According to the UK Poverty Report 2018, 30% of children live in poverty and reduced benefits, low pay and rising housing costs are pushing more below the threshold.
Today’s poverty affects confidence, education and low-pay for the next generation too. 16 year olds from poorer backgrounds are around a third less likely to achieve good qualifications than better-off students.
The 2019 SmartStart project will resume on Wednesday 1st May. This will be the 5th year of SmartStart, Wood Street Mission’s free school uniform programme which offers families a practical support package, including school uniform, sportswear, winter coats and other accessories.
Our growing group of partners and supporters have helped us to reach 3,199 children from Manchester and Salford last year. Along with uniform sets we supplied over 1,100 winter coats, 578 backpacks and water bottles, 650 sportswear sets, 381 revision guides and accessories like hats, gloves and socks etc.
Our families tell us that affording everything in August is not possible (approximately £220 per child) and that without help they cut down on food, borrow, fall behind with bills or leave children in last year’s uniforms. Parents get stressed and children struggle with their peers.
With help they feel less stressed, can reduce their debts and have children who “look smart” and “feel better at school”.
We can’t do this without everyone’s help. We are looking for financial donations and donations of new and good quality school uniform and school accessories. If you can help please give us a call.
One school uniform doesn’t change the world but it will level the playing field and help a child start well. The rest is up to them, their teachers and their family. Families who received support in the past have spoken of the benefits of SmartStart which ranged from a huge boost in self-esteem to comments that their children were no longer bullied and excluded which had left them free to learn. Our parents tell us about their worries for their children and the relief they feel to get uniform without getting into more debt.
For more information on our SmartStart project please contact Mark Gaffney on 0161 834 3140.