A UNIFORM recycle scheme has provided hundreds of children with school uniforms before the new academic year.

The Uniform Recycle Scheme run by Citizens Advice Denbighshire has provided about 900 children in Denbigh, Ruthin and Rhyl with discounted school uniforms ahead of the new academic year.

The scheme started in Denbigh in 2015 with the aim of collecting ‘good as new’ uniforms that have outgrown by their owners by the end of the academic year to be washed, pressed and packaged, and then provided at a discounted price to low-income families with one or more children who will be attending school for the next academic year.

The scheme required a £1 subscription from parents to take part, which contributed to the costs of washing, pressing and packaging.

The Denbigh branch carried out fundraising at Morrisons in Denbigh that raised £400, alongside crucial donations from Denbigh town council and Denbigh Rotary Club. The money was used to buy new blazers costing £29-£35 that were then sold for £15. Parents are then able to retrieve their £15 if the uniform is returned in good condition at the end of the academic year, to be given to another family.

Due to the scheme’s success it was rolled out in Ruthin and Rhyl for the first time this summer, which has increased the number of families that can access the uniform recycle. It is hoped the scheme will become available county-wide within coming years.

Winnie Lawson, scheme organiser for Citizens Advice Denbighshire, said: “This is a scheme to help low-income families and their kids.

“We have seen a change this year as there are far more people on low-income families that are accessing the scheme.

“This is because we have rephrased the scheme as ‘recycling’ rather than second-hand as it helps to take the stigma away. Parents are worried about the way they might be seen by accessing the scheme.

“It is just crazy that someone would buy a blazer, use it for 12 months and get rid of it. Why not pass it on to another child?

“The uniforms are as good as new and, anyway, they’re only really new on the first day of school. On day two, recycled uniforms are like any other. That is why we make sure the uniforms are washed and pressed and look like new on the first day.

“Our social media pages have been full of comments from parents who are positive about the scheme.

“There are fantastic areas in the county but there are also pockets of poverty, so we are hoping to extend the scheme again next year and eventually cover all of Denbighshire.”

Chris Ruane, MP for the Vale of Clywd, said: “I would like to pay tribute to Winnie Lawson and all those involved for helping create such as worthwhile scheme,” said Chris Ruane MP for Vale of Clwyd.

“To have assisted around 900 children in total to access lower cost uniforms is a fantastic achievement.

“This is not only a great way of people accessing uniforms at a lower cost but it’s also an excellent way of recycling."

For more information on the Uniform Recycle Scheme call Citizens Advice Denbighshire on 01745 334568.