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More than 450 families helped with the cost of school uniforms as children return to school

Cost of living project team

We’ve held a second Marketplace, this time at King George Hospital, offering donated school uniforms and office wear to our staff for free, to help them during the cost-of-living crisis.

The Marketplace was held on Tuesday 23 August and helped 100 families equip their children for the new school year. This follows our first Marketplace held at Queen’s Hospital earlier this month, which helped over 150 families.

Donations were made by members of staff, and the events were also supported with uniforms provided by the charity Smile London and Essex. A further 200 colleagues have benefitted from vouchers to buy school uniforms at local shops, worth £30 per child.

Staff who do not work at our two hospitals and were unable to attend our Marketplaces, have been able to request what they need so school uniforms can be sent to them. We also plan to hold another Marketplace offering donated items in the run-up to Christmas.

These events are a small part of the support for our staff and their families; we’ve offered a discount in our canteens, increased mileage allowance, extended the hours of the shuttle bus which runs between our hospitals, and information on wellbeing support services, including help with finances, is available to all staff, who are also able to access a proportion of their salary in advance of payday.

And we’re a foodbank referrer, have held financial wellbeing days, and will shortly be providing free period products on a trial basis. Our Cost-of-Living project team continues looking at other ways to offer sustainable support to our staff.

Katie Winstanley, from our project team, said: “It has been a no-brainer for us to help our staff with the rising cost-of- living. We’re proud to have provided support in a range of ways, including helping parents and carers with free school uniforms. This unique initiative was made possible by generous donations from staff and SMILE, a local charity.”

Comments from those benefitting from the Marketplace included: ‘a very good gesture to support struggling parents, this is very important for families’, and ‘free school uniform and office wear is an amazing initiative, what a great way to help staff in need’.

Pictured above is Katie Winstanley and Charlene Elton (middle and right), from our Cost-of-Living project team, with one of the volunteers who supported on the day, Les Maralava.

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