A LIFE-changing website offering Stirling residents free access to preloved school clothing has gone live.

Stirling Council has become the first local authority in Scotland to host such an online shop (prelovedstirling.org.uk) which offers an easy and anonymous way to source school uniforms at no cost.

Preloved clothing is the brainchild of Carol Laing, from the council’s Parent and Family Support Team.

With 19 per cent of children in the Stirling area living in poverty, she hopes that the online platform could reduce the stigma of seeking help sourcing new clothing for those in need.

All donations will be laundered and anonymised prior to dispatching, and clothes will be posted directly to the recipient’s home address for free.

The pre-loved clothing online platform will be carried out in three phases:

- Phase One – School session 2019/2020 nurseries and primary schools

- Phase Two -- School session 2020/2021 extending to high schools

- Phase Three – School session 2020/2021 where the service will begin to include prom dresses and prom suits

The £8,000 project was approved by councillors at a meeting earlier this year.

Convenor of the Children and Young People Committee, councillor Susan McGill, said: “This new online platform is a welcome investment in our young people’s future.

“Access to clothing is an important part of helping children get the best from their education as uniforms encourage a sense of pride in students and equality with their fellow pupils. However, we know that providing a uniform for a child that can last the full year can be difficult, especially for large families.

"This is about giving all children and families equal opportunities no matter what their background, and I would like to congratulate Carol for not only having such a fantastic idea, but also for all the hard work she has put in to get the scheme up and running.”

Carol Laing, 46, said of the scheme: “I got the idea after finding some of my own children’s school clothes in the back of the wardrobe, and I thought it was such a huge waste to throw them out when they were in such good condition.

“They hadn’t been worn and I wanted to put them to some use that would be of benefit to others who needed them.

“This online shop is one of a kind and is a universal service that is for every parent and family throughout Stirling, whatever their circumstances.”

Donations of preloved school clothing can be made at the following donation points:

- Allan Centre, Bridge of Allan.

- Mayfield Centre, St. Ninians.

- Customer First, Port Street, Stirling.

Donations of shoes, swimwear, underwear or clothes that are damaged, ripped, or heavily stained cannot be accepted.

Questions about the scheme should be sent to preloved@stirling.gov.uk.