Coordinator of Longford County Childcare Committee, Lorraine Farrell, says this funding is vital for Longford
Longford County Childcare Committee (LCCC) has welcome a decision by the government to reduce back to school costs for families.
The announcement, made by Fianna Gael TD Peter Burke last week, comes at a time when Longford families are scrambling to purchase uniforms, books and supplies for the upcoming academic year.
This year, the Government will spend more than €47 million on the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance - that's a funding increase of 25% to help ease the pressure on families.
“194,000 children across the country will benefit from the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
It is increasing from €100 to €125 for children aged 4-11 and from €200 to €250 for children aged 12 years and over. This will benefit Longford significantly," said Burke.
The LCCC has welcomed the announcement, stating that the increase will be of help to families under pressure at this busy time of year.
"While the increase is modest, it is an acknowledgement that this is a time when vulnerable families need support," said Lorraine Farrell, Coordinator of the LCCC.
"From our interactions with parents and childcare providers within the county, we understand that this can be a stressful time financially for parents with children of all ages.
"We try to support parents at this time by encouraging them to check out their entitlements for this allowance or by contacting us in the office for support.
"Parents may also be entitled to assistance with their after school care costs, which is an alternative route to easing the financial burden of returning to school," said Ms Farrell.
"Parents should contact us to inquire about the After School Childcare Scheme for children aged between four and 11 years and Community Employment After School Scheme which caters for children up to 13 years of age.
"We do acknowledge, however, that some families will not qualify for any of these supports and in this case we encourage families to think creatively on how to save money in our difficult economic climate."
In fact, Ms Farrell has kindly offered some advice for parents who want to save money while preparing their children for their return to school.
Shopping around for generic uniforms that don’t necessarily have to carry the school crest such as skirts, pinafores and trousers.
Label all items! "With the best will in the world, a school jumper thrown over a goalpost in an exciting game of gaelic at break time will be forgotten about!" said Ms Farrell.
Ask your school if they offer a book rental scheme. "It’s becoming more popular. If they don’t, encourage them to look into it. Failing this, ask your local book supplier if second hand books are available to buy."
"We will be in all libraries in Longford the week beginning August 21 and parents are welcome to pop in for a chat," Ms Farrell concluded.
Details of these library times are available on the LCCC website: www.longfordchildcare.ie
For more Back to School tips, see www.longfordleader.ie.