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I am one of the lucky ones - the great School Uniform Affordability Scandal

I have just returned from the annual shopping trip to buy essentials for school. I very begrudgingly spent a small fortune on a brightly coloured backpack and tried to reconcile the loss of £84 on two pairs of school shoes that may or may not last until Christmas. Their feet are growing and quality shoes are important (on repeat). Perhaps I've been scammed.

The reality is that I actually extended my overdraft in order to afford these things for my children, I bought as much of the uniform as I could from the supermarket and have reused as much as possible from last year, which, by the way, isn’t much because, shock horror children grow. I’m lucky that my five year old believes he looks like an Italian footballer in his sisters old cardigans and proudly wears them to school still.

I know all too well that I am one of the lucky ones. I can go into a shop and buy the shoes and the pencils … not without worry or concern for eventually how I can pay for them (yet, safe and lucky in the knowledge that I will get another pay cheque) but definitely without worrying that I also won’t be able to pay a bill or feed my children.

When First Days Charity started 5 years ago I used to tell people that it was a project that was needed as a result of austerity and I hope that it wouldn’t become a permanent feature of people’s day to day survival. Sadly, 5 years later, we have become a lifeline for people. Where they previously would have got into dangerous, high interest unsecured debt, we can help by providing the things they need. Where before, parents would go hungry in order to make sure their child had