Uniform Exchange reduces landfill and eases cost of living
published on 5 Jul 2022
A kind-hearted teen is encouraging pupils to donate their old school uniforms to help reduce landfill and provide clothing for families that are struggling due to the rising cost of living.
Bertie Grills, 14, who is a junior soldier at Mirfield Salvation Army in West Yorkshire, worked with the School Council, which he sits on, and teachers to bring donation boxes to Mirfield Free Grammar School.
The Salvation Army is distributing the donations alongside Huddersfield based charity Uniform Exchange. Since January, The Salvation Army hub has provided 28 families – a total of 37 children - with school uniform. Uniform Exchange has given out 606 school uniforms since April.
Bertie said: “I wanted to take part because it's right that everyone should have access to the correct uniform whether they can afford it or not.
“It’s also important that we protect our planet by not sending uniforms to landfill that could be reused and recycled. We are killing our planet and everything we do counts. Uniform Exchange is a way that we can make a difference.
“The Mirfield Free Grammar and its students, by donating uniforms and using the service, are making a valuable contribution to our community and the environment."
Mirfield Salvation Army collects donations from the donation points at its hall in Huddersfield Road as well as at the school, Mirfield Library and the Forget Me Not Charity shop on Station Road.
Uniforms are collected for Mirfield Free Grammar as well as Battyeford CE (VC) Primary, Crossley Fields School, Crowlees CE (C) Junior and Infant School, Hopton Primary, Old Bank Academy, and Castle Hall Academy.
Salvation Army Community Mission Facilitator Sheena Grills, who is Bertie’s mum, said: “It's fantastic to see Bertie taking a lead on this, promoting the benefits of the charity and the partnership with The Salvation Army, in reusing and recycling school uniform to prevent these items going to landfill and helping those in financial hardship with the rising costs of school uniform.
“Mirfield Free Grammar are promoting the service within the school in the weeks before and after each half-term holiday to generate donations. Although we have received donations of uniform from the school, we still need more to fulfil the requests of uniform for students.
“We sort, wash and organise the items so that we have stock from each of the five primary and two secondary schools in Mirfield. When we receive requests via the website, these items are selected, packaged up and taken to the delivery point.”
Sheena said that requests are starting to increase as the cost of living crisis bites and people struggle with their bills.
Having partnered with Uniform Exchange, of the 28 families supported, 25 of those were in May and June showing how the need has started to increase in the last few weeks.
Sheena added: “We are getting busier which shows that the need is there but thanks to great partnership working we are able to fulfil that and support more people in our community.”
According to Uniform Exchange, each year Kirklees children create approximately 400 tonnes of used uniform. The charity collects approx. 40 tonnes and gives away about 20 tonnes.
Kate France, Founder and Project Director at Uniform Exchange, said: “We’re really grateful for the support that Bertie and The Salvation Army are giving to the Uniform Exchange. There are many families across Kirklees who no longer receive a school uniform grant and benefit from the generosity of donations.
“By recycling old school uniform we can bridge the gap and help families send their children to school in proper uniform, saving costs for the family, as well as prevent clothing from being sent to landfill.”