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Kind-hearted school scheme offers prom dresses to students

Kind-hearted school scheme offers prom dresses to students
February 1, 2023 Dave Gooderham
The Stanway School prom dress exchange scheme

A prom dress exchange scheme that offers students the chance to wear beautiful second-hand ball gowns and suits has been hailed a success.

The Stanway School last week ran their ‘Say Yes to a Prom Dress’ with around 50 students given the chance to try on and choose prom dresses ahead of the popular end-of-year event.

The scheme was started in 2018 with just one dress but has since grown to around 300 dresses and suits for students who cannot justify the cost of buying or hiring a brand new outfit.

Sarah Barker, assistant head of Year 9 who runs the kind-hearted project, said: “When I saw the reaction from that first dress, I thought we could be on to something.

“From there, the school kindly invested in a selection of dresses in different sizes and it just grew from there.

“We asked if anyone had dresses they would like to donate and they came in a lot quicker than we could have imagined.

“There is a sense of pride, but it is also tinged with sadness that it has become so big. Pride because we are catering for a need but sadness that the need exists in the first place.

Over two nights last week, students from The Stanway School and neighbouring schools within the Sigma Trust were given the chance to choose their dresses.

Sarah added: “We ask for a small contribution for each dress used and all money raised goes back into the prom dresses for next year.

“There is a lot of work that goes on before, during and after the two evenings and I wouldn’t be able to do it without an invaluable team of volunteer staff members.

“It is the best feeling when you see students on prom night wearing one of your dresses.”

The success of the scheme has now led to Sarah to appealing for any local businesses who may have suitable storage space for the dresses.

If you can help, please contact her on