The founder of a Huddersfield based charity has been awarded a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister for her work. Kate France, founder of Uniform Exchange, has received the award for her work in supporting struggling low-income families by providing school uniforms for their children.
Since launching in 2011, the charity has already collected 100,000 donated items and distributed 7,000 packs of school uniform. The scheme also has environmental benefits as it prevents the items from ending up in landfill, and any items that aren’t able to re-used are recycled.
As well as distributing school uniforms, for the last six years the charity has also run a Winter Coat Appeal where they encourage people to donate their child’s old winter coats so they can be provided to those who need them. Due to Covid-19, this year it is organised through schools, and with 40 schools onboard they have already managed to donate 400 coats since this year’s appeal started 4 weeks ago. Details of where you can donate or request are on the website.
Speaking in an interview to Huddersfield Times, Kate told us about her recognition award. “I was nominated by one of the volunteers – Lauren. She was then informed that I had won the award. I was honoured to be recognised by the prime minister.”
Whilst speaking to us, Kate was also keen to stress the importance of reaching out for help if you or someone you know is struggling to afford school uniform. “There is still a stigma associated with asking for help. Our online request form, which was enhanced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is a brilliant way of parents asking for help without having to speak to someone.”
The work of Kate and her volunteers is only made possible by donations. There are a number of donation points across Huddersfield as well as directly at their unit location in Lockwood. You can also make a financial donation to the charity through PayPal by clicking https://paypal.me/UECharityShop?locale.x=en_GB. ALL FINANCIAL DONATIONS ARE GENEROUSLY BEING MATCHED by One Community until the end of January 2021.
We also asked Kate what the charity’s plans were for the future. She told us, “Our future aim is to expand our operations in order to make us more accessible to those who rely on us. We would like to create three or four hubs across Kirklees. We know there are around 20,000 children living in poverty across Kirklees and this would enable us to reach more of these children.”
If you would like to donate clothing, request items, make a financial donation or purchase items from their Amazon shop please visit https://www.uniform-exchange.org/
Huddersfield Times would like to send congratulations to Kate France and all her hard-working volunteers!