Back to school campaign launched to ease financial burden on families

Back to school campaign launched to ease financial burden on families

6 June 2018

A SCHEME was launched yesterday to help make going back to school a less stressful and expensive time for families.

The Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership’s Down Locality Planning Group is appealing for unwanted school uniforms and accessories that are in good condition.

The items can be left off of at designated off sites in Downpatrick, Ballynahinch, Newcastle and Castlewellan by Thursday, July 5. They will then  be given out at a series of back to school fairs to be held at the end of July and early August.

The scheme was launched in Downpatrick yesterday and organisers are hopeful it can emulate the success of last year when hundreds of items were donated.

The Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership’s Down Locality Planning Group was established in December 2016.

It is a multi-agency partnership of community, voluntary and statutory sector members representation the Down area that meet and plan together to address emerging needs of local communities. 

A spokesman said: “As parents we understand that rising costs of school uniforms can put financial stress upon all families. 

“Last year, through our Downpatrick Back to School Initiative we received hundreds of school uniform items donated from families as part of the scheme.

The spokesman said 126 families from Downpatrick got involved in the initiative.

“All our items were given out at our two uniform fairs at no cost to families and we were able to quantify a total cost saving of approximately £3,000. 

“98% of parents that attended the Back to School Uniform fairs said that the fairs helped them prepare for getting their children ready for school. One parent spoke from one of the uniform events.”

Following the massive response last year, the CYPSP has decided to extend the scheme. 

Fourteen primary schools and thirteen post primary schools have got involved in the initiative alongside a range of partner agencies including, County Down Rural Community Network, Ballynahinch Community Collective, Lecale Learning Community, Down Sure Start, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Action for Children, Newcastle Homestart, South Eastern HSC Trust and the Health and Social Care Board.

The following drop off points are in Downpatrick: Down Sure Start, Ballymote Community Centre, Downpatrick Primary School, St Colmcille’s PS, Our Lady and St Patrick’s PS, St Brigid’s PS, De La Salle HS, St Mary’s HS, St Patrick’s GS, Down HS, Knockevin School and Blackwater Integrated College.

In Ballynahinch: Edengrove Presbyterian Church, Drumlins IPS, St Patrick’s PS, Ballynahinch PS, St Colman’s HS, The High School and Assumption GS.

In Newcastle: St Mary’s PS, All Children’s IPS, Newcastle PS, St Joseph’s PS (Carnacaville) and Newcastle Playgroup.

In Castlewellan: Castlewellan PS, Annsborough IPS, Naiscoil/Bunscoil, St Malachy’s HS.

The back to school fairs will be held at Ballymote Community Centre, Downpatrick, on July 30, from 10am-1pm and 3-7pm; South Eastern Regional College in Newcastle on August 1, from 10am-12pm and 4-7pm; and Edengrove Presbyterian Church in Ballynahinch on August 3, from 10am-1pm and 3-7pm.