Old Girton Uniforms Continue to See New Life

1st August 2022

Year 6 students from the Pangamihan Elementary School in the Philippines proudly wear their new school uniforms

The repurposing of older-style Girton uniform items has continued with gusto with the latest shipment of clothing received by the Pangamihan Elementary School students in Year 6 (depicted left), who returned to face-to-face learning in May after easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Kate Mahony is a parent volunteer who established the relationship with the Elementary school in the Philippines and continues to lead Girton’s school uniform repurposing.

“When the Pangamihan students returned to school, there were balloons, flags and a big welcoming ceremony for the students.

“It is so fantastic to see the students proudly wearing their school uniforms. I think it can be easy to take for granted the sense of belonging that a school uniform provides.

“These elementary school students are a reminder of the pride of place that wearing a school uniform can instil in young people.

“The photos from the school’s Facebook page remind us that this is a fantastic and worthwhile project to be involved in. I really hope that as a school, we can continue to support Pangamihan Elementary School in some way,” Kate said.

There are still hundreds of old school uniform items in Girton House and a team of wonderful parent helpers has enabled all the remaining items to be sorted, sized, and prepared for their repurpose. Around half of the 500 or so garments will have new logos sewn onto them by our project partner SisterWorks. The money that the Girton second-hand uniform shop makes has enabled the printing of the Elementary School logo onto fabric, and the “sisters” from Bendigo-based SisterWorks have sewn over the old Girton logos on school shirts, polo shirts and shorts.

Kate said that the remaining uniform items that do not have logos would be packed in sizes, repaired if necessary and donated.

“We are currently having discussions with another overseas secondary school and hope to soon be working on adding their school logo onto the remainder of the Girton preloved uniform items,” she said.

Kate explained that SisterWorks has also recently repurposed more than sixty Girton fleece jumpers that will be donated to the Winter Night Shelter. The Bendigo Winter Night Shelter (BWNS) is a volunteer organisation working with local churches, community groups, businesses and individuals to support people experiencing crisis homelessness during winter in the Bendigo area.

“The repurposed fleece jumpers will hopefully provide warmth to those who need it.

Kate Mahony, far right, with student volunteers and SisterWorks show off re-purposed uniform items for the Pangamihan Elementary School

“Last year, we repurposed old school jumpers for the same cause. This is a tangible way that our school community can help local charities and another way to achieve our aim of ensuring that there is absolutely no waste from the transition from the old uniform to the new uniform.

“It would be easy to turn a blind eye to the waste that changing to a new uniform style can create. It was in 2016 that the school announced a refreshed uniform update and in 2019, we began the uniform repurposing project.

“Here we are three years later, still repurposing old uniform items. Giving old uniform items new life is a huge undertaking but absolutely worthwhile with environmental and humanitarian benefits,” Kate said.

As always, Kate is unstoppable in achieving the zero-waste goal for school uniforms and has more plans “in the pipeline” for the Girton second-hand uniform shop for uniform repurposing and the continued relationship with SisterWorks. Details will be announced soon.

In the meantime, proceeds from the forthcoming “Girton’s Got Heart” event on Friday, 2nd September will be donated to SisterWorks.

Girton’s Got Heart is an evening for parents and staff in the Girton community to enjoy each other’s company at the beautiful Chateau Doré. There will be great food and drinks, a live band, dancing, silent auctions and a wine wall. Friends of Junior School and Girton Parents and Friends are so excited to get our school families reconnected. To book tickets for this much-loved event, go to: https://www.trybooking.com/BSDRV


To volunteer some time – a little or a lot – to the Girton second-hand uniform shop, please, click on the following web link to go to the signup sheet: volunteersignup.org/894EK

Times available for volunteering each week are Thursday 3:00-4:00 pm and Friday 8:15-8:45 am.