A couple of years ago we were having conversations about how some families in Leeds couldn’t afford school uniform - and at the same time we came across a school so overwhelmed with lost property that they were throwing it in a skip!

Put those two things together and Leeds School Uniform Exchange is the result!  The exchange was launched in the summer of 2020 with the aim to make it as easy as possible for people in Leeds to ask for or offer good quality, secondhand school uniform for free.

A year on and the impact has been truly amazing. There are currently 241 exchanges active in our city - a mix of Facebook groups organised by parents, exchanges run by schools, and pop up exchanges run by local community groups, and this number is ever increasing.

This summer, we helped promote and run 44 pop up uniform shops around Leeds and it is estimated that more than 8,500 items were given out for free. Not only has this saved local families money, we estimate £144,000, but it has greatly benefited the environment too. According to our calculations the number of items we gave out amounts to 30,600kg of CO2 emissions saved, and as COP26 has highlighted, there is a real need to reduce our carbon emissions. Using uniform exchanges rather than buying new uniform will help to do this.

Here's our Impact Report, it makes for a very interesting read, and if you would like to get involved - it really is easier than you might think - check out our guides here. Or you can find your nearest uniform exchange on our interactive map here – simply search your child’s school or postcode.