GRANDPARENTS: Talk to one of those groups about help to buy school items.
GRANDPARENTS: Talk to one of those groups about help to buy school items.

Do you need help to get your grandkids ready for school?

THE new school year is about to start and for seniors who are parenting their grandchildren, getting help with the cost of getting them ready for school will be a welcome relief.

This is often a tricky time to balance the financial demands of needing new books, stationery, uniforms and pay for upcoming school camps and excursions.

UnitingCare Community's Grandparents Program recommends grandparents speak to their grandchild's school guidance officer, principal, deputy principal or form teacher about how they can assist.

Another place to go for help may be the local neighbourhood centre as the staff there can advise what assistance is available in the local community.

Where the school isn't able to help, the following agencies are worth contacting -

  • St Vincent de Paul Society - for food, clothing and other assistance on assessment by contacting the Call and Support Centre. If approved, the Call and Support Centre will then forward the request to the closest support centre. Call 1800 846 643.
  • The Smith Family - Learning for Life Program, may be able to provide financial assistance to help disadvantaged families afford the cost of their child's education. Call 1800 024 069.
  • The Salvation Army - if you are in crisis and need material or financial assistance, then you can call the Emergency Relief Assessment Team which may be able to help with provision of immediate basic needs including food, clothing and household items. Call 1300 371 288.
  • Savers Plus Program - if you have a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card and have any paid employment the Savers Plus Program may be able to match you, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500 to save for education costs. Call 1300 610 355.
  • NILS - No Interest Loan Scheme, provides families on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. If you have a Health Care Card or Pension Concession Card, or earn less than $45,000 a year (after tax), loans are available for education essentials such as computers and text books. Call 136 457.

It can be confronting to admit the need for help, but all these services are there to help find ways to alleviate financial distress.

UnitingCare advises that the demand on these services providers can outweigh supply which means not everyone is guaranteed assistance.

For information on the Queensland Grandparents Program and for other grandparent support services, call -

  • Time for Grandparents Program - 1300 135 500
  • Centrelink Grandparent Advisor - 1800 245 965
  • Centrelink Social Workers - 132 850
  • Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800
  • Bravehearts - 1800 272 831
  • Lifeline Crisis Line - 13 11 14
  • Parentline - 1300 301 300
  •  Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636
  • ARAFMI - 1800 351 881
  • Relationships Australia - 1300 364 277
  • Legal Aid Advice Line - 1300 651 188
  • National Debt Helpline - 1800 007 007
  • Family Relationships Advice Line - 1800 050 321
  • Elder Abuse Prevention Unit - 1300 651 192

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