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Leaving no gap in education costs: Chelsea Community Support Service

Being ready to attend school in warm, comfortable, quality clothing with the appropriate text books and supplies provides a greater sense of belonging and builds self-esteem for children, enabling them to better engage with their education and the opportunities on offer.

In 2020 and 2021, Chelsea Community Support Services Inc. (ChelCSS) launched the Fair Start School Support Program to help families in the City of Kingston. This program, funded by pandemic response grants, supports vulnerable families who often face financial hardships. It provides school uniforms, textbooks, and other school necessities to children from various schools.

Families seeking education support are generally already linked with ChelCSS for other services,  often come from single parent or grandparent households and are on fixed incomes or government payments.

When faced with school related costs at the end of the year when they are just trying to make it through Christmas, it can be enough to push them into further debt, crisis and mental burden, so programs like this one can do a world of good.

In 2022, a $5,000 grant from FFV further supported 28 families and 50 children, covering uniform costs and educational expenses, even helping early school leavers attend TAFE.

ChelCSS works in partnership with State School Relief who provide vouchers that cover 50-60% of the retail cost of uniform items, with the FFV grant covering the gap.

This year, they were proud to be able to help a 17-year-old who wanted to return to school. Providing a laptop meant Lucian, pictured, could return to study and complete Year 11 and 12, so he could enrol in TAFE. His single mother was experiencing financial hardship and could either pay for fees or buy the laptop – but not both.

"My son and I both were made to feel relaxed and comfortable and it was an easy conversation to have with the Support Worker to ask for Education Support Assistance. To have such an amazing program that supports youth and their education is truly helpful. It also took way the extra financial stress of purchasing a laptop which assisted my wellbeing. I thank Chelsea Community Support and all the awesomeness that they offer to support persons, families, and youth in need."

Chelsea Community Support Services continues to be a lifeline for families and youth in need, providing essential support and opportunities.



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