The School Bank West Lothian is a community based charity that aims to help children and families in our local community. Our mission is to help alleviate the impact of poverty for families in West Lothian, particularly the devastating effects that poverty can have on children. At The School Bank West Lothian, we believe that every child has the right to go to school with dignity, self-respect, pride and confidence. We supply brand new uniforms, alongside good quality used items, so that our young people can go to school the same as their peers and focus on learning as opposed to their appearance.
We are a small, community based charity called The School Bank West Lothian. We operate entirely on volunteers, fundraising and grant funding. We operate on a referral basis and receive requests from various professional bodies, such as social work, health visitors, Citizens Advice Bureau, Bathgate Advice Shop, schools, scouts, family centres, charities, etc.
Our mission is to help families struggling with difficult financial or domestic circumstances with the cost of the school day. We support young people across both primary and secondary from 4 to 18 years. We do this by providing new school uniform, jackets, shoes, underwear, stationery, school bags and gym kit. We also supplement our packs with excellent quality used items, which increases recycling in West Lothian and gives the young people enough uniform for a whole week.
Since we started in August 2015, we have supplied a uniform pack to 564 children and young people. Demand for our service continues to grow – this summer we saw an increase in referrals requests of over 50% compared to the same period last year. This summer, we helped a total of 170 young people from June to August, an increase of 59%. We aim to reach young people in areas with higher levels of deprivation, such as Craigshill, Blackburn, Whitburn, Bridgend, Fauldhouse, etc.
Many young people referred to us experience stigma, bullying and are often excluded from participating in educational experiences, such as sport and outdoor learning. We continue to seek donations of new uniform, gym kit and warm, waterproof winter jackets, winter woollies and wellies, so that the young people can feel confident in their appearance and participate in school activities.