Dress for Success: help to provide school uniforms

by Marie Kearns in Dagenham, England, United Kingdom

Not quite
Unfortunately this project was not successful.

To give a £50 voucher to help buy a school uniform for children from poor families who are going up to Secondary school.

by Marie Kearns in Dagenham, England, United Kingdom

Dress for Success

We need to raise £10,000 to make this happen: to help children from the poorest families to have the correct school uniform, and feel confident on their first day in Secondary School.

Who are we?

The Dress for Success project will be one of the programmes delivered by Harmony House (Community Interest Company).  We have been in Dagenham for 20 years delivering all kinds of community programmes for local people such as:

  • Running affordable good quality nurseries to support working families and those on low incomes
  • Helping people gain basic skills and get into, or return to, employment
  • Providing a Handyperson service for older people
  • Providing housework, gardening and a DIY service for older residents
  • Teaching computer skills to the elderly
  • Running luncheon and get-together groups for isolated and lonely people across the borough. 
  • We have previously run many other projects too, like the Local Emergency Support Service that provided instant help to people on a very low income at times of crisis when they had nowhere else to turn.

What is the “Dress for Success” project?

Dress for Success, will support the neediest families in Barking and Dagenham to provide a new school uniform for their child. The project will be targeted at year 6 pupils who are going into to Secondary School. Each family will receive £50 in vouchers: to be exchanged at a school outfitter or at the school shop. £10,000 would allow us to give £50 each to 190 families: with £500 for administration costs. Each additional £1,000 will help another 20 families.

Referrals will come from the Primary Schools. £10,000 would allow us to give 5 referral forms to each Primary School in the borough.

 By asking the school community to nominate applicants, we are using the expertise of professionals who already know the children and their family circumstances. Many schools also have a hardship fund of their own, with criteria for its access, and this project will help to support that system.


Why is it needed?


The cost of a school uniform can throw a family on a low income in to crisis. A report from the Children's Society last year estimated that:


  • 2 million children in England go to school wearing incorrect, ill fitting or unclean clothes
  • almost half a million are sent home each year for wearing the wrong  items
  • 1 million children live in families who are getting into debt to meet the cost of buying a school uniform
  • For half a million parents  it affects their choice of school for their children


The London borough of Barking and Dagenham:


  • Is the 11th most deprived Local Authority area in England
  • 1 in 3 children live in an income deprived household
  • Has the highest rate of unemployment in London
  • Has the 4th highest rate of family homelessness in London
  • Half the population is under 30 years-with the highest number of under 5’s in the country
  • (Statistics from the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment of Barking and Dagenham)


There used to be a £60,000 fund in the borough for help with school uniforms, but it was lost in the cutbacks. 


The Impact


  • Going up to secondary school is an anxious time for all children. The environment is new, the expectations are different and a new set of friends must be made.
  • This is all made so much harder if family circumstance means a child doesn’t have the right uniform.
  • Support to buy a new school uniform may mean that 2 skirts or pairs of trousers can be bought instead of one, and so avoid a crisis if items are lost, damaged or need to be washed over night.
  • Good quality new clothes are generally better fitting and warmer than cheaper or second hand garments.
  • Your donation will help a child from a poorer family to feel proud, not ashamed, on their first day at Secondary School.





Because we want as much money as possible to go to the children I’m afraid our only reward will be a THANK YOU. If you agree, your name will be printed on our Facebook page and on our website.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Thank you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Harmony House Dagenham is a Community Interest Company (Company Number 6565448) All the money we make from our activities is put back into the community. For more information on our work please visit our website.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£10 or more


In order to give as much money as possible to the children all we can give you is our grateful thanks and, if you agree, a mention on our various sites

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