Going to prom should be about having fun, and not about having to scrape together enough money to buy a new outfit.

Lara Davis, from Harpenden, is making sure all girls are able to go to prom - even if they or their parents are not able to afford a dress.

Her non-profit project All Dressed Up gives disadvantaged girls in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire free dresses.

Ms Davis, who has experience in the marketing and communications in the charity sector, said a few of the girls she has helped have even admitted they would not be going to prom if it was not for her project.

She said: “I’ve seen the cost of going to prom and sometimes it can be £500 plus and it made me realise a lot. Schools can pay for their ticket but there is only so far they can stretch.

“You want all girls to be included and there are some dresses out there which have only been worn once and left in the wardrobe.

“If it means they can all go to celebrate their end of their exams and year 11 with the rest of all their friends and they feel confident whilst they do it – then that makes it all worth it.”

Borehamwood Times:

Ms Davis set up the project in February this year with the help of donations from the community and local businesses. She received 370 dresses.

She then spoke to 60 schools and other charities such as foodbanks, and invited girls from low income families to come to her pop-up shop at The Mall in Luton.

Hair stylists and make up artists were invited to the shop to give girls tips and advice about how they should style themselves for prom.

The girls were given the choice to keep the dresses or send them back.

Ms Davis said: “What I’ve heard from the girls so far has been really positive. A few of them came up to me and said they wouldn’t be going if it wasn’t for the project.

“The day of the pop-up shop was quite an emotional one. There were tearful mums and girls.

“Some young people came in anxious, shy and with low confidence and once they put on that dress it was amazing to see them transform right in front of us into someone who was excited and happy, and looking forward to their prom."

She added: “Personally, the amount of money for prom has gone out of control and it excludes people who can’t afford it.

“Some people don’t have enough money to buy one in a charity shop and I was clear I wanted them to be given away completely free."

Ms Davis hopes to continue her project for next year’s prom season.

She encouraged Year 11 pupils who have just had their prom to consider donating their dress so that someone else can go to their graduation ball next year.

To find out more, go to: alldressedup.org.uk