When we launched our new We Learn Grant in July, we expected it to be popular but not even we predicted the overwhelming response we would receive.
The grant gives NSW and ACT families experiencing financial hardship the chance to apply for support for educational supplies and technology.
The grant was open for six weeks and by the time it closed in September, we were stunned to have received a staggering 1435 applications – an almost 10-fold increase in demand for support from the 162 application we received for a similar grant the year before and a record for any grant we have ever offered!
The grant opened at a time when students across the country were learning from home given ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns. As learning moved online, so too did doctors and specialists’ appointments placing additional strain on families desperately needing access to technology.
With the grants now processed, a total of 1185 grants are being given out across NSW and the ACT – 874 Educational Technology and 311 Educational Supplies – valued at $549,289.46.
Laptops and chromebooks are being sent directly from our new supplier, Harvey Norman, while we are supplying Big W gift cards for Educational Supplies including school uniforms, stationery, textbooks, lunch boxes and drink bottles.
Canberra mum Lisa, has four boys and two of her sons, Dylan (9) and Braden (6), are among those to have received laptops.
“My eldest son, Dylan, is in Year 3 and when his school asked parents to supply laptops earlier this year we just knew we couldn’t afford it. He has been borrowing a school laptop whereas most of his friends all have their own and naturally he feels quite embarrassed about it,” she said.
“When I told him that Variety was giving him a laptop, Dylan was super excited! He’s been asking every day if it has arrived yet! I have two children with additional needs which means I am unable to work at this time, so on one low single income any spare cash that we have tends to go on bills and house maintenance.”
“Dylan often misses out on things and the things that he does get are usually second hand so it will be so nice for him to have something new of his very own.”
Lisa said the grants will help to take the financial pressure off the family.
“We are just so grateful to Variety. It’s so helpful to have these grants out there for families that are struggling and lots of families are struggling in so many different ways. You don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors or just how hard it is for some people so to have Variety step in and offer a way out of that stress, it’s just incredible.”
The We Learn Grant will open again on 1 July 2022. For more information, visit https://www.variety.org.au/nsw/we-learn-grant/
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