Our Impact June 2020 to September 2021
OUR MISSION We want to make great quality, second-hand, free school uniforms the first choice for families. Good quality school uniform is going to waste while many families struggle with the cost of buying new. Through Leeds School Uniform Exchange we make it easy for families to access great quality, second-hand uniform for free helping them save money whilst also being kinder to the planet.
ABOUT LEEDS SCHOOL UNIFORM EXCHANGE Social Business Brokers CIC brings people together to develop enterprising ways to tackle complex social problems. In June 2020, we launched Leeds School Uniform Exchange to make second hand school uniform the first choice in Leeds and to ensure children had the uniform they needed to help them get the best out of school. Following discussions with Leeds City Council and other stakeholders we began to understand how the cost of school uniform puts a huge pressure on families, how children often don’t have the uniform they need and how that affects their experience of school. We also understood how much of a problem textile waste is for our city and the significant carbon impact of clothing. We have created a range of resources to inspire and support people to set up school uniform exchanges. Now we want to help other cities and local authorities to do the same.
OUR VALUES COMMUNITY-LED COLLABORATIVE
Local practical circularity The linear model of 'take-make-usedispose' is causing big problems for the environment. We need to circulate existing resources, keeping them in use for as long as possible.
Affordability 29,660 children under 16 living in low income families in Leeds. 5,000 more children in Leeds became eligible for free school meals during the pandemic.
Community Financial insecurity, reduced social interaction, negative impact on wellbeing all increased during COVID-19.
4,000 tonnes of clothes end up in Leeds' black bins every year. School uniforms are contributing to this problem.
Environmental WHY WE CARE Impact
Educational outcomes Children are going to school without the right uniform so their experience of school is negatively affected.
" It's been a godsend. Last year I spent hundreds on school uniform and even when you shop around it all adds up and you find sometimes that they don't have everything that you need so yeah it's been absolutely amazing."
Harjit Koprowski Parent
OUR OBJECTIVES 01
To make sure every child has the uniform they need to make their experience at school the best it can be. To make second-hand school uniform the first choice for Leeds; to eliminate waste, circulate resources and reduce carbon emissions.
To bring people together; build strong, resilient communities who will support each other and share resources.
To take away the financial pressure school uniform puts on families by giving it away for free.
OUR ACTIONS INSPIRATION GUIDES We
Guides to make it as easy as possible
community groups and local people to set up exchanges.
IDENTIFIED GAPS ACROSS THE CITY
CREATED A DEDICATED WEBSITE
Identifed gaps, particularly in
Created a website with an
worked with local communities
uniform exchanges and a suite
to set up new exchanges and
of resources to help people to
helped to move uniform around
OUR ACTIONS POP UP SHOPS Over Summer 2021, we supported, promoted and helped to run 44 pop up shops across the city,
FACEBOOK GROUP Set up a Facebook group to help
experiences, learn from and inspire
donate/ acquire uniform.
BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN Created eye-catching and identifiable branding for the project. Shared campaign messages via local and national media including BBC Radio 5 Live, Yorkshire Live and BBC Newsround, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and WhatsApp groups.
POP-UP SHOPS SUMMER 2021
During Summer 2021, we supported, promoted and helped to run 44 school uniform reuse popup shops. It has been estimated that NEARLY 8,500 uniform items were given away, saving:
AROUND £144,000 Assuming the average uniform item cost from the Department for Education 'Cost of School Uniform' report.
1,700 KG POTENTIAL TEXTILE WASTE Assuming each item weighs roughly 200g.
30,600 KG CO2E Equivalent to the CO2 that would be produced from driving around the world 5.8 times.
IT E M S
OUR ACHIEVEMENTS in c r e a s e in f o l lowers o n a ll Z W L s o c ia l chann in t h e la e ls st 12 m onths
LOCAL, PRACTICAL AND CIRCULAR SOLUTIONS
The climate and biodiversity crisis means that we can no longer take and waste natural resources from the planet. Now more than ever before, we need to move from a linear ‘takemake-use-dispose’ model to a circular one where we reduce, reuse, repair and redistribute within cities. Leeds School Uniform Exchange is a great example of a local practical circular economy in action. We work with communities across the city to redistribute good quality uniform that already exist, creating a framework that makes it easy for this to happen on a large scale. We have shown that we can galvanize people around a simple concept and it works. Thousands of people across the city are now involved in practical, everyday circularity. Families are living more sustainably in stronger communities, saving money and together, having a significant environmental impact. It has also resulted in less textile waste and a reduction in the amount of new uniform created.
“Leeds CC is delighted to support the Leeds School Uniform Exchange scheme which is not only saving families money, but is playing a significant part in the city’s response to tackling climate change through reducing waste and avoiding further carbon use. I wish the scheme continued success . Thanks for all you are doing to support both Leeds families and the environment"
Tom Riordan Leeds City Council CEO
We've met some truly amazing people during our time at the uniform pop up shops over the summer. It's been particularly rewarding hearing just how much the uniform exchange has helped so many people during what has been a really challenging year.
A mother I spoke to had recently separated from her partner. With limited financial support she just couldn't afford new school uniform. From the exchange, she was able to find everything she needed for free so that her child didn't have to squeeze into last year's clothes.
Another family we met wanted to be more sustainable and decided to use our uniform exchange to teach their children that recycling and reusing uniform was better for the environment than buying new. This was music to our ears! The children were particularly excited to pick out their uniform.
Tracy Morgan, LSUE Coordinator
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT US
WHAT'S NEXT? Leeds School Uniform Exchange is easily scalable. With an impressive 70% of schools covered, there are still some gaps across the city that we are working to fill between now and the end of summer 2022. We designed Leeds School Uniform Exchange to be largely self-sustaining. From September 2022, our involvement will be minimal as the citywide infrastructure will be in place and properly embedded: Schools, community groups and online exchanges will have the resources and tools they need to continue Exchanges will be networked with each other and able to support each other Families will know that school uniform they no longer need can be passed on and how to do it. Families who need uniform will know that second-hand school uniform is available and how to find it
WHAT'S NEXT? We have designed Leeds School Uniform Exchange to be easily replicable and it is our ambition to share our expertise so that every child in the UK has access to the school uniform they need. Every community can be stronger by becoming involved in a local, practical circular economy for school uniform; sharing resources, cutting down the demand for new, eliminating waste and saving money.
We are seeking the funding to make this happen.