New research by the footwear brand Wynsors has found that the cost of school uniform has increased over the past few years and in 2023 it is predicted to cost parents 21% more than it did in 2018. Furthermore, 76% of parents surveyed agreed that the cost of buying school uniforms and supplies puts a strain on their household budget.
In the same study many parents self-reported borrowing money from family and friends or using By-Now-Pay-Later schemes to purchase school uniforms.
Across the country, credit unions have stepped up to help families struggling with these rising costs through back-to-school loans– some starting from just £50 and many lending sums of £200 - £500.
“Credit unions are a safe and affordable way to help families with these costs,” says ABCUL CEO, Robert Kelly. “Many credit unions encourage or require members to save whilst they borrow to improve their financial wellbeing and resilience.”
One credit union that offers a Back-to-School Family Loan is Pennine Community Credit Union (PCCU). The highly popular scheme allows members to borrow up to £500 for school uniforms and use Child Benefit for the repayments. This summer, PCCU has helped many families across the common bond afford back-to-school essentials.
So far this year Pennine has helped 604 families with the cost of school uniforms, totalling £210,836. The average loan amount per family for this scheme is £349 – closely reflecting the cost of kitting out an average of 1.5 children. The total amount lent to families for school uniforms has increased by almost 3% compared to last year, suggesting the demand for credit has increased with the rise in the cost of living.
Furthermore, Salford Credit Union offers a family loan and Mark Brazendale, CEO said: “The family loan has been invaluable to members facing rising back-to-school costs. It has been a very successful scheme and we are looking to expand our product offerings for parents in 2024.”
One Salford member highlighted their appreciation for the family loan and stated that: “The loan helps me to manage my expenses, especially at times like now when I have school uniforms to buy […]. The credit union is always there when I need [it and] as a company [it is] absolutely amazing”.#News