Lisburn school uniform bank out of pocket after council funding denied

A school uniform charity bank (SUB) was left out after a council turned down their request for funding.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) has refused a request for £5,000 community funding from the local organisation, which aims to provide clothing for school children in need.

The Lisburn SUB have found themselves in debt after spending donated money on a new storage and supply shed which they say they can no longer afford to operate.

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Lisburn SUB co-founder Emma Davis said many families in the locality would face increased difficulty buying school uniforms next term.

“It cut the wind from our sails,” Ms Davis said.

Since the SUB’s launch in May/June last year, it received 45,000 Facebook views in the first four months of opening, and 1,500 families received school clothes.

“It’s like we have to start all over again, go back to square one with all the money we need, now we can’t help those we thought we could.

“We spent £2,500 on a new shed from our donation money, which would have been used for new uniforms to help those who are really strapped for money, like parents with children at different schools, as we We were led to believe that applying for community funding form was just a formality.

“Also, the board said it would help us promote the SUB last June when we opened, but we’ve never heard of it either.”

A total of 71 groups have successfully applied for funding from the council, with almost £250,000 expected to be paid out. Funding, however, is dependent on the approval of the LCCC application by the Stormont Department of Communities.

The LCCC, whose Mayor Stephen Martin (Alliance) helped launch the SUB last year, said it could not comment on the reasons for the funding denial.

“All grant programs have set criteria and unfortunately on this occasion the Lisburn School Uniform Bank failed to meet two things,” the spokesperson said.

“We recognize how invaluable the uniform bank is to our local community and staff will continue to engage with the organization to provide advice and support.

“Unfortunately, we cannot share the two elements that the SUB failed to meet.”

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