladies, (especially Rachel- very yummy mummy).


PS Until recently our Doctors had a new phone system put in, so that every time you rang (even if engaged) the caller got charged. Nice touch, more money for the doctors/ phone operators from people who can least afford, and may not able to keep redialling for an appointment.
[quote][p][bold]2 for 5p[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]katypri[/bold] wrote: why not bring in a more affordable uniform, skirt/pants and polo shirt no badges then these can be bought cheap and jumper or cardigan, get rid of tie shirts and blazers and badges, they wear the tie as if it is a scarf anyway. bring skirts down to the knee and the problem solved[/p][/quote]Better still do away with uniforms . All uniforms do is stiffle a persons freedom of expression.[/p][/quote]I thought the idea was to give all kids an even start, and not be victimised for what their parents can afford to dress them in, avoiding an arms race between kids/parents for trendiest/most expensive gear. Do schools not get a kick back (or paid for an exclusive right to use schools logo), the expensive prices from "authorised" distributors are paid for by those who can least afford. Well done ladies, (especially Rachel- very yummy mummy). PS Until recently our Doctors had a new phone system put in, so that every time you rang (even if engaged) the caller got charged. Nice touch, more money for the doctors/ phone operators from people who can least afford, and may not able to keep redialling for an appointment. ossym
  • Score: 1

8:52pm Wed 13 Feb 13

woodyads says...

A few things...

1. Schools certainly do not get a 'kick back' thank you very much.

2. A uniform serves a useful purpose; firstly, children whose family's cannot afford 'named' clothes don't feel left out when they come to school; secondly, it provides a sense of identity for the children to belong to the school.

3. Schools, the vast majority of primary schools anyway, do not object if you send your child in a plain sweater, as long as it matches the colour of the official uniform - so you don't necessarily have to buy the more expensive logo jumpers from the brand outlets like Whitakers, and can go to Asda instead. High school blazers though, are a different matter I'm afraid.
A few things... 1. Schools certainly do not get a 'kick back' thank you very much. 2. A uniform serves a useful purpose; firstly, children whose family's cannot afford 'named' clothes don't feel left out when they come to school; secondly, it provides a sense of identity for the children to belong to the school. 3. Schools, the vast majority of primary schools anyway, do not object if you send your child in a plain sweater, as long as it matches the colour of the official uniform - so you don't necessarily have to buy the more expensive logo jumpers from the brand outlets like Whitakers, and can go to Asda instead. High school blazers though, are a different matter I'm afraid. woodyads
  • Score: 0

11:34pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Jhelumrocks says...

Well done, keep up the good work
Well done, keep up the good work Jhelumrocks
  • Score: 0

9:48am Thu 14 Feb 13

ossym says...

woodyads wrote:
A few things...

1. Schools certainly do not get a 'kick back' thank you very much.

2. A uniform serves a useful purpose; firstly, children whose family's cannot afford 'named' clothes don't feel left out when they come to school; secondly, it provides a sense of identity for the children to belong to the school.

3. Schools, the vast majority of primary schools anyway, do not object if you send your child in a plain sweater, as long as it matches the colour of the official uniform - so you don't necessarily have to buy the more expensive logo jumpers from the brand outlets like Whitakers, and can go to Asda instead. High school blazers though, are a different matter I'm afraid.
1.
Why do schools only have official distributors for their uniform.
Many schools on e mail letter heads etc always seem to only have fuzzy/pixelated logos on, thus depriving the chance of free market competition.
2, Thats what I said, but when the uniform itself gets too expensive less well off families are put under stress to conform.

3.
The fact that the schools do not object does not help kids who are put under peer pressure for not having the "right" uniform.
The free market access to school logos would go some way to avoid that.
Whilst schools may not get a direct kick per sale, could you enlighten us on how schools come to appoint EXCLUSIVE distributor rights, does any money etc. change hands, and who gets it?

Absolute power....
[quote][p][bold]woodyads[/bold] wrote: A few things... 1. Schools certainly do not get a 'kick back' thank you very much. 2. A uniform serves a useful purpose; firstly, children whose family's cannot afford 'named' clothes don't feel left out when they come to school; secondly, it provides a sense of identity for the children to belong to the school. 3. Schools, the vast majority of primary schools anyway, do not object if you send your child in a plain sweater, as long as it matches the colour of the official uniform - so you don't necessarily have to buy the more expensive logo jumpers from the brand outlets like Whitakers, and can go to Asda instead. High school blazers though, are a different matter I'm afraid.[/p][/quote]1. Why do schools only have official distributors for their uniform. Many schools on e mail letter heads etc always seem to only have fuzzy/pixelated logos on, thus depriving the chance of free market competition. 2, Thats what I said, but when the uniform itself gets too expensive less well off families are put under stress to conform. 3. The fact that the schools do not object does not help kids who are put under peer pressure for not having the "right" uniform. The free market access to school logos would go some way to avoid that. Whilst schools may not get a direct kick per sale, could you enlighten us on how schools come to appoint EXCLUSIVE distributor rights, does any money etc. change hands, and who gets it? Absolute power.... ossym
  • Score: 0

11:21am Thu 14 Feb 13

haha2013 says...

When I went to primary school, the uniform was simply grey and could be bought from anywhere - only thing that 'belonged' to the school was the tie and they don't cost much. With 4 kids I'm sure my mum appreciated it. This year my daughter's primary school uniform must have cost over £80, my mum could have kitted 4 of us out with that. This is a great service offered by these two ladies - best of luck to you both!!
When I went to primary school, the uniform was simply grey and could be bought from anywhere - only thing that 'belonged' to the school was the tie and they don't cost much. With 4 kids I'm sure my mum appreciated it. This year my daughter's primary school uniform must have cost over £80, my mum could have kitted 4 of us out with that. This is a great service offered by these two ladies - best of luck to you both!! haha2013
  • Score: 2

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