Requesting school uniform

New uniform for individual children

What are the criteria for applying for a pack of new school uniform?

Professionals can request a pack of new school uniform for any child or young person who attends a City of Edinburgh school. The family is not means-tested and they don’t need to be receiving benefits to qualify. We trust the judgement of the referring professional to request uniform on behalf of families who are genuinely in need.

What is in a pack of new school uniform?

During most of the year, you can request 6 items from a range that includes basic uniform, PE clothing, stationery, a school bag, a warm coat, underwear and trainers. We do not supply school shoes.

In the summer months, we usually offer standard back-to-school packs which include 2 jumpers/cardigans, 2 pairs of skirts/trousers/similar and a pack of shirts. We also include a filled pencil case and other “extras” depending on what we have available.

Please contact us at referrals.esub@gmail.com to find out what we are currently offering.

How does the pack of uniform get to the family?

Our volunteers deliver the pack to the professional who referred the child to us. The professional is responsible for giving it to the family in whatever way is most appropriate to their circumstances.

What information do I need to fill in a uniform request form?

You need to tell us the child’s school, year group, gender and initials. We also need to know their clothing and shoe size, and what colour and style of clothing is preferred. You will also need to pass on your full contact details as well as any special instructions for delivering the pack of uniform to you.

We will ask you for the principle reason for referring the child to ESUB for school uniform. We don’t need to know the details, but we ask you to let us know the overall reason such as low income, domestic difficulties or benefit problems.

Can I ask for school uniform for my own family?

No, we do not supply school uniform directly to families. You need to ask a professional who knows your family’s circumstances to get in touch with us. This could be a family support worker, a teacher at school, a welfare adviser, an educational welfare officer, or someone similar. Please ask them to email us at referrals.esub@gmail.com

Nearly-new uniform for schools and community groups

What do you do with nearly-new school uniform?

We provide bundles of nearly-new uniform to schools and community groups by arrangement. It can then be passed on to children as appropriate, for example a pupil support teacher can give items to children discreetly at school, or a PTA can set up their own swap shop to give all families access to free uniform.

Can schools or groups sell the nearly-new uniform that you provide?

No, we ask that any schools or groups who receive a bundle of uniform pass it on to families at no cost. It might sometimes be appropriate to ask families for an optional donation for making use of a swap shop or similar, but items that we provide should be available to everyone for free.

How can I request a bundle of nearly-new uniform?

Please email us at nearlynew.esub@gmail.com. Bundles are not always available – it depends how many donations we have received.

Donating uniform and other items

Do you take donations of nearly-new uniform as well as new?

We welcome both new and nearly-new uniform. Please make sure that nearly-new clothing is in spotless condition, without any school logos, and freshly laundered.

How do I get my donations to you?

You can leave donations at any of our drop-off points around Edinburgh. Click here for details of locations.

How can I “sponsor” a child?

We run our “sponsor a child” appeal every summer when supporters can provide a full set of uniform for a child. We let you know what items are needed for a child who has been referred to us (clothing size, colours, etc). You shop for what’s needed and drop the things off at one of our collection points. Our volunteers then match the clothes with the right child and deliver them to the professional who referred the child, who then gives the bag of clothes to the family.

If you would like to “sponsor” a child, please let us know by emailing us at info.esub@gmail.com.

Can I buy for the same child more than once?

We do not hold detailed information about individual children, so it is not possible to “sponsor” the same child year-on-year.

Donating money

How can I donate money?

Please click here to find out how to donate money. Regular monthly donations are particularly welcome as they allow us to plan our work going forward.


What do you need volunteers to do?

We need volunteers to sort and pack uniform at our premises in Balerno, to deliver packs of uniform around Edinburgh, and to help at fundraising and promotional events.

Are there any age limits on volunteering with ESUB?

There is no minimum age for volunteering with ESUB but please note that:

Volunteers aged 16 or 17 must work under adult supervision and their parent or guardian must sign their consent.

Volunteers aged under 16 must be closely supervised at all times by a named adult (usually their parent) who must sign their consent.

Do I have to commit to a regular session?

No, you can sign up to sessions and activities as and when you are available.

Do you have volunteering opportunities for groups?

Yes, we sometimes invite groups of around 6 people to volunteer with us for half-day sessions, usually during the busy summer months.

How do I find out more about volunteering?

Please email us at volunteers.esub@gmail.com.


Where are you based?

We currently rent a room at Balerno High School.

What area do you cover?

We serve the whole of the City of Edinburgh.

Are there any School Uniform Banks in other areas?

There are several similar organisations in other parts of Scotland and the rest of the UK. We each operate independently but we are often in touch with one another to share best practice and to support each other.

Everything else

Isn’t there a grant from the council for school uniform?

Families who meet certain criteria are eligible for a School Clothing Grant from the council. Details can be found here.

We provide uniform for children regardless of whether their family qualifies for the grant or not. Children grow and their circumstances change but they always need the chance to fit in with their peers and be fully included in school life.

How many children are supported by ESUB?

The latest figures for the numbers of packs of new uniform that we have provided each year are: 2016 – 68 packs, 2017 – 308 packs, 2018 – 644 packs, 2019 – 1,009 packs.

Numerous other children have benefitted from the nearly-new uniform that we distribute through schools and community groups.

How is ESUB funded?

We receive no government or council funding. We rely on donations from the local community and grants from funding bodies.