Local business owner Kate Stewart supports affordable uniform initiatives
2 months ago
Liverpool Entrepreneur Kate Stewart is calling for a change in government and local policies on school uniforms.
Kate Stewart is concerned about the impact of the current cost of living crisis on families’ finances, especially those struggling to feed their children, let alone buy new school uniforms ahead of the new academic year.
“Central government sets out that every child has to wear a school uniform, but it’s devolved to local government and the board of governors at any given school to decide what that uniform shall be. Many schools are working with just one shop or chain who then has the monopoly on the branded uniform displaying the logo for that school.
“Branded blazers can cost over £100 and even jumpers can cost £30 so in these times it’s often not possible for lower income families to afford these items. We totally agree that children should wear uniforms to school but we disagree with branding, logos and the monopolised approach and policies.
“All I am asking schools to do is to change their uniform policies to allow plain or unbranded uniforms as an alternative. We believe parents should be able to buy the entire school uniform from high street shops or supermarkets, many of which have a good range of generic and affordable uniforms.
“Schools could provide parents with iron-on badges if they want the uniforms to be branded or display school logos. Some items, like blazers, aren’t just expensive to buy or replace if lost, but they are also expensive to maintain as they might be made from materials like wool and maybe can only be dry cleaned. It’s just not sustainable for families anymore to be able to do that if they even could in the first place.
“We need to make school uniforms more affordable and more accessible and just help out those who need it most. It’s often the children that are suffering and I cannot just sit back and watch.”
In addition to campaigning for change, last summer Kate bought 250 sets of uniform and donated them to local councillors to distribute to their respective areas.
This year she will be doing the same and she is also calling on local businesses to support her initiative and either donate items or money to help those families who are really struggling.
Kate has always been passionate about helping families within deprived areas, particularly in her home city of Liverpool, as she remembers only too well the financial struggles and challenges she faced around 22 years ago as a young, single parent.
One of Kate’s businesses, The Sandon Complex, is located in Anfield in Liverpool so she has witnessed first-hand those struggling financially in the difficult economic climate.
For the last few months Kate has put on free meals at the Complex and ran various other initiatives to help those that need it the most, in addition to her school uniform appeal.