BACK TO SCHOOL:  If you are struggling with the costs of your grandchildren heading back to school, don't by shy about asking what help could be available to you.
BACK TO SCHOOL: If you are struggling with the costs of your grandchildren heading back to school, don't by shy about asking what help could be available to you. romrodinka

Help for getting grandkids ready for new school year

SOMETIMES it just takes the courage to reach out for help when the thought of all the costs with getting your grandchildren back to school seem all too much.

Books, uniforms, stationery, camps, excursions and even food; it's a long list, but with the help of a friendly organisation, money for some of these items can be found.

A good place to start is to speak to someone at your grandchild's school: the student's teachers, principal, deputy principal or guidance officer is a good start. Tell them what help you need.

Grandparents Queensland also suggests that your local neighbourhood centre may be able to advise you on what assistance is available in your community.

There are some charitable organisations and government support services that you should look at contacting to discuss your grandchild's needs;

  • St Vincent de Paul Society - you may receive food, clothing and other assistance on assessment. Firstly, phone the Call and Support Centre. If you request is approved, it will be forwarded to your closest Support Centre. Phone QLD - 1800 846 643 and NSW - (02) 9568 0262. Go vinnies.org.au.
  • The Smith Family - It's Learning for Life Program may be able to provide financial assistance to help with education costs. Phone QLD - (07) 3115 6200 and NSW - (02) 9895 1200. Go thesmithfamily.com.au/about-us.
  • The Salvation Army - If in crisis and needing material or financial assistance, phone the Emergency Relief Assessment Team. They may be able to provide immediate basic needs including food, clothing and household items. Phone 1300 371 288 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday). Go salvos.org.au/need-help/financial-assistance.
  • 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, for education costs. Phone: 1300 610 355. Go bsl.org.au/services/money-matters/saver-plus.
  • No Interest Loan Scheme - it 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 may be available for education essentials such as computers and text books. Phone: 136 457. Go /nils.com.au.

As the demand on these services can be very high, it's best to make contact with them as soon as you need their help to seek their assistance. It's not guaranteed they can always provide the support you need, but if you don't ask you won't know what help there is out there for you and for your grandchildren.

For more grandparent support tips, go to www.grandparentsqld.com.au.