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Thurso school uniform swap event will help families reduce waste and save money

By Alan Hendry

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Zoe from Thurso Community Development Trust putting up a Back to School Swap poster at one of the drop-off locations – Socially Growing in Rotterdam Street.
Zoe from Thurso Community Development Trust putting up a Back to School Swap poster at one of the drop-off locations – Socially Growing in Rotterdam Street.

A swap event aimed at reducing waste and saving money on school uniforms will take place in Thurso at the end of this month.

Thurso Community Development Trust (TCDT) is collaborating with Caithness Poverty Action Group and Thurso Community Café on the venture.

The Back to School Swap is scheduled for Saturday, July 30, between 2pm and 5pm, at the community café. Those behind the idea are encouraging families who may have school uniform items that they no longer need to share them with those who do.

Uniforms can be a big expense for parents, as children quickly grow out of them.

Stephanie Remers, of Caithness Poverty Action Group, explained: “We know that things are getting tougher and tougher for people due to the rising cost of living and we want to encourage people to share and swap items to help save on buying new.”

Items that can be dropped off and donated include uniform T-shirts and jumpers and plain garments such as trousers, skirts, dresses, leggings and tights. Clothing that can be used for PE, school bags, pencil cases and school shoes would also be welcomed.

The organisations hope to gather a selection of sizes from nursery age through to high school. Items should be clean and in good condition, with no stains or tears.

This month's initiative is for all primary schools in Thurso and the surrounding area, as well as Thurso High. For those who live on the east side of the county, there are a couple of local people who regularly collect uniforms and pass them on to those who need them – more information on this can be obtained by emailing info@thursocdt.co.uk

TCDT plans to arrange more events around swapping items and reducing waste, some of which will include clothes repair workshops. This will provide an opportunity for people to learn basic skills from fixing rips to sewing buttons back on.

The development trust is part of the Highland Community Waste Partnership (HCWP) in conjunction with Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Speaking as part of HCWP, Zoe Mackenzie – climate development officer at TCDT – said: “Caithness is a great place for sharing and passing on resources within the community. We’d love to see this extend to lots more things that we buy.

"Before buying something brand new, think: could I get this second-hand somewhere?

"We have so much perfectly good stuff lying around that often goes unused, so why not swap and share?”

Zoe said the Back to School Swap is for everyone who needs school items for children – whether that’s to save money or to do your bit for the environment.

There are three drop-off points in Thurso for donations: Socially Growing, Thurso Community Café and UHI North Highland.

People who are able to support the venture are asked to check individual locations for opening times.

Drop-offs can be made up until Thursday, July 28. The clothes will then be sorted through and displayed ready for people to go along on July 30.

Items will be free but donations will be accepted. To help ensure that everyone who attends is given the chance to pick up something, there will be a limit on how many items each person can take depending on how many children it is for.

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