Cost of living: Some parents say school clothes are becoming unaffordable, as 'uniform banks' open their doors

The cost of living crisis means it has become a struggle to buy uniforms for children ahead of the new school year, parents have said.

Without handouts from teachers, unemployed mum-of-two Hollie Phillips says she would be unable to send her six-year-old son Albie to school.

Ms Phillips from Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, said his uniform, that includes a jumper, trousers, a polo shirt and PE kit, comes up to about £300 once she has bought shoes, socks and his bag - an amount she can't afford.

"It's awful. There are nights obviously I don't sleep because I'm thinking how am I going to be able to afford anything," Ms Phillips said, who is hoping to return to work next week.

"There's so much that we can't do because I have to think, 'well, he needs his uniform for school'."

Albie has been wearing the same shirt since reception. Hollie says it's "filthy" but it's something she's had to deal with.

She isn't the only parent struggling with clothing their child for school.

In Kent, Gillingham Street Angels are a charity helping people in need.

What started as a soup kitchen is now also a uniform bank, where more than 2,000 items a month are handed out to families. The items are sourced from schools, parents and local supermarkets.

"We're giving out at least a couple of thousand items a month at the moment, and I think that's just going to get bigger," said CEO Neil Charlick.

"We started originally as a homeless charity. Now it's just all sorts of people", he added.

"It's not just people who are struggling or people on benefits, but people in full-time employment. We're not judgemental, so when you get here you don't have to prove you're poor."

Kate Hardcastle, an independent financial planning expert known as the "customer whisperer", says parents may need to be more open to having conversations with their children about financial issues, while also creatively finding ways to make items last.

"I think it's great when we can have conversations with children about how finances work and what we can and can't afford, and help bring children into the story of looking after things,'' she said.

"So if it is something like a pair of shoes, then looking after those shoes, caring for them, taking them off properly, polishing them, maybe rewarding them, if they do care for those items."

A Department for Education spokesperson said the government has introduced new guidance for schools in England, which means they are required to keep down the cost of uniform, including through limiting branded items and making sure second-hand options are available.

"We know schools and families are facing increased cost pressures more broadly, which is why this government is providing over £37bn to help households with the greatest need and supporting families through the Household Support Fund," they said.