On Saturday 2nd February, the SVP, received an extremely generous donation of €5,000 for the St. Francis Education Conference, raised by three teenagers who exemplify the Christian values of their school. 5th Year Ursuline Secondary School students Marion Gillman, Elizabeth Grace and Laura Ryan first heard about the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul from their Religion teacher in school. SVP’s social justice work and service to the poor resonated with the girls and they answered the call to action, raising the money by organising the Winter Ball, attended by 360 of their peers on January 3rd in the Clonmel Park Hotel.
The three students are delighted with their achievement and they acknowledged the help and support received from their parents as well as the assistance they received from the Clonmel Park Hotel. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul operates in small groups, called Conferences and St. Francis Education Conference in Clonmel is one of those groups, with a focussed concern to support individuals seeking financial assistance towards education.
This Conference recognises the importance of further and higher education, particularly for people who live in disadvantaged circumstances. During 2018 it has given over €80,000 to 88 individuals for help with costs such as rent, transport, materials, uniforms and fees. Applications are considered carefully, sensitively and thoroughly by a committee of six members. SVP strives to eliminate the barriers that might prevent someone from attending a FET College or 3rd Level Institution and usually the barriers are cost related, but not always. The Conference draws on the skills, strengths and wide network of the Committee members, to advise and signpost applicants towards making the right decisions.
Mary Roche Cleary, President St. Francis Education Conference Society of Saint Vincent de Paul