DONATIONS have flown in “thick and fast” for The Gate's School Uniform Bank this year with an open week starting on Monday for struggling families.

Families in need can head along to Alloa Town Hall between 11am and 3pm each day from Monday, July 19, until Friday, July 23, to pick up necessary items for the coming school year.

School uniforms, blazers, lunch boxes, school bags, stationery, footwear, ties, PE equipment and more are on offer with no referrals necessary during the open week.

This will be the second time the project goes ahead amid the Covid-19 crisis and restrictions will be in place at the town hall to keep everyone safe.

The good cause has been collecting new and good quality second hand items in the weeks leading up with drop off points established at various supermarkets as well as the charity's recently opened shop at Shillinghill.

Jilly Guild, chief officer at The Gate, told the Advertiser: “Donations were coming in thick and fast and the generosity of the county never ceases to amaze us all here at The Gate, especially when times have been hard for so many families.

“We are grateful that the community has continued to think of us and ultimately others through this difficult time.”

The initiative has been supporting hundreds of Wee County families each year since its inception in 2015.

Last year saw a rise in demand with around 500 parents and young people visiting the school uniform bank, which was set up at the town hall for the first time to allow extra space for distancing.

Each year, The Gate also prioritises clothing and equipment for families through referrals from partners and services – which took last year's total support to just under 600, compared to the 358 children in 2019.

Speaking about the set up at Alloa Town Hall this time around, Jilly added: “There will be restrictions in place because of Covid.

“The space is safe and we are following all guidelines.

“We ask that the public are patient with us and respect others when attending, unfortunately we can't allow any clothes to be tried on this year.”

Meanwhile, the Meals at The Gate service, which launched earlier this year, has now provided more than 1,000 meals for people over the age of 65 in the Wee County.

Essentially a meals-on-wheels type service, food is delivered throughout the weekdays by cheerful volunteers who also carry out a basic welfare check.

The meals are affordable, starting at £3 for a main course and £5 for three courses, which can be tailored to individual dietary requirements.

For more information, call 01259 218766.