School uniform pop-up swap shops in Lambeth

18 August 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

Pop-up school uniform swap shops will help people who want to cut down on environmental waste as well as helping get children to a place they can learn and achieve.

Main post content

School uniform pop-up swap shops in Lambeth

From Saturday 19 August to Saturday 1 September, pop-up school uniform swap shops will appear all cross Lambeth as part of a project being delivered in partnership with the Brixton and Norwood Foodbank, Lambeth Council and the Lambeth Forums Network.

The purpose of the project is to ensure that families struggling with the cost of living crisis are supported with appropriate school items. Families who need school clothing (or bags, water bottles, plimsolls, pens, etc) can come and get them for free. And people who want to cut down on environmental waste can donate.

Word from the Cabinet

Cllr Ben Kind, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The cost-of-living crisis has deeply affected the most vulnerable families in our borough. The overwhelming support and enthusiasm from our community partners for this project is a testament to their commitment. By offering free school uniforms, we are extending a helping hand to these struggling families, providing essential assistance amidst the rising cost of living.”

Cllr David Amos, Cabinet Member for Finance and Cost of Living, said: “Lambeth Council has been shoulder to shoulder with our community groups in supporting our residents through the cost of living crisis. This initiative shows the best of our borough, working together to help the people who have been impacted the most by the cost of living crisis.”

Scaled-up support

Elizabeth Maytom of Brixton and Norwood Foodbank said: “Within the Lambeth Partnership of Foodbanks we were getting families concerned about how they would afford new school uniform as far back as May 2023 as they faced the cost of living crisis. We have previously done small-scale support but felt it was important to scale up our work and enable us to support more families and this had proved much needed with significant number families needing our support this summer also needing help with uniforms and early waiting these pop-up hubs.”

School pop-ups

School Uniform Coordinator Ali Angus explains: “The idea of a school clothes swap came out of a pop-up in Streatham – hundreds of people donated clothes, plants, books, kitchen stuff like a still-boxed blender. Someone who donated a whole set of sheets and blankets said she wanted them to go free to someone who really needed them, not to a chariry shop to sell them. That was an inspiring idea in a society that’s so market-driven.

Keeping clothes out of the landfill bins

“I’ve read that less than 1% of all clothing is recycled, and even less with school clothes. We aim to reduce the amount of landfill and raise awareness of a circular economy in the community, the idea that everyone has something to give in return for something they need, moving towards a sense of equity rather than reinforcing the myth that only people with money have something to give.

“We want children to be in a place where they can stop worrying about having clothes for school and be able to learn and achieve.

“If there’s a lot of clothing left over at the end, we might have a last hurrah – and anything that can’t be given away or is unwearable can be recycled into cushion covers or other products via the charity TRAID – we’re determined not to create extra waste.”

“There’s a core team of about 10 volunteers but we want to put out a shout out for help at all the venues. And if local businesses want to donate anything or volunteer time, they’re welcome. And thank you to everyone who has donated or volunteered so far

More information

  • Find out more about Norwood and Brixton Foodbank
  • Find out more about Lambeth’s support for communities in the cost of living crisis, including help on benefits, childcare, energy bills and more.
  • Please bring bags/trollies to take uniform home in – the Foodbank doesn’t have them to donate.

Pop-up timetable

Dates Time Location  
19/08/2023 10AM to 1PM Streatham Common Rookery Market  
21/08/2023 10AM to 2PM Streatham Library, 63 High Road, SW16 1PN  
22/08/2023 11.30 to 2.30 PM Oasis Academy South Bank, 75 Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7HS  
22/08/2023 1PM to 4PM Stockwell Park Community Centre  21 Ayrton Place SW9 0ET  
23/08/2023 11AM to 1PM Brixton Hill Methodist Church, Lambeth Foodbank Hub, Elm Park, SW2, 2TX  
25/08/2023 10:00 – 1pm Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, 108 Stanford Street, SE1 9NH  
26/08/2023 10AM to 1PM Hive Cafe, 33 Palace Road SW2 3HS  
30/08/2023 9:30AM to 1PM Jubilee Hall, Tulse Hill South, SW2, 2LX  
30/08/2023 11.30 AM to 1.30 PM Hope Church, Lambeth Foodbank Hub, Tyers Street, SE11 5HS  
31/08/2023 9:30AM to 1PM Jubilee Hall, Tulse Hill South, SW2, 2LX  
31/08/2023 10AM to 5PM  

Brixton Library, Windrush Square, Brixton, SW2 1JQ


31/08/2023 11am to 2pm Emmanuel Church, Clive Road, SE21 8BU  
01/09/2023 10AM to  5PM Slade Gardens, Stockwell Park Rd, SW9 0DB  

New dates and times are being added so please look out for updates on Lambeth’s web pages.