The Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (DMAT) has set up a new green scheme for this year which will allow teenagers to buy second-hand prom outfits.

The new ‘Sustainable Prom’ scheme will allow sixth formers and past students from DMAT-run secondary schools to hand in old prom outfits for a two day sale later on in the year.

Vanessa Little, administrator for the post-16 office at Okehampton College, said: ‘The amount spent on prom dresses varies. One girl bought hers from a charity shop but others will buy them at high street prices.

‘Quite a lot of people can’t afford that so we put out an advert for old outfits and we will offer two days for students to come and pick an outfit.

Not only is it good for Year 11s to come and see [the post-16 centre] since most of them will come here but it will allow students to buy outfits [at a reduced price].’

The scheme was initially suggested as a way of hosting a more environmentally-friendly prom and providing less well-off teenagers with the opportunity to attend their prom in a glamorous outfit.

The initiative has already got going as Okehampton College students handed in unwanted outfits to the school at the beginning of the week (April 4-5) which will be divided between DMAT’s three secondary schools including Okehampton College and Tavistock College.

Younger students will have two days at the end of April to come and pick an outfit at the Wardhayes campus, where the sixth form centre is located.

Tavistock College and Holsworthy College students will also be able to hand over preloved items on separate dates.

Students will only have to pay for the cost of dry-cleaning and and any remaining outfits will be sold and the money donated to charities working in Ukraine.

Melissa Trudgill, community engagement and communications manager at DMAT and organiser of the initiative, said: ‘Not only will this be a green initiative, recycling unwanted dresses, but will ensure that no young person is disadvantaged by not being able to afford to attend the prom event.

‘Of course we have many families who have been adversely affected by the pandemic financially and in these difficult times with rising heating bills, to purchase a brand new outfit for a one-off occasion might seem like a low priority and put some students off attending.

‘We want everyone to enjoy celebrating again at their summer prom without adversely affecting the environment or their wallets.’

Tavistock and Okehampton eco-groups have declared their support for the scheme.

Kit Harbottle from environmental group Transition Tavistock, said: ‘It’s good to hear of local schools enabling these special clothes to be re-used rather than go to landfill. Fashion accounts for around 5% of greenhouse gases, so students choosing or offering pre-loved outfits are protecting the planet as well as their purses.’

Meanwhile Fran Rickwood, Okehampton’s environment activitist, said she thought it was a ‘fab idea.’

Most recently Ms Rickwood helped to manage the Recycle & Raise initiative which saw Okehampton residents donate waste plastic to help raise money for charity.