Maidstone top of the class for free school uniform

published on 25 Aug 2022

As the summer holidays draw to a close, parents in Maidstone can still take advantage of free school uniform at the Salvation Army church.

Throughout the holidays people have been able to come and choose donated new and used uniform and stationery for free and collect new toys for future birthdays and Christmases. 

Captain Marion Rouffet, who leads the church and charity in Maidstone said: “We started collecting uniform last summer and distributed this directly to families via Early help and Social Services. We have had refreshments available, so those coming can sit down and rest or chat with volunteers.

“The important thing in setting this up is to support people with the cost of uniforms and give an opportunity to put things away for Christmas or birthdays, taking some of the anxiety out of the winter months. 

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The Salvation Army is stepping up to support people in Maidstone with the cost of school uniforms

“None of us know what the impact of the coming energy prices and inflation will look like for people in real terms, but we know that in our community people are anxious about money and many are already struggling.”

“Giving people giving opportunities to plan for the coming months, is one way of ensuring dignity in a difficult situation.”

Carole Dodd, a volunteer, said: “This is just our second year, and we are very much learning as we go, but if we can just help a few families, then I feel it is very worthwhile.”

She added: “Branded uniform is very costly in this area, and I am concerned for the finances and well-being of families under such pressure, with everything going up. Also, it is better to recycle uniforms than many items going into landfill. We are very blessed here in Maidstone with so many lovely volunteers that have come onboard with this project.”

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Stationery is also available

One woman, who has taken advantage of the service said: “Everyone was so welcoming to us and any insecurities we had about being there quickly vanished.

“I was lucky enough to get a school coat and bag for my daughter, as well as a couple of presents for her birthday in October. I was also lucky enough to pick up socks and all the stationery needed for my son to do his GCSE coursework in September.”

“My eldest daughter could not make the event, but we were fortunate to be able to pick up some Christmas presents to put away for her little one on her behalf. This will help immensely.”

The last event this summer takes place on 31st August from 10am till 2.30pm at the Maidstone Salvation Army Church and Community Centre, 74-80 Union Street, Maidstone, ME14 1ED

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