A VALE of Clwyd school uniform initiative has received national award after aiding hundreds of low-income families.

The school uniform recycling scheme led by Citizens Advice Denbighshire (CAD) in partnership with Denbighshire County Council helped 900 children get good-as-new discount uniforms in 2018. It was launched four years ago in a bid to help low-income families tackle the rising cost of school uniforms.

CAD, the Denbighshire branch of the charity that gives free advice to vulnerable people, gathers donations of outgrown or unneeded uniforms in good-as-new condition, which are then prepared for sale for £1 at pop-up shops in Denbigh, Ruthin and Rhyl.

Families are also offered a follow-up advice session on how to claim all their benefits, credits and grants.

The scheme was awarded the Best Collaborative Working Award at the National Citizens Advice Conference in Manchester on November 18-19. It marked the 80th anniversary of Citizens Advice, which has more than 300 branches in the UK.

Lesley Powell, chief executive of Citizens Advice Denbighshire, said: “It’s a great honour to be recognised for the work we do and none of this could have been possible without the co-operation of Denbighshire County Council and the local community, as well as volunteers who run the pop up shops.

“We recognise that many families struggle with buying uniforms and we wanted to come up with an innovative and practical solution to help people access uniforms at prices they could afford.”

Winnie Lawson, CAD’s Denbigh manager who organised the scheme, said there are other “pockets of poverty” in Denbighshire which it will aim to provide for in the coming years.

She said in 2018 there was a jump in users after she “rephrased the scheme as ‘recycling’ rather than ‘second-hand’ as it helps to take away the stigma”.

“Parents are worried about the way they might be seen by accessing the scheme,” she said.

“The uniforms are as good as new and, anyway, they’re only really new on the first day of school. On day two, recycled uniforms are like any other. That is why we make sure the uniforms are washed and pressed and look like new on the first day."

Paul Barnes, Denbighshire County Council’s contracts and performance manager, said the initiative is “ground-breaking”.

“This project has grown from strength to strength, with more schools coming on board each year offering high quality unwanted school uniforms and more pop-up shops appearing in various communities,” he said.

“We look forward to developing the partnership further over the coming year and making sure that as many families as possible have access to this ground-breaking initiative."

For more information on the scheme contact CAD by calling 01745 334568.