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Beloved local breweries launch effort to help struggling families with school uniform costs

'We have been overwhelmed. People have been so generous and this is going to help so many families.'

Beloved local breweries launch effort to help struggling families with school uniform costs
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Emma Farrer

A nearly two-century-old business in Manchester, England, recently launched an initiative to help local families struggling to buy school uniforms for their children. The Joseph Holt brewery chain has won the hearts of community members through its efforts to support families through the soaring living costs crisis. With a new school term about to start, the 173-year-old family brewery put out a call to its patrons and others within their local communities, urging them to donate items of school wear—old or new—to help those in need. The big-hearted pub group has also established collection points across all 127 of their pubs.


"Every year, families may well dispose of uniform which may well still be in good condition but which their children will have grown out of," Paul Longmire, head of marketing at Joseph Holt, told Manchester Evening News. "It made us all think that with so much need at the moment, we could help bring together donated items and ensure they go to those in need. We have been calling out for any aspect of school uniform and kit, so long as it is in good condition. And the response from customers and members of the public has been magnificent. What's more, recycling uniform will save landfill space and reduces greenhouse gases—so there is an environmental benefit too."


According to the Schoolwear Association, the average cost of compulsory school uniforms and sportswear items reportedly comes up to £101.19 (about $117.25) per student. For families with more than one child, this cost quickly adds up, leaving parents looking at a bill for several hundred pounds. Speaking to BBC, Kailey—one of the landlords taking part in the brewery's pre-loved school uniform scheme—said: "There's no shame in it, whatsoever at all. I mean, I don't have children but I know if I was in that situation and I did have children, I would be coming here. Because, the cost of living at the moment as well, is really high."


Danielle McIntosh, manager of the Bricklayer's Arms in Salford, revealed that her pub has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the customers and local community members. "Our customers have been fantastic and responded to the call out by bringing in loads of pieces of uniform," she said. "They really have come up trumps. We're carrying on collecting until the end of August to make sure we get as much as we can to go to families who need the help." Michelle Dickinson of the Richmond pub in Southport shared a similar experience. "We have been overwhelmed. People have been so generous and this is going to help so many families," she said.


The school uniform items dropped off at the pubs will be organized according to size and school and listed on the individual pub's Facebook page. Some of the establishments taking part in the initiative are also working with local charities to distribute items. Those looking to pick up a uniform from the pubs are only required to drop a direct message to the pubs' individual Facebook pages to book the pieces to be put aside for collection. Whatever is left over from the donation drive will be given to the schools directly. "This again shows how pubs are so central to the community and work to reach out to those in need," said Longmire. "We're sure there will be a generous response from our big-hearted customers and from the community beyond so that we can do something to help struggling families with the cost of providing uniforms."

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