Tuesday 21 November 2017

Many beating back to school blues by using charity shops

Maria Pepper

Many Wexford families are beating back to school costs by buying uniforms in second-hand shops.

Local charity outlets are reporting an increased demand for school clothing this year.

More people are donating used uniforms too in the knowledge that they are sought-after items.

'People have been enquiring about uniforms since the beginning of the summer but we only have them on sale for about three weeks,' said Florence Keating, a volunteer in the St. Vincent de Paul shop Fred's Fashions.

The outlet in Selskar has a large range of primary and secondary school clothing for a variety of schools.

Prices range from €2 for a senior infant pinafore to €8 for a Loreto crested blazer.

A good quality CBS primary school jumper costs €4 while a crested track suit top is €3.

'We still have uniforms coming in as people do wardrobe clear-outs and start thinking about the children going back to school,' said Florence.

'We have a lot more schoolstuff this year. More people are choosing not to throw things out because they realise they will be of use to someone else.'

Any social embarrassment attached to second hand uniforms has disappeared, according to Florence.

'There is absolutely no stigma. Parents are happy to get a good quality item cheaply and children are happy to wear it.'

The shop would welcome more donations to keep up with the demand.

'By all means, if people have them, please bring them in,' said Florence.

It's the same story in Oxfam where a sign in the window says 'School Uniforms Wanted.'

'There is a big demand,' said volunteer Anne Coote.

White primary school shirts cost €1 each here while new long-sleeved shirts for teenagers are €4 for a new pack of three.

'We had three people on the phone today asking if we had the shirts in,' said Anne.

A Presentation jumper and skirt cost €4 each in Oxfam while a boy's grey primary school trousers is €1.50.

In Barnardos, volunteer Anne Cowman said people are coming in every day asking for school uniforms.

'We started selling them a few weeks ago. Parents often bring them in when their children are finished primary or secondary school.'

'We are always looking for school uniforms. There is a big demand.'

Barnardos has a range of new school shoes for boys at €5 a pair which are 'walking out' according to Anne.

At the NCBI shop in South Main Street, volunteer Bernie Young said people were enquiring about school clothing long before the items went on display.

'The first day we put them out they were flying off the hangers,' said Bernie who donated a uniform beloning to her own daughter who finished school this year.

'People are not afraid to be seen buying secondhand uniforms any more. That's all changed.'

The NCBI charity shop has also started stocking secondhand school books this year.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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