'Free education is a myth': SVP in Cork see demand soar for back-to-school help

'Free education is a myth': SVP in Cork see demand soar for back-to-school help
Paddy O'Flynn, St Vincent de Paul

THE Society of St Vincent De Paul has reported increased demand from under pressure families crippled by school expenses.

A total of €150,000 was given out by the charity last year to help families struggling to meet their children's back to school and third level costs.

SVP Regional Vice President Paddy O'Flynn said the organisation has already exceeded that figure this year to meet the mounting costs.

"In a normal month, our office on Tuckey Street gets an average of around 500 to 700 calls for help a month depending on the time of year," he said. 

"We tackle poverty in all its forms but one of the main concerns this time of year is back to school costs."

"This year we will be spending even more on education. 

"We will also be monitoring this very carefully and advocating very strongly so that the state can come to our rescue and begin to address the gaps in education and funding which are now emerging even more prominently. 

"Our hope is to help the ever-increasing numbers as our core belief is that education is the only certain pathway out of poverty."

He described free education as a myth and called for changes in social policy to tackle the issue.

He said the problem is only getting worse adding:

"The economy is supposed to be booming but these problems are showing no signs of dropping. This year has been exceptional compared to other years, particularly when it comes to educational needs. There is a wide range of issues depending on the parent."

The charity will be rolling out a campaign over the next couple of months to recruit new volunteers to cater for the spike in demand. To sign up to volunteer contact info.southwest@sup.ie or call (021) 427 0444

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