School Savvy is a Centacare FNQ initiative which facilitates access to school uniforms and school supplies for children in families struggling financially in the busy back to school period at the start of the school year. The initiative was created in 2016 with the first-ever School Savvy Appeal launched as part of Anti-Poverty Week 2016. The appeal called for donations of pre-loved stationery supplies and school uniforms for a pop-up shop which was opened in early January 2017.
We all understand that the start of each new school year can be a very expensive time for families, especially those on low incomes. It is estimated that over 17% of children in Australia are affected by poverty with more than 30% of adults recognised as being in poverty relying on wages as their main income. Add to this, the need to buy new school uniforms for one, two, three or more children, along with textbooks and school supplies can be a huge struggle, especially straight after Christmas.
The concept initially was to recycle pre-loved uniforms and stationery supplies however, in reality, and thanks to the generosity of the Cairns community, School Savvy has distributed not only pre-loved goods but an estimated $25,000 worth of donated new supplies, in each year of operation. The response from the community is incredible and continues to grow. Additionally, each year a new layer of supports are added to provide more assistance to families in our community.
School Savvy would not be possible without the support of other local organisations. Major partner, St Vincent de Paul provides local collection points for donations, shop fittings for the pop-up shop, transport and recycling. The Cairns Regional Council’s Urban Spaces program assisted in sourcing the pop-up shop location and the support of local stationery companies to source wholesale and donated stationery supplies has been invaluable.
In January 2019, Centacare FNQ finished the third School Savvy initiative. Together with the incredible support from the community, we were able to support close to 2,000 children to get back to school with the uniform items and basic school supplies they need to start the new school year.
We work with individuals, clubs, schools and businesses in a number of ways.
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Some of the things you can do to support School Savvy...
Donate pre-loved uniform
You can get involved by donating any pre-loved and new uniforms and school supplies that are in good condition to any one of several donation locations including Centacare FNQ, during business hours or at local St Vincent De Paul Society (Vinnies) outlets.
Donations of cash can be received at our office in Aplin Street or you can make an online donation here. All money donations will go towards the purchase of new supplies to be donated to the pop-up shop.
Volunteering with School Savvy
We are always looking for volunteers at Centacare FNQ. Working with the School Savvy team allows you to volunteer your time for a great community cause and also gain some experience working in a retail environment.
Please, contact Katrina, our volunteer coordinator for more information: (07) 4242 1058
Pack-a-pencil case initiative
Get involved with our Pack-a-pencil case initiative by purchasing a pre-filled pencil case directly from a supplier or you can choose to buy and fill your own with basic supplies for a primary school pencil case or senior school pencil case.
Last year we were also delighted to welcome Centacare CQ on board as they took on their first School Savvy CQ appeal and shop . With three pop up shops open for a week in Rockhampton , Yeppoon and Mount Morgan they were able to support 750 children to get back to school with uniform and basic school supplies they need to start the new school year.