School Savvy eases back-to-school journey

More than 40 families have enjoyed a smoother back-to-school journey, with access to School Savvy – a community pop-up shop offering pre-loved uniforms and stationery supplies at affordable prices.

The Centacare initiative has provided support to families with school-aged children in Far North Queensland and Central Queensland since 2016 and, this year, has expanded its geographic reach to include the Fraser Coast.

Centacare Service Leader Jodie Anson has helped facilitate the expansion and will draw on its close ties to the community to support the growth of the program in future years.

“Our hope is that this is just the beginning of something transformative in the Fraser Coast community,” said Ms Anson.

“We’ll be reaching further into our community – to small businesses, larger organisations and community groups to secure funding, donations and volunteer support. We hope to be hosting pop-up shops right across our South East Queensland footprint in 2025.”

A survey of 2,200 families supported by the Smith Family found almost 90 percent were worried about being able to afford school supplies.

“With the costs of everyday living steadily increasing each year, many families are struggling to afford the essential items needed for their child’s education,” said Ms Anson.

“School Savvy empowers families by creating a bridge of support for those facing the everyday strain of bills, groceries, and the preparations for the new school year for children. By reducing the financial burden, families can confidently prepare their children for the school year without sacrificing other necessities.

“Next year we hope to be in a position to offer free haircuts with the introduction of pop-up salons as well.”

Ms Anson said she had received positive feedback from families and community partners who took part in this year’s event.

“For everyone involved, it’s been more than just a shopping experience – it was a celebration of community, compassion, and helping school children put their best foot forward ahead of the new school year. The families found more than just school essentials – they discovered a community that cares.”

Every dollar raised from January’s pop-up shop will be reinvested in the School Savvy program, ensuring that more families and children in the community receive the support they need.

School Savvy was started by Centacare FNQ in 2016, was taken up by Centacare CQ in 2018, Centacare NQ in 2020 and now Centacare Brisbane, which operates across South East Queensland is a proud participant.