September 2022 – Broke Not Broken
Broke Not Broken
Broke not Broken (BNB) is a single-tier SCIO that was established in August 2015. The aim of the charity is to tackle the effect of poverty in Kinross-shire which it does through a range of projects around food supply, fuel poverty, counselling and advice, gardening, cookery and assistance with provision of clothing for school-aged children.
BNB is based in The Beacon in St Paul’s Church, Kinross where they have an office and small store. Until March 2020 BNB operated a food bank where those in need could collect food parcels from the Beacon. It also supported a small counselling service. Operations increased significantly in response to the coronavirus and in 2020 BNB delivered food parcels to 2,234 households and supported 96 children to get winter clothing.
In 2021, The Essentia Foundation awarded the organisation a grant of £2,000.00 to go towards a school clothing bank project. The project aimed to establish a school clothing bank targeted at pupils at Kinross High School and the six feeder primary schools: Kinross, Milnathort, Fossoway, Portmoak, Cleish and Arngask.
Parents and carers were able to register for the service online and request the items of clothing needed. Second-hand clothing was donated by local families and supplemented by purchasing or providing vouchers for items that are in high demand. Some new items such as socks, underwear and school bags were also purchased.
At the heart of this project lay a desire to reduce inequalities in the region and alleviate poverty for families in need. Broke not Broken hoped that the project would directly benefit 100 families in the local authority.
BNB started the School Clothing Bank in Summer 2021. It was open to everyone in the local community using a google form. The organisation also requested and were inundated with donations of pre-loved school clothing items. Broke Not Broken ended up making up and delivering 102 school clothing packs, including vouchers for school shoes and a new school bag. The organisation found there was often a mismatch between the clothing items donated and the sizes needed which resulted in volunteers ‘topping’ up packs with new clothes.
Due to the success of the project and the real need in the community, BNB offered a school clothing top up in January 2022 and repeated the school clothing pack in the summer of 2022, issuing a further 98 packs. By the end of the project, the grantee had directly assisted 106 families.
Broke Not Broken found that the use of the google form and the ability for anyone to apply has proven very effective. It has removed any stigma from the application and allowed everyone to apply that needs to. As an added benefit, it has allowed the organisation access to people that were struggling silently in the past.
“Now that I am working, I am not eligible for a school uniform grant so I will really struggle to afford school uniform this year.”Local Parent
“As a single part time working parent and with the cost of living crisis it will reduce some financial pressure.”Local Parent
The group states that they were quite shocked that many people were not eligible for school uniform grants but clearly needed financial support and they have been able to feed this back to the council and Scottish Government in an effort to change eligibility criteria and shed light on the urgent need across local communities in Scotland.