New Uniform Exchange to support families in Erith

For many families, keeping up with the constant demand for school uniform can be a struggle. 

At Christ Church, Erith, a new uniform swap is hoping to make things a little easier for families in the area.

Jacki Clements, the new project worker for the church, says the idea came about after one of her regular trips to the local primary school, where she helps pick up her granddaughter:

"My grand-daughter goes to Christ Church (Erith) C of E Primary School.

"I noticed the huge amount of lost property in the school. When I asked what would happen to unclaimed items I was told that they would be disposed of.

"This gave me the idea of starting a clothing exchange, Erith is a relatively deprived area and many families struggle. The school was very happy to help."

She publicised the event on the church's social media pages and with leaflets given out at the school. Parents with any outgrown uniforms were invited to donate items to the swap.

Soon, Jacki's washing machine was working on overtime and her first Uniform Swap took place in the church on Friday 21 January, just after the school run. 

"Everyone is invited to come and take whatever uniform they need, no costs involved. They can also stay for a cup of tea and a biscuit."

Jacki says she is delighted with how the first swap went and now plans to run them on a monthly basis.

"We had a number of happy mums on our first morning and loads of donations - some clothes still with tags on! Our next date is the 21 February"

Beverley Gardner, Chief Executive Officer of the Trinitas Academy Trust, of which Christ Church (Erith) C of E Primary School is a part, said on twitter:

"Thank you so much for doing this for our @trinitasacademy  school. I really appreciate the difference you’re making for our families."

Jacki is one of the new project workers funded by the Strategic Development Fund grant the Diocese received last year. The School Uniform Exchange is just one of number of projects Jacki hopes to run to encourage more people to engage with the Church

Having lived in the area for 36 years and brought up her children here, Jacki says she is aware of the challenges and rewards it brings: 

"We have a wonderful spacious resource in our midst and I feel that everyone should be able to access this. We are planning to implement this through several initiatives, and the School Uniform Exchange is just one of those ideas."




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