Funded by the COVID-19 Community Grant, Enfield Council asked all schools in the borough – both primary and secondary – to identify children and young people who would most benefit from the extra assistance. Around 6,000 children were offered the uniform vouchers.Enfield Council teamed up with two local school uniform retailers to provide the service - Smiths Schoolwear on Lancaster Road and Lyons School Shop on Hertford Road.Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance & Procurement, Cllr Mary Maguire, said: “Although we are thankfully through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still hearing of some families who are struggling and having to make impossible choices between finding money for children’s school clothing and buying essentials such as food and paying energy bills.“This is why Enfield Council made the decision to divert some of the funding form the COVID-19 Community Grant towards helping with school uniforms. This move also builds on the recommendations in the Enfield Poverty and Inequality Commission Report, helping us to deliver services that reduce inequality and create a fairer borough. The Council will continue to work closely with local schools to make sure they are ‘poverty proofed’, as recommended by the report.
“In addition, we are proud to have worked with two Enfield businesses to supply the uniforms, which further supports Enfield Council’s commitment to supporting and developing our local economy.”
Ruth Beresford, Managing Director of Lyons School Shop part of Uniform4Kids, said: “We were delighted to partner with Enfield Council and participate in their uniform voucher scheme for children and young people to enable them to return to school in uniform. We are happy to support families by providing good quality, hard wearing properly branded uniforms. These children deserve to be part of their school community, feeling smart and proud. Lyons has also donated to the Felix Project who provide food within the neighbourhood to families in need. Our local community is extremely important to us.”
The uniform initiative builds upon many projects instigated by Enfield Council to help young people during the summer holidays and beyond. The Holiday Activities Food Programme, funded by the Department for Education, offered a range of activities for 5 to 16 year olds in receipt of free school meals the opportunity to keep active, socialise, learn new skills and to receive a nutritious meal during August. At the same time, Enfield Council’s Summer University hosted 160 free courses to young people aged 11 to 19 years, or up to 25 years for those with a disability. - Ends
Additional comment: Matthew Easter, co-chair of the Schoolwear Association, said:
“Attending school in a smart and durable uniform has so many educational and societal benefits for children and schools, including improving concentration, reducing inequality and uniting the school community, so it is great to see Enfield Council provide further support to families who are finding it difficult to make ends meet. The vast majority of specialist school wear providers are small, family-run businesses which play an important role in their local communities and high streets.”
According to a survey conducted by the Schoolwear Association, the average cost of a compulsory secondary school uniform and PE kit is more than £100 per pupil. The Schoolwear Association survey can be found at: https://schoolwearassociation.co.uk/cost-of-school-uniform/
Enfield Poverty and Inequality Commission Report https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/your-council/enfield-poverty-and-inequality-commission/