Busi­ness goes ex­tra mile to kit kids out for school

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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