If you are a kinship carer on a low income or certain means tested benefits, then you may be entitled to free income grants, charity funds and money savings to help you and your family.
There are many government funds & charities which you can apply for locally, either through local charities, your local authority or department for works & pensions. We have put together a list of these below.
Find a Charity
Charity run website ‘Turn2us’ has an easy-to-use grant search which tells you how to contact any suitable charities directly, or you can register for a free account to send online enquiries and applications to charities through the site – see: https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk/.
Find a Food Bank
It’s really challenging times for everyone at the moment. If you are struggling to put food on the table, please don’t be afraid to use your nearest food bank. You can contact your local food bank by using the Trussell Trust help to find a food bank tool here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/.
Too Good to Go App
Every day, delicious, fresh food goes to waste at cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers – just because it hasn’t sold in time. The Too Good to Go app lets you buy and collect this food – at a great price – so it gets eaten instead of wasted. You won’t know exactly what’s in your order until you pick it up – it’s all part of the surprise. You can obtain further information about the scheme here: https://toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb. Download the app to get started – here: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/too-good-to-go/id1060683933
Guide on How to get Cheap or Free Food
Think there’s no such thing as a free lunch? From supermarkets and fast-food chains to high-end restaurants, Martin Lewis the money saving expert has put together 17 tips to grab free grub (or at least get it super-cheap) including how to get PAID to dine out – see: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/how-to-get-free-or-cheap-food/.
Cheap Online Shopping
Find the best deals online. Martin Lewis the money saving expert has put together 40+ tips on how you can spot bargains online, compare prices at the click of a bottom and even get sent discount codes from retailers – see: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/cheap-online-shopping-shopbots/.
Reuse – Network
Reuse Network has reuse centres stocked with high-quality, affordable household items including furniture, electrical appliances, IT equipment and more. If you are looking for affordable household items, you can find a Reuse Centre near you here: https://reuse-network.org.uk/find-items/#/
Home Improvement Grants
If you’re elderly, disabled or on a low income your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA) may help you to repair, improve, maintain or adapt your home. There are about 200 not-for-profit, locally based HIAs around the country that can help in varying ways. Assistance can include putting together flat-pack furniture or looking after your garden – see: https://www.foundations.uk.com/.
Cash to Help Pay for Utility Arrears & White Goods
Some providers offer an Energy Trust scheme for their account holders in hardship, to help cover energy arrears and sometimes other essential household items. Essential items are covered by Further Assistance Payments and can include white goods, boiler repairs or funeral costs.
There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers: Npower Energy Fund, Scottish Power Hardship Fund, OVO Energy Fund, SSE Priority Assistance Fund – check eligibility by calling 0800 072 8616.
Winter Fuel Payments
If you were born on or before 26 September 1955 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ – see: https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment
Cold Weather Payments
You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March – See: https://www.gov.uk/cold-weather-payment
Warm Home Discount
You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The money is not paid to you – it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March – See: https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme
Free Insulation and Boiler Grants
There are many grants on offer from energy providers, which can help with new boilers to loft and cavity wall insulation. This is part of their efficiency obligations to people in certain groups. These grants are mainly for those receiving certain benefits, such as universal credit, tax credits, pension credit or income-based benefits. See: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-cavity-loft-insulation/
Help with School Uniform
Check if your local council provides help with the cost of school uniform and PE kit – https://www.gov.uk/help-school-clothing-costs. If your council does not offer help, you can ask your child’s school directly.
Free School Meals
Check if your child can get free school meals in England and find out how to apply on your local authority’s website – https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals
Healthy Start Scheme
If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk. You will have to have parental responsibility for the child you are caring for. For more information regarding eligibility and how to apply – See: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/how-to-apply/
Help with Childcare Costs
Find out if you can get help with childcare costs. For information on how to find childcare, get help paying for it and what to do if your circumstances change, check the government website: https://www.gov.uk/get-childcare
Childcare Choices also have a tool, which can help you find out what childcare is available to you – see: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.
Help with School Transport
Find out if your child is eligible for help with the cost of home to school transport through your local council website – https://www.gov.uk/help-home-school-transport.
After School & Holiday Clubs
Search for before and after school clubs and holiday play schemes in your area. They can be run by a school, or a private or voluntary organisation – https://www.gov.uk/after-school-holiday-club.
The aim of the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme is to support children to eat more healthily, be more active over the school holidays and have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition as well as be more engaged with school and other local services. Also, through Christmas period over 4 days – See: https://haf2021.org/
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) provide financial support to help people struggling with rent or housing costs. DHP’s can help people affected by the benefit cap, removal of spare room subsidy in the social rented sector or local housing allowance rates. It can cover a rent shortfall, rent deposits, or rent in advance if you need to move home.
You can obtain further information about Discretionary Housing Payments here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments
Rent Deposit Schemes
Your Local Authority may have its own rent deposit, bond or guarantee scheme or they may also know of other local schemes run by charities. These types of scheme can help you rent privately by providing either, cash to help with a deposit and rent in advance or a written guarantee to the landlord that the scheme will cover unpaid rent or damage up to a certain amount. Contact your local authority for more information.
Help to Rent Database
If you are a household with dependent children, homeless or threatened with homelessness and in receipt of benefits or on a low income you can use the Help to Rent Database. The homeless charity Crisis have an online database listing schemes across the UK that help people find and keep a private tenancy. – see: https://www.crisis.org.uk/ending-homelessness/resources-for-practitioners/prs-database/
Budgeting loans are a government scheme providing interest-free loans to families on certain income-based benefits. You can obtain a loan if you need essential items for your home or other things that you cannot pay for in a lump sum, such as clothes and furnishings – See: https://www.gov.uk/budgeting-help-benefits.
Local Welfare Assistance Scheme
Local welfare assistance is a discretionary support scheme. The fund is there to help people to try to maintain an independent life or for those facing an immediate financial crisis. Enter the name of your local council into the search box here, then click the local authority link to be taken to your local welfare assistance webpage.
Funeral Expenses Payment
Support for child funeral costs (Children’s Funeral Fund for England)
The Children’s Funeral Fund for England can help to pay for some of the costs of a funeral for a child under 18 or a baby stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy. It is not means-tested: what you earn or how much you have in savings will not affect what you get. The burial or cremation must take place in England – See: https://www.gov.uk/child-funeral-costs.