For many, one of the most expensive pieces of news they can receive is that their child’s school is changing uniform.

New jumpers, shirts and trousers all add up, and can be the cause of plenty of grumbles.

But at Rookwood school, a group of parents have come together to turn their uniform change around by leading a mission to use their old uniform for good.

Brooke-Adrienne Murphy, from the Friends of Rookwood school, spoke to the Advertiser about how the school’s uniforms will be continuing to clothe students over 5000 miles away.

“Last year, the school switched uniform,” she said. “At one of our parent rep meetings, we raised the possibility of donating them, but it turns out that many places won’t take uniforms with logo on.”

The group reached out to friends and acquaintances, and came across the Christian African Relief Trust (CART), a Yorkshire-based charity which distributes donations to organisations in Africa, including four schools in Malawi. The charity said they would be interested in the donations, so the parents set about collecting the uniforms in the car park.

After a delay due to Covid, they collected most of the uniforms this September and started sorting them into their different types, as well as separating the damaged items.

“There weren’t that many damaged items really,” said Brooke-Adrienne. “We’re still sending them out as spares. I guess they can use them for crafts or paintshirts!”

In all, the parents estimate they have enough uniforms “to fit an entire school,” with an estimated 1200-1500 items of clothing. Many of these were stacked in boxes in the school’s old bursary building while parents sorted the clothes.

“There were a surprising amount of jumpers donated,” she said. “The floor in here was covered in huge piles. I was worried if I breathed, I’d disrupt them all!”

Alongside the clothes, the parents will be sending 130 stuffed animals, as well as stationary, to give to the children, and hope to send more in the future.

Having sorted the items, the next challenge was getting the clothes to CART’s distribution hub in Huddersfield. However, no one new how to get them there.

“We were grasping at straws,” said Brooke-Adrienne. “I asked one of the parents in the parking lot, Ian Knight, if he had a van, as he builds specialist vehicles. It turns out he goes up to Huddersfield every week, and his wife is from there! It all came together in the end.”

Ian, who is a director of Advanced KFS Ltd, based in the Portway industrial estate, said he would help deliver the items before the Friday deadline.

Kasey Longman, another parent who helped sort through the uniforms, said that the idea had been “really good for the kids.”

“It’s been really well taken up by the parents and kids,” she said. “The kids have been learning about in in school, and writing letters to Malawi. It’s been a real eyeopener to see how children are crammed around desks. I think we’ve kicked off a relationship that will continue.”