At Community Gateway we work closely with our tenants in the heart of our communities, so we are aware of the issues and problems people are facing. Our Community Engagement Team recognised that buying new school uniform was a worry for lots of people and decided to hold free uniform sessions in the run up to the start of the new school year. The team worked with local partners, colleagues and businesses across Preston to receive donations, many of which were brand new.
Over the Summer, the team held four drop-in sessions at our head office, plus a community-based session in Ribbleton. There was an overwhelming response from our tenants: 101 families came along to browse the huge range of items available, including logoed sweatshirts and book-bags, shoes, coats and book-bags as well as skirts, trousers and shirts. In total, 215 children received 805 free items of uniform. Feedback told us that 100% of those who attended said the store had helped them with cost of living problems:
“Thank you for the uniform items from the pop-up shop, what a marvellous idea it was for you to run. I’m very appreciative of the items that will help enormously with my four children, three of who are in expensive high-school uniform. You’ve taken away the trouble of having to buy one for the youngest, so thank you!” Tenant LM.
“I couldn’t believe it, I was overwhelmed, massive thank you it really helped.” Tenant ST, Facebook comment.
“Tenant Miss SH called to say a massive thank you. She has been in today to get some items for her two boys and this has helped her greatly.”
“I picked up some school uniforms from your main office. I was able to share the uniforms between myself and three other families within my community and they were all very appreciative. Thank you once again for your support during this high cost of living crisis.” Local resident O.
The school uniform stores wouldn’t have been possible without some great examples of partnership working. Our Engagement Team have recently built a relationship with local charity Rebuild with Hope, who support people facing barriers to employment. The charity very kindly donated a large selection of brand-new uniform items. The Team was also contacted by Smart Uniform in Preston, who’d seen via social media that we were helping local families and were keen to help, making a generous donation of uniform and book-bags.