A SCHOOL uniform swap shop which kitted out the children of nearly 100 Redditch families has been hailed a resounding success.
The brainchild of Councillor Joe Baker (Lab, Greenlands) and held at Annaliz Vintage in the town centre, it brought the community together in a heart warming operation to ensure that the children of needy families were ready for the new school term.
“I’m absolutely over the moon at how well it went,” said Coun Baker. “Myself and Coun Wanda King (Lab, Greenlands) handed out leaflets, the event was publicised in the Standard and on the day itself we still had people coming in with uniforms.
“One old lady came in and said she was touched by what we were doing and just wanted to thank us, and one of the volunteers started to cry.”
To boost the effort the Primark store in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre stepped in to donate ‘a sizeable sum of money’ towards the cost of shoes and socks.
“The ethos of it is why I joined the Labour Party – namely to help people, and we’re not just talking about people on benefits here but working families too who are struggling to get along,” said Coun Baker.
“It takes a lot of guts to walk in and get a donated school uniform, it’s a brave thing to do and it’s proof that politicians need to come down from the clouds and see that people really are struggling.”
The swap shop has proved so successful that a second one is planned around Christmas time ready for the start of the spring term while Coun Baker is once again planning a Christmas meal for the local needy.
“Last year we fed over 270 people and it will probably be on Christmas Eve and will provide a hot meal for anyone who is on their own or struggling a bit at Christmas,” he said.
To donate a school uniform for the next swap shop call Coun Baker on 07891 549333.