Ulster Unionist Councillor Darryl Wilson has raised concerns over the price of school uniforms in the context of the high cost of living.
Cllr Wilson said: “As a parent of two pupils attending Ballymoney High School, I am all too aware of the high costs involved in getting children kitted out to return to school after the long summer break. School uniforms, PE kits, and stationery can run into hundreds of pounds per child.
“This can be a very expensive time of year for families. Over the past few weeks, parents all over the borough have been out and about buying clothing and stationery for their children to start their new school term this week.
“I have learned that a local charity has said that some families in Northern Ireland are spending so much money on school uniforms they have problems paying for food or fuel to heat their homes.
“I would urge parents to consider recycling their children’s old school uniforms by donating them to local charity shops. By doing this parents will have an additional option to purchase certain items at a fraction of the cost of buying new.
“I would also suggest exploring the option of applying for a School Uniform Grant. This option is available for parents and guardians currently seeking employment or on a low wage. The grant is still available even if you have already purchased uniforms and PE kit. Full eligibility criteria and grant details can be found at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/sm/school-uniform-grant or alternatively contact your local Ulster Unionist representative who will be happy to offer advice and assistance.”