AN initiative to help supply school uniforms to children from struggling families in Darlington has met with an overwhelming response.

So far, more than 3,000 items of second-hand clothing have been donated to the scheme, launched in partnership by Darlington Borough Council, Darlington Cares, and the town’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

The council’s Portfolio lead for Stronger Communities, Councillor Jonathan Dulston, said: “We have been staggered by the response.”

He added: “I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Darlington. This year, more than ever, people will be struggling with the expense of getting their kids back to school. I am proud of Darlington Borough Council, and their partners, for responding so swiftly in meeting a clear need in the community.”

The Government has made getting children back to school in September a national priority but, due to the economic turmoil, many families have found it harder than ever to cover the considerable cost of buying uniforms and equipment.

Schools have a duty to help with equipment, but the local authority noticed towards the end of July that there had been an unprecedented spike in requests on its website for assistance with buying uniforms.

At the start of this month, the council asked Darlington Cares and the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau to deliver a scheme, and the response was immediate and heart-warming.

Several community donation points were established, with items of clothing being dropped off by members of the public, before being checked for quality and laundered in line with Covid-19 safety regulations.

Within two weeks of the appeal being launched, donations had exceeded the 3,000 mark, and they are continuing to arrive, enabling children to return to school with pride in their appearance.

If you think this scheme might help you, please visit the council’s website and fill in the form at: