Cash boost for pre-loved uniforms initiative

A charity that recycles school uniforms will extend its reach to more families after being gifted £1,250 by the Allied Vehicles Charitable Trust.

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Donna Henderson came up with the idea for what is now Glasgow’s Pre-Loved Uniforms six years ago

Donna Henderson came up with the idea for what is now Glasgow’s Pre-Loved Uniforms six years ago when she won a Kelvin College community achievement award.

As part of that course the mum of three boys at Balornock Primary approached their head teacher about holding a “school uniform event” and, was told although told a similar previous exercise hadn’t worked, the school would help in any way it could.

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Donna sent out a questionnaire to parents asking if they would donate uniforms and if they would use “pre-loved” sets of clothing.

She said: “I got 22 replies and the answers were positive, so I asked parents to bring their kids’ old uniforms into school.

“Over the space of one week I went home with two massive bags full. I took them to The Wee Steamie laundrette across from my house and got them washed for free by Harp the owner.”

The uniforms went on display at a Marie Curie fundraiser and were immediately scooped up by parents.

That was early in 2017 and was followed by a donation of ex-display school shirts from Tesco in Shettleston, when Donna started a Facebook page that saw the formation of Balornock Uniform Bank.

She wrote to every primary school head in the G21 area, and from there her initiative began to grow dramatically.

Donna said: “I was approached by the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs (UnLtd) regarding funding to set up a social enterprise, and received just over £3000.

“Instead of working from my home, Friends of Springburn Park offered me the Portakabin they had in the community village.

"After getting a board together we changed the name to North Glasgow Uniform Bank and continued to grow, supporting families outside of the area, including partnership schools.

“In 2020 we gained charitable status becoming Glasgow’s Pre-Loved Uniforms and now work with 29 schools from Drumchapel to Easterhouse, the Gorbals to Castlemilk and three Co-op stores. Our uniforms are still laundered and free, and we operate on a non-referral basis.”

The charity also helps the environment by stopping quality school uniforms going to landfill.

Donna added: “Now that everything is rising in price, families are going to struggle more which means we will be in even more demand.

“We will continue to support families and look to linking up with more organisations and supermarkets to get uniforms out into communities across the city.

“Allied Vehicles Charitable Trust’s very kind donation will help us to keep the service going and able to reach out to even more families .”

Gerry Facenna, owner and chair of Allied Vehicles Group, said: “When we launched charitable trust we wanted to help groups that made a difference to their local communities, and Glasgow’s Pre-Loved Uniforms is a fantastic example of that.

“Donna’s tale of building up Glasgow’s Pre-Loved Uniforms into the local powerhouse it is today is an inspirational one for others.”