The summer holidays can be expensive for families. Whether it’s because you’re entertaining your children or grandchildren with trips and days out, or you’re paying for extra meals and snacks, the costs can easily add up!

However one of the most expensive parts of the summer holidays for many families is planning for when they end. Getting the kids ready to go back to school in September isn’t always easy, as they grow quickly – and a lot of parents find that, by the end of August, they’ve outgrown last year’s school uniform!

With a lot of schools requesting that parents buy their children specially branded items directory from their shops, some families might find it a struggle to pay for a new set of clothes.

Luckily, the Community School Clothing Scheme is here to help. The charity was founded by Freema Chambers in 2017, in an effort to help families facing poverty across North Tyneside. She was inspired by her own struggle to pay for school uniform:

‘My son damaged all of his school trousers, and I had no money to buy new trousers – even from a supermarket. I had a chat with the teacher because I had to send him to school with his jogging bottoms on, and this sparked a conversation about uniform poverty.’

Freema and her dedicated team of volunteers manage multiple sites across North Tyneside, where families can go along to pick up essential items at no cost. 

Alongside school uniform pieces and accessories, such as coats, school shoes, and lunchboxes, the charity provides everything a child will need from the preschool stage – including children’s books and fancy dress costumes. 

‘We service thousands of families, who get school uniforms for free. Collectively, this saves them roughly £60,000 a year.’

The charity also provides a free nursery loan service, where families can loan out items such as prams, cots, and other nursery furniture. This means that expecting parents don’t need to spend a lot of money on things that they might not use for long as their baby grows.

Freema says, ‘Absolutely anyone can come to us – there aren’t any restrictions, and you don’t have to be in receipt of Universal Credit. This scheme not only saves families a lot of money, but it’s also a fantastic environmental initiative. It prevents thousands of items from going into landfill when they’re still perfectly good to use!’

If you’d like to donate, school uniform banks have been set up across North Tyneside. 

Visit the Community School Clothing Scheme’s website to find out more:


Lauren Wilson – Roundabout Publications Writer