The School Uniform Shop
Interview with Laura Burke, Training and Community Lead.
Laura has worked for Mind in Bexley for 4 years and is involved in community engagement, fundraising and mental health training.
She led the launch of the Mind in Bexley Community Pantry in December 2020. The Pantry is a popular resource aimed at supporting local families. For just £4 clients can fill their basket with a variety of fresh, frozen and long-life food as well as toiletries and other essential household products. The pantry has supported over 2,000 families so far and because times are hard right now… Laura is about to roll out her next big launch, the School Uniform Shop.
Q: What is the school uniform shop?
A: It’s simple. Our School Uniform Shop is a place where local families can purchase great quality second-hand school uniforms at an affordable price. Times are tough and our conversations with our clients and friends have led us to believe that this is another need in our community that we are well placed to meet.
Q: How does it work?
A: Our shop is open every Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:30pm. All items are 50p except for coats and blazers which are £1. There is no need to book. Just drop in like any other shop. Browse through the rails, try clothes on for size and pay by cash and card.
Q: Who is it aimed at?
A: The Shop is aimed at parents and caregivers with school-aged children who need to get the kids kitted for school without breaking the bank.
Q: Why is a mental health charity running a school uniform shop?
A: As a mental health charity that is heavily involved in the community we understand the pressure that parents and caregivers are experiencing during the cost of living crisis. Food, fuel and energy prices have increased and with that the pressure on ordinary families. We know this pressure can feed into mental health issues and we want to do what we can to reduce some of that.
We also know that the pressure to “look good” is felt by even the youngest children. We want kids to be able to focus on their education, games and fun without worrying about what they are wearing to school.
Finally, we also want to do our bit for the planet. By getting a few more months out of a good pair of shoes, or trousers or a dress we can help slow down the speed at which some items might be headed for landfill.
Q: Where will I find the School Uniform Shop?
A: We’re based in the Revival Café next door to our Mind in Bexley office at 2A Devonshire Road, Bexleyheath, DA6 8DS. Just turn up and shop! We’ll also update our Facebook and Twitter with updates on new items in stock if you want to follow those channels.
Q) How can you help?
A: Your donations would be greatly appreciated!
If you have any old school uniforms that are in good condition please drop them at our Revival Café (open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9am-3pm) or at our Mind in Bexley office (open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm).
You can also visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/schooluniformshop to make a cash donation.
Your support will enable us to continue this service and provide much needed school uniforms to families in Bexley.
Q: What would you say to a potential customer or parent who feels embarrassed about coming to the uniform shop?
Please don’t! I can understand why you may feel embarrassed, but please remember when children are wearing their school uniform they don’t wear labels saying how much each item costs or where they have come from. You are not only providing uniform for your child, but putting money back into our shop AND helping the environment! It’s a win win in my eyes!