Kirklees resident receives recognition from Boris Johnson

Kate France who set up the charity ‘Uniform Exchange’ has been recognised by the Prime Minister as part of the ‘Points of Light’ award.

The Uniform Exchange, which was set up in 2011, aims to encourage the people of Kirklees to recycle and donate old school uniform items rather than putting them in the bin.

Kate and her team of dedicated volunteers have collected and recycled 100,000 donations of outgrown school uniforms and transformed these into new clothes given for free to local children and families who are in need. So far, over 7,000 uniform packs have been distributed across the district.

In partnership with 182 local schools, local businesses, Kirklees Libraries, and with support from Kirklees Council, the charity maintains collection points across the local area, with all donations cleaned and repaired by volunteers before distribution, and any damaged items beyond repair are given over to Oxfam for recycling.

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.”

This year Kate is running a “Winter Coats” campaign to help source unwanted warm coats, hats, gloves, scarves, underwear and other items of clothing to support families over the winter who are particularly vulnerable as a result of the pandemic. You can support the campaign by visiting the Uniform Exchange website.

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.”

Kate is the 1528th person to receive the Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live.