Business goes extra mile to kit kids out for school
CHILDREN across Lochaber returned to school this week and local organisations have been trying to reduce the stress and expense a new term can bring, writes Monica Gibson.
Lochaber School Bank (LSB) was set up to help families who are struggling to kit their kids out for school.
The bank, at Loco Motif Bodyart tattoo parlour in Caol, relies heavily on donations and receives new and nearly new clothes and accessories which it passes on to those in need.
Donna Darbrough, who helps run the bank with friend Carol Anne Campbell, explained: ‘We noticed on Facebook last year that there are a lot of people struggling with the cost of getting the kids ready to go back to school. We had a stall in the town centre last year and then people started making donations.
‘People have been so kind with their donations and luckily Carol Anne had some space in her tattoo parlour to store the clothes and our shelves are quite full.’
The mum of three added: ‘We are open throughout the year and have helped 18 children from referrals which we mainly get from Women’s Aid. We have also got in touch with the schools now asking for referrals and we are in the process of seeing if we can get charitable status so we can buy new items as well as second hand things.’
Via its page on social media, the bank also lets followers know of great deals and promotions which might help save pennies.
Last Thursday (August 11) they took to Facebook to thank a local embroidery business for their particular donation.
In a post they wrote: ‘ Wow, what can I say? Popped over to LEAP as Helen said she had some stuff for us but didn’t expect this. Two big boxes of school jumpers, t-shirts, socks and a load of school bags, and loads of boxes of shoes! So amazing, thank you both so much.’
Davie Duncan, who runs Lochaber Embroidery and Printing (LEAP) with partner Helen said: ‘ We just like to pay it forward. At the end of the day it’s nice to be nice.
He added: ‘We gave polo shirts in the colours of most of the schools around here, hoodies and sweatshirts, socks pants. Just the kind of things that sometimes people need and can’t get for whatever reason.
‘Even for people with jobs the cost of uniforms and all that goes with it quickly adds up.’
Mr Duncan is a commercial diver by profession. The couple started up LEAP two years ago when their circumstances changed after noticing an open in the market.
Mr Duncan said: ‘ With the way the oil industry is at the minute I found myself out of work. Helen is a retired police constable, she had to retire through ill health but she had enjoyed doing the embroidery before just as a hobby.
‘ We decided ‘let’s invest’ and there’s not really a similar business in the area so we thought if we could work to sort out the local schools, clubs and uniforms then that would keep us going.
‘ We’re not exactly making a big profit but we’re providing a service – it’s a community thing really.’
Carol Anne Campbell of Lochaber School Bank sorts through the boxes of clothing donated by LEAP.