Saturday 18 January 2020

Kits put kids on track for school

Cllr Michael Sheehan with a mountain of back-to-school kits ready to be delivered to familes around the county
Cllr Michael Sheehan with a mountain of back-to-school kits ready to be delivered to familes around the county

David Looby

Over 3,000 back to school kits have been packed and handed out to almost 2,000 Wexford families who are getting their children ready to return to school.

The bags contain practically everything a student would need to return to school. From notepads to toppers, the contents ensure that students are ready to learn on day one of the new term.

Cllr Michael Sheehan, who sourced the kits through the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection and the EU Commission, said: 'This programme and this project is amazing. With the generosity of local business and the determination of a large voluntary team, we worked flat out to ensure we would succeed. It's a genuine partnership of and local community to ensure 3,000 students will go back to school fully prepared on day one.'

The Fianna Fáil councillor ran the scheme last summer also as a pilot programme and it was a huge success.

'This year we expanded it and the reaction was phenomenal. Working with colleagues in education, the county council and the community we were able to deliver kits for students from every background and every part of the county. Everyone was welcome to apply; waged and unwaged.

'The programme is open to all and we wanted people who are working and feeling the pressure to come forward as many of the supports programmes aren't open to them.'

This is a financial stressful time for parents and all the surveys show the back to school costs are almost € 1,500 for secondary and €1,200 for primary students, Cllr Sheehan said.

'What troubles me more, and the rationale for this idea, is that 36 per cent of parents will use a money lender to meet the costs.

'That leads to a never ending vortex of debt. This programme eases the pressure. Our county and community is stronger because of this effort and I want to thank all the volunteers who answered my call and really made this the success it is.

'It was highly spirited and shows how strong our community spirit is and how people really care about their county's future.'

There are still some primary level kits available. People can email if the want to get involved or apply.

Wexford People

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