By Leah Conway – KLTV Contributor
Kate France, the founder of the charity ‘Uniform Exchange’, has been recognised by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as part of the ‘Points of Light’ award.
Kate set up Uniform Exchange in 2011. The charity aims to encourage the people of Kirklees to recycle and donate old school uniform items rather than putting them in the bin.
The Uniform Exchange team has collected and recycled an impressive 100,000 donations of outgrown school uniforms. Volunteers transform donations into new clothes and then give to local children and families who are in need. So far, Uniform Exchange has distributed over 7,000 free uniform packs across the Kirklees.
The charity works in partnership with 182 local schools, local businesses, Kirklees Libraries. With the support of Kirklees Council, Uniform Exchange maintains collection points across the local area.
Furthermore, volunteers clean and repair donations before distributing them to their new homes. Nothing goes to waste at Uniform Exchange, as any items that are beyond repair are donated to Oxfam for recycling.
The Points of Light was first launched in April 2014; it recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are dedicated to making a change in their community. Kate is the 1528th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award.
Kate France, founder of the Uniform Exchange, said: “I feel truly honoured to receive a Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister. It has been an absolute privilege to support the children of our local community for the past 10 years.
“I believe every child should have access to school uniform and that we should all recycle what we have to pass on to others. I work with an amazing group of volunteers; they are committed to the project and I’m proud of all our achievements.
“Our work continues all year round and we are passionately committed to supporting the most vulnerable families in Kirklees. As this winter draws near, we are very aware that many families are reaching crisis level, so we are now in the process of blessing every child in need with a warm winter coat.”
Councillor Carole Pattison, Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:
“We are so proud of Kate and what she has achieved with the Uniform Exchange. For Kate and her team to have distributed so many packs of school uniform is remarkable, and she deserves the recognition she has received.
“Every child deserves the same opportunity to succeed at school and in life. Having a clean school uniform is vitally important to the happiness of a young person and their overall school experience.
“I would encourage everyone to spread the word about this fantastic charity and please consider taking part in this year’s ‘Winter Coat’ campaign. The coronavirus outbreak has hit those on the fringes of our economy the hardest and it’s important that we make sure that no family struggles to access warm clothing this winter.”
To help those who are particularly vulnerable over winter in the midst of the pandemic, Kate is running a “Winter Coats” campaign. The charity wants to source unwanted warm coats, hats, gloves, scarves, underwear and other items of clothing. To support Kate and her dedicated team of volunteers, you can visit the Uniform Exchange website.