School Savvy by Centacare FNQ

In October 2017, Centacare FNQ launched the second School Savvy appeal which called for donations of school supplies and school uniforms for the School Savvy pop-up shop which opened in January 2018. 

The pop up shop sold low cost new and second hand uniforms and school supplies, whilst providing learning and skill development in the retail trade for Centacare volunteers and clients who are looking for work.

Why was School Savvy Created?

With 46% of parents in QLD having experienced financial stress over the past year, the start of each new school year can be a very expensive time, especially for families on low incomes. 32% of people living below the poverty line, received wages as their main income, indicating that having a job is no guarantee of keeping people above the breadline and it is estimated that over 17% of children in Australia, under the age of 15, are living in poverty. (Poverty in Australia 2016, ACOSS 2016)

In 2016, as part of Anti-Poverty Week, Centacare FNQ launched the first ever Centacare School Savvy appeal, calling for donations of school supplies and uniforms for a pop up shop which was opened in early January 2017. The response from the community was incredible and resulted in donations with an estimated value of over $25,000. Close to 600 families used the shop and we estimated that School Savvy assisted in getting more than 1000 children back to school and ready to learn. 

In 2017 the second appeal was launched and once again the School Savvy pop-up shop opened in early January 2018. This year the results almost doubled with over 1000 families using the shop and we estimated that we assisted more than 2000 children to prepare for the new school year.

The results have spoken for themselves, so much so that we aim to make it an annual event.

To get involved or for more information…

Call (07) 4044 0130

Centacare FNQ
22-34 Aplin Street, Cairns QLD 4870

School Savvy is funded by the Australian Department of Social Services and the Community of Cairns.

How can you get involved?

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. Cash or online donations of money can also be received and will go towards the purchase of new supplies to be donated to the pop-up shop.

    Schools and Clubs

    Bring School Savvy into your classroom or club and get everyone involved!

    The team at Centacare have a few different ideas about how you can help and we're always open to new ideas.

    1. Pack-a-pencil case - get the whole class involved. Everyone donates a filled pencil case. Contact us for more information about what contents for pencil cases and how you can jump onboard. Download the Pack-a-pencil case flyer.
    2. Volunteer your time and make a difference for your community. Contact us for more information about how you, your team or club can help. We would love to hear from you!
    3. Register your school as an official Donation Drop-Off Point for the school and your local community - we'll give you boxes to collect donations and posters to place around the school to encourage others to get involved. We'll put your school on the special 'School Savvy Drop-Off points' map.


    Businesses can get on board by donating unwanted quality stationery supplies such as pens, calculators rulers etc., perhaps items which may have been sitting around in cupboards as branding has moved on.

    Become a Business sponsor and donate some school supplies. In 2018 we were delighted by the response from the Cairns business community. Local businesses were not only satisfied by ensuring local children have basic supplies they need for the school year but inspiring our kids to follow into their own trades and professions.

    Centacare FNQ thanks our 2018 School Savvy Business Partners for their generous contributions to supporting the next generation excel.

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