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  • Jan 19, 2012
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‘Back-to-School’ relief for struggling families

Local families in need will have access to $22,500 in small shopping vouchers next week to offset the cost of sending children back to school.

The Broken Hill Community Foundation has accessed the $50 vouchers through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) 2012 Back to School Program and will distribute the vouchers through the local Lifeline organisation.

Now in its eighth consecutive year, the vouchers will bring the total distributed to local families through the program to $127,000.

Foundation Chairman Vince Gauci said the growing need for the vouchers is unfortunately outweighed by availability, but he hopes that those families who receive the vouchers will feel an ease in the pressure of outfitting students for the new school year.

“As with last year, the vouchers will only be available through the local Lifeline office in Argent Street. This won’t prevent other agencies from referring their clients, but will assist with our statistical reporting to FRRR and also ensure families don’t receive vouchers from more than one outlet. We understand the allowance on each voucher per child is small, but feel it is important to spread the support as widely as possibly,” Mr Gauci said.

The vouchers will be available at Lifeline from Tuesday 24th January and Mr Gauci said families in need of the vouchers are encouraged to attend on that day because once the supply is exhausted there is no opportunity to access more.

Families are asked to take with them proof of identification and some form of verification of the number of school-aged children in their care.

“We understand families have all sorts of pressures at this time of year, but the vouchers are specifically to assist with the cost of children returning to school and can only be used for related purchases, including clothing. Families are, however, entitled to ask for one voucher for each of their children attending school in 2012,” Mr Gauci said.

The $50 vouchers can only be used at the Broken Hill Target Country store at Westside Plaza because of pre-arrangement with the FRRR and other program partners.

Lifeline Financial Counsellor Sherrie Wilkins can be contacted for further details on 8087 7525. Ms Wilkins said the vouchers were highly anticipated by the community, with families looking to welfare agencies more often for assistance.

The 2012 Back to School Program is made possible by the continued efforts of FRRR and the Sidney Myer Fund – and proudly supported by Visy, The Wyatt Benevolent Institution, The Estate of the Late Edward Wilson, The Aussie Farmers Association, The Julian Flett Foundation (managed by Perpetual), Australian Government (Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government) and Target.