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Opening a Free School Uniform shop in the heart of Plymouth

Plymouth Vineyard

September can be an expensive month for most parents, but it can especially be a struggle for families post-covid, living below the breadline.

In Plymouth, more than 10,000 children live in poverty. Over the last couple of months, Plymouth Vineyard Church have partnered with other local churches and support agencies to set up ‘The Uniform Store’ – a pop up shop giving away free school uniforms, donated by the community. Their goal was to help ease the pressure of families struggling financially – to give them hope and let them know that someone is for them in a really practical way.

Through August and September, The Uniform Store was flooded with generous donations and able to supply approximately 1,500 children with 3,135 uniform items! Arthur Goode, Senior Pastor at Plymouth Vineyard Church raved about the incredible team of volunteers that had gathered to serve these children: “These guys have been incredible – passionate about the people they are serving and reliable. We’ve all worked together and we’ve co-owned it. Just like the bible describes – we’ve been one body with different moving parts.”

We love these stories of hope from families who received uniforms over the past couple of months.

One single dad who was given custody of his two daughters a few weeks before they were due to start primary school. He was struggling financially as it was and had no extra money to kit out his children with uniforms. He came to the shop and they were able to supply both of his children with full uniforms. 

Another mum came to the store very anxious as she couldn’t afford the school blazer that her son needed. It would have cost £70 brand new. She was able to find just the right one in the shop! 

One young child with autism visited with his mum, who shared that he’d been grumpy all day. He has very precise likes and dislikes, but in the shop managed to find a particular pencil case which he loved. He left with a huge grin plastered on his face!

The Uniform Store has closed its doors for this month, but Authur assured us that this definitely won’t be the end! They are exploring the option of continuing a click and collect service through the year, and are already putting plans in place to open The Uniform Store again next summer!

Let us know how your church is meeting the needs of your local community, send through your story to [email protected]

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