Emma Daniel: Helping children to stay warm this coming winter

Cllr Emma Daniel
Cllr Emma Daniel

With one in four children in our city living in poverty, and this figure projected to rise, it was time to relaunch a community project to help alleviate the impact.

So this week Coats for Kids was relaunched, the community campaign to make sure all kids have a warm coat for the winter. But this year we are also setting our sights on reducing the cost and burden of school uniforms. One in seven children in poverty won’t have an adequate winter coat. This means they will be cold, wet and miserable, and reduce their likelihood to play out in colder weather.

But research I carried out, verified by the research done by Smarter Uniforms, shows the minimum uniform cost for our city’s secondary schools is on average around £185, and this doesn’t include coats, shoes or learning equipment and it doesn’t include any spare items. Shoes that fit are becoming a luxury for some families.

With families already choosing between heating and eating, an invisible misery in our city, we must do all we can to support each other. Schools can help by joining in on the local Poverty Proofing the School Day initiative - BACA, Moulsecoomb, Woodingdean and Patcham Juniors have already signed up – and everyone can help by backing Coats for Kids.

Today (Friday), the campaign is running its first ‘Community Wardrobe’ for people to come and choose free uniform at One Church, Gloucester Place. There will soon be donation points put in all libraries for warm, waterproof coats and uniforms and we would ask people to do one of three things: Donate warm, waterproof coats (age 0 – 18 years); donate decent quality, clean uniform items for any school; or donate funds to help us buy items like shoes for children in need.

To donate to the project, visit: mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/coats4kids
You can follow the project and get updates at @bhcoatsforkids and {http://www.coatsforkidssussex.wordpress.com|/www.coatsforkidssussex.wordpress.com

To run your own coats and uniform drive, host a collection point or volunteer for the please email the campaign at bhcoatsforkids@gmail.com

Emma Daniel is the Labour councillor for Hanover and Elm Grove on Brighton & Hove City Council.