This summer marks the fifth year of ROC’s School Uniform Project helping families across Greater Belfast. Since starting in West Belfast in 2019, the project has expanded to five areas – Ballybeen, Glengormley, West Belfast, Ballysillan and Lower North Belfast – and has provided hundreds of children with uniforms for the new school year.
The project brings together ROC Action Groups, volunteers from local churches and community groups, 20 Danske Bank staff members, and local businesses in a collaborative effort to collect and distribute free school uniforms. Donations of pre-loved uniforms and a generous contribution of new items from ASDA Dundonald allow the project to help families save money and keep textiles out of landfills.
From July 18th to August 4th, pop-up uniform shops will open in church halls across the five areas. Volunteers will act as personal shoppers to welcome families and help them find the items they need – the only questions asked are what school the child attends and what size is needed. Uniforms are provided completely free of charge.
So far this summer, the project has already helped 318 children, with many more expected to receive uniforms in the coming weeks. Families of all backgrounds take advantage of the service, including full-time workers, single parents, grandparents, asylum seekers, and more. Any leftover items are passed on to schools and other uniform schemes.
The average cost of school uniforms in Northern Ireland is £173 for primary school and £378 for secondary, not including extras like PE kits and stationery. For families on tight budgets, these costs can add pressure. The ROC School Uniform Project aims to relieve this pressure and ensure all children have what they need to start the school year off right.
With community spirit and collaboration at its heart, the ROC School Uniform Project continues to grow and make a difference for local families. To learn more, visit https://www.rocnorthernireland.com/school-uniform-project.