A new life-changing website offering Stirling families free access to preloved school clothing has gone live.
Preloved school clothes

Stirling Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to host such an online shop, which offers an easy and anonymous way to source school uniforms at no cost.

Preloved clothing is the brainchild of Carol Laing, from the Council’s Parent and Family Support Team. With 19 per cent of children in the Stirling area living in poverty, she hopes that this online platform could reduce the stigma of seeking help sourcing new clothing for those in need.

All donations will be laundered and anonymised prior to dispatching, and clothes will be posted directly to the recipient’s home address for free.

Three phases of donations

The pre-loved clothing online platform will be carried out in three phases:

  • Phase One – School session 2019/2020 nurseries and primary schools.
  • Phase Two - School session 2020/2021 extending to high schools.
  • Phase Three – School session 2020/2021 where the service will begin to include prom dresses and prom suits.

The £8,000 project was approved by councillors at a meeting of Stirling Council earlier this year.

Convenor of the Children and Young People Committee, Councillor Susan McGill, said: “This new online platform is a welcome investment in our young people’s future.

“Access to clothing is an important part of helping children get the best from their education as uniforms encourage a sense of pride in students and equality with their fellow pupils. However, we know that providing a uniform for a child that can last the full year can be difficult, especially for large families.

"This is about giving all children and families equal opportunities no matter what their background, and I would like to congratulate Carol for not only having such a fantastic idea, but also for all the hard work she has put in to get the scheme up and running.”

Carol's labour of love

Carol Laing (46) has worked for the Council for five years. She developed her plan through a scheme called The Lens, which is run through large organisations across the UK, including Stirling Council, and helps employees develop ideas.

Last year’s winning project was Direct Funerals, which saw Cemeteries Officer Tam Rennie’s idea to make dignified funerals cheaper for all come to fruition.

After being successful with her own project this year, Carol pushed on with her proposal and was proud to see her vision become reality.

She said: “I got the idea after finding some of my own children’s school clothes in the back of the wardrobe, and I thought it was such a huge waste to throw them out when they were in such good condition. They hadn’t been worn and I wanted to put them to some use that would be of benefit to others who needed them.

“This online shop is one of a kind and is a universal service that is for every parent and family throughout Stirling, whatever their circumstances.

“The aim of the preloved School Clothes online shop is not only to reduce waste, but also to reduce the stigma around sourcing good quality school clothes. People don’t have to go out and buy brand new designer goods. There are quality clothes out there already waiting to be loved again.

“The community support has been phenomenal. This has been a huge labour of love for me and I am so proud to see the website go live. I really hope it makes a difference to a lot of people throughout Stirling.”

Donation Points

Donations of preloved school clothing can be made at the following donation points:

  • Allan Centre, Bridge of Allan.
  • Mayfield Centre, St. Ninians.
  • Customer First, Port Street, Stirling.

Unfortunately we cannot accept shoes, swimwear, underwear or clothes that are damaged, ripped, or heavily stained. Should any items be unsuitable then please return them in the packaging they were received in and re-donate at any of the donation points.

Vice Convener of the Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley, said: “School uniforms can be a significant cost to many families and this Stirling Council move could be life-changing for some.

“We are delighted to be one of the first local authorities to support the delivery of such a platform which helps to tackle poverty, inequality and reduce stigma.

“This underlines Stirling Council’s commitment to giving our young people the best possible learning experience.”

If you have any questions please email us.