‘I’m struggling to afford my children’s school uniforms. I’ve already sacrificed so much’

The start of the school year can be an exciting time for parents.

But for many parents who struggle with the cost of living crisis, the cost of getting their children ready for school can be incredibly hard.

Jeny Escabedo-Zago, 42, is among those in Britain who have had to make sacrifices to ensure her children have the right school uniforms.

“Every month is something different. Every month you have to find extra money to pay for something. I work from morning to evening but when do I get to see my kids?”, she said.

“I try not to use the transport and cycle everywhere. It’s good because it keeps me healthy and at the end of the week I save £50 or £60 on bus passes a week because my son’s school is two kilometres away from our house.”

“Normally we don’t go out often. We don’t go out to restaurants or go bowling. I can take them to the park or anywhere I can afford at the moment. Maybe we will make some sandwiches and we will go to the park”, she said.

The mother-of-two from Manchester says every month poses a new challenge, with the fight to keep up with the rise of expenses each month.

“Every month is a struggle and you have to see how you’re going to manage certain things and bills”, she said.

“Sometimes at the beginning when paying for uniforms it was really tough and I have to use a credit card and the credit card takes a lot of my money”, she said.

“I don’t know if I spend too much but the only things I spend money on are bills, food and my kids”, she said.

The support worker says her children’s additional needs mean she is forced to delve into the family budgets.

Her eight-year-old son, who was recently diagnosed with autism, is often losing his school items which have to be replaced; and her daughter, 18, has a special foot condition and cannot wear regular inexpensive shoes.

“Me being a single mum and working at the same time is hard”, she said.

“My son is autistic and every time he loses his school things I have to keep replacing them and that adds to everything. There are some points where I think ‘oh my gosh”, she said

“My daughter’s foot is flat so normal shoes don’t work for her. She has to have special shoes so they don’t hurt her and these are more expensive shoes. All these kinds of things are extra and add to the stress I already have”, she said.

Ms Escabedo-Zago says though her situation is hard at times, she is grateful for the help.

“I’m probably not the only one with a kid who’s autistic and finds it difficult to take them to school”, she said.

“There are people who are worse than me and I can survive this with the help I receive, so I feel so lucky”, she said.

Joseph Howe, CEO of Buttle UK, said: “The cost of living crisis is impacting us all, but buying school uniforms – something that should be a great equaliser for children – is creating extra stress for those on the lowest incomes.

He added: “We are delighted to be working with George at Asda on this campaign. Please consider making a donation to help give a child a uniform they can be proud of.”