7,500 second-hand school uniforms distributed to local families

As the ongoing cost-of-living crisis puts household budgets under pressure, an innovative school uniform reuse project is helping parents of school-age children access affordable uniforms.  

Smarter Uniforms organised a series of pop-up shops offering high-quality second-hand and new school uniforms across Brighton & Hove ahead of the new school year in September.  

The organisation has supplied nearly 7,500 school uniforms to families throughout the city so far this year. Of these, over 4,000 were provided to families and community groups for free, while the remaining items were sold at approximately a third of the price of new school uniforms.   

Climate-friendly habits 

Councillor Hannah Allbrooke, Chair of the Children, Young People & Skills Committee, said: “We know that the new school year is an expensive time for families. The high costs of school uniform is something that contributes to this – and we will always support projects which help reduce these costs.   

“Smarter Uniforms does fantastic work in offering both a cost-effective alternative to buying brand new uniforms and one which supports our city-wide shift to a circular economy and our commitment to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.  

“As children and teens can quickly outgrow uniforms that are in otherwise great condition, this service helps to minimise textile waste by keeping valuable resources in use for as long as possible.  

“I’m delighted that Smarter Uniforms have been able to support so many families this year and congratulate everyone involved.  

“This is a useful reminder that climate-friendly habits like buying pre-loved clothes can be affordable and accessible to all.”  

Benefitting families 

Siobhan Wilson, founder of Smarter Uniforms, said: “We were delighted to redistribute so many uniforms this summer. This was thanks to a dedicated team, the many families and schools that donated items, and the support of community organisations across the city. 

“In order to continue serving the community and increase the number of families benefiting from our work, we are launching a brand-new digital marketplace to replace our current web-shop very soon.  

“The marketplace will allow parents to earn money from good quality, outgrown uniforms, as well as benefit families with savings on school uniforms and supplies which we all know is very much needed at this time because of the cost-of-living crisis.  

“The fact that this also is great for the environment is a win-win situation.” 

Circular economy 

We have committed to tackling the biodiversity crisis and becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and a transition to a circular city will help us achieve this ambition.  

A circular economy aims to reduce overconsumption and related greenhouse gas emissions, design out waste, and restore and regenerate ecosystems.  

As a council, we are making changes to our policies and practices to reduce the carbon and material footprint of council services and changing the way we do business and procure service.  

Earlier this year we launched our Circular Economy Routemap and Circular Economy Action Plan which will help us move away from a linear take-make, consume, and throw-away society towards a circular economy.  

We’ve also developed a network of Circular Economy Champions to help local residents reduce waste, recycle more, and become more circular.