If you are affected by the ending of the school clothing allowance scheme help may still be available.
Proposals set out in the cabinet report included plans to encourage schools to set a low cost and easy available uniform policy. However, in special circumstances, continued support will be made available to vulnerable families experiencing exceptional financial hardship through a revised Discretionary Assistance Scheme, if all other options for accessing a uniform have been exhausted.
The change will come into effect from 1 May, 2017, impacting the September 2017 academic year
The council plans to work with uniform providers, schools and their governing bodies, to inform parents and guardians of the alternative suppliers of uniforms available – and provide support to enable them to devise strategies to effectively and sensitively manage any issues that may arise.
We have spoken with Michael Egan at the local Citizens Advice who has advised us of the following
The Glasspool Trust
They give grants towards clothing/school uniforms http://www.glasspool.org.uk
Individuals cannot apply direct-they must apply through an organisation which can administer the grant. Schools could do the applications themselves but if they were unwilling to do the application/take the funds into their bank account then they can contact Michael at Citizens Advice St. Helens on 01744 751380 to book an appointment and he’ll do it for them.
They will need to obtain a written quote on letterhead paper from a shop/supplier confirming how much the uniform will cost and the shop/supplier must be willing to accept payment via cheque as they cannot give cash to individuals.
Another source which could potentially be used to obtain funds for school uniforms is Acts 435: http://acts435.org.uk
Again, individuals cannot apply direct-only Acts 435 advocates can submit requests on the website. Michael is urrently the only Acts 435 advocate based in St. Helens.
I would urge anyone facing hardship to contact the local Citizens Advice Bureau if they are struggling financially as they have a wealth of information, support and advice etc. They are based at the Millenium Centre in St Helens Town Centre.
For debt or benefit appointments ring 01744 737866 – open Monday to Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm.
General Drop in between 10:00am – 12:30pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or ring for advice on 03448 269 694 – open Monday to Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Due to demand they have started an addtional General Drop in at their main office on Thursdays between 1:00pm and 3:00pm.
They now have an e-mail advice service available http://sthelenscab.org.uk/e-mail-advice/
There are also conduct outreaches services across the Borough http://sthelenscab.org.uk/our-services/debt-outreaches/