Back to school costs are putting a hefty strain on the family budget with research showing parents are spending $608 per child, a 13 per cent increase over the past 12 months.
The YouGov Annual Back to School research report found Victoria was the most expensive state for parents at the start of the school year with back to school costs jumping from $503 in 2019.
State Schools' Relief chief executive Sue Karzis said many parents struggled to find the money required for fees, uniforms, bags, books and other school costs.
The organisation has had more than 5000 applications for assistance with school items from across the state this month alone, with high demand to continue through the early part of the year.
"Every parent wants to make sure their child has everything they need which puts additional pressure on the family budget," Ms Karzis said.
"The need is definitely growing."
Sebastopol is one of the areas of Ballarat with the highest number of applications to SSR.
Sebastopol Primary School principal Michelle Wilson said many families at the school had support from SSR to ensure their children were properly equipped for the start of the new school year.
"It's an expensive time of year. Our school is about fostering school pride and our school community so SSR provides a great opportunity for us to support families to have their children in full school uniform," Ms Williams said.
"They come ready for school and ready to learn."
Grade six student Callum Mahoney, 11, moved to Sebastopol Primary School last year and he and mum Tracy were overwhelmed to receive a full set of school uniform before he began.
"It was a godsend," Ms Mahoney said.
.@ss_relief helps students in financial need, caused by natural disasters and homelessness, with school uniforms and other essential items. Families can apply for assistance through schools. Eligibility is not restricted to Health Care Card holders. See: https://t.co/gfrs65k16lpic.twitter.com/jzjmxjZhN4— DET (@DETVic) January 13, 2020
"He needed a fresh start as he was having trouble at his old school and really needed a change, so we moved him here and made the hard decision to split him up from his sister who stayed at his old school.
"It was a really big thing to receive this box of uniform and one of the things that made him really enjoy the change and want to come to school."
Ms Mahoney said if not for the box of school supplies, Callum would probably have started school in his old uniform meaning he would have stuck out from his classmates.
"We felt very welcome and it was perfect time, With different fees and changing schools, uniform was last on my list of worries at the time and to have that given to us, I nearly cried when we got that box."
Callum said it felt good to be dressed the same as his school mates and it helped him fit in quickly.
Ms Wilson also received 20 Tools for School backpacks from Eureka Mums this week, full of stationery, lunchbox, drink bottle and other school necessities.
"It's making sure our kids are set up for a positive start and feeling organised," she said.
Ms Karzis said she wanted as many Victorian families as possible to access the help the charity could provide to help reduce the financial burden that sending children to school can create at the start of the year.
Last financial year the charity helped more than 56,000 students with more than 210,000 items worth $6.3 million.
"Over the past four years, with the support of the state government, State Schools' Relief has assisted 218,839 students across Victoria, with 783,171 items totalling over $25 million," Ms Karzis said.
One in 10 Victorian state school students and eight in 10 Victorian state schools use the service, which is the only organisation of its kind in Australia.
Ms Karzis said State Schools' Relief were expanding their offerings this year with bathers for school swimming and a trial of Myki cards to help students get to school.
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