Program assists with school costs

Rockhampton’s Raelene Ensby, with her children Tyler (2) and Caleb (4), and Katrina Svensen are set to send their kids to school after taking part in The Smith Family’s Saver Plus program.
Rockhampton’s Raelene Ensby, with her children Tyler (2) and Caleb (4), and Katrina Svensen are set to send their kids to school after taking part in The Smith Family’s Saver Plus program. Sharyn Oneill

WHEN Raelene Ensby realised her son Caleb would be starting school next year she had no idea where to start.

With the stress of bills and taking care of her other son, two-year-old Tyler, who suffers from small airways disease, the cost of uniforms, books and other school equipment was one thing Raelene didn't want to worry about.

"The last thing you want to be thinking about all the time is the bank balance," said Raelene.

After doing some research, Raelene stumbled across Saver Plus, a new program launched in Rockhampton by The Smith Family which matches every dollar saved by parents or guardians up to $500 for education costs.

"Basically it's an incentive to help low-income families save," Raelene said.

"You put away $25 a fortnight for 13 fortnights, which isn't a huge amount at all, and then get reimbursed at the end."

Raelene, who started the program a month ago, said the Australia-wide program was a fantastic idea.

"It's good to know you don't have to worry about where to find that money," she said.

"At the end of the day it's helping us as parents and it's helping the kids."

Raelene said it was also helping her family build good saving habits which she would continue after the program was finished.

As a volunteer at non-profit organisation The Umbrella Network, which helps families with special needs children, Raelene knows all too well how many families struggle with the financial burden of education costs.

"I would absolutely recommend it to anybody who's entitled," she said.

WHO CAN JOIN SAVER PLUS?

You may be eligible if you or your partner have:

A Health Care or a Pensioner Concession card

A child at school or starting next year

Some regular income from work

Contact Gemma Holt on 4921 0273 or via gemma.holt@thesmithfamily.com.au

Topics:  education, money, rockhampton, school, uniforms



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