Introductory statement – Limerick’s Gateway to Education:
Limerick’s Gateway to Education is a non-profit social enterprise organisation created in Limerick in April 2012 to address economic and social barriers to education. We work to relieve financial pressures on families at the start of each school term; to connect parents and families to resources that will ensure full participation in the school system and community; to provide educational support not otherwise available to primary and secondary students in at-risk families. These activities serve to increase participation and achievement in education and the wider community.
Suzanne Roche, our CEO & Founder of Limerick’s Gateway to Education is a local Limerick mum who in 2012 found herself with financial constraints and was deeply worried about paying for back to school books and uniforms. Suzanne reached out to her local community looking help and support and was inundated with generosity. So much so, she had to store everything in her shed in the garden at home. She then decided to share her fortune with others and offered neighbours uniforms or books she didn’t require. She obviously realised this was not just a problem for her own family and neighbours but all families with high ‘back to school’ costs. Suzanne soon outgrew the shed in her back garden.
Suzanne had to move into a shop in town and to cover the costs of rent and bills, she charged a nominal fee for the second hand goods. Soon other clothes and house hold goods were being donated which she continued to sell to those in need at greatly reduced prices. One particular day, a woman came into the shop and started talking to Suzanne and telling her what a great idea this was. She told her that she struggled with reading and writing and was determined to help her daughter in any way she could and would Suzanne know where she could get help with her daughter’s homework. From this, the ‘Homework Club’ was formed.