10 tips for parents struggling to give their children the basics
The Children's Society have these suggestions for those families struggling to make ends meet.
Help with heating
1 Many families are struggling with rising energy bills but there is help available – particularly though the Warm Home Discount. You can use The Children’s Society’s Warm Home Discount calculator to see if you can get this help – a £135 discount on your energy bills.
2 If your home is too cold, you may be able to get free home insulation, boilers, and other measures to cut down your energy bills. You can get free advice on this from the Energy Saving Trust if you need help to make your home warmer.
Help with hunger
3 Around 500,000 children in poverty who are entitled to receive a free school meal are still missing out, in some cases because they don’t know they can get this vital support. Find out if your children may be entitled on the government’s website.
Having a baby
4 Having a baby can make things particularly tight for families living on a low income. It is a time when it is particularly important to make sure they get all the help that’s available. One form of help is the Sure Start Maternity Grant, which gives some families £500 to help with the costs of their new-born.
Living with disability
5 Families affected by disabilities are particularly likely to be living in poverty, but too often they miss out on the crucial help that is out there.
6 Sometimes, no matter how careful families are, they can run out of money altogether. Local authorities can offer help to families facing a financial crisis so they can keep the heating on and children fed. The Children’s Society has created a map of where this vital emergency support can be found by local authority.
Needing help with paying rent
7 Sometimes families find it impossible to keep up with the rental payments on their home. Help for this can be found through the housing benefit. In addition, for families still struggling to make ends meet, local authorities offer help with these costs through discretionary housing payments.
8 Keeping up with debt repayments can be a constant struggle for families living on low incomes. But, free, expert advice, such as that provided by the charity Stepchange, is available for help.
Help with the under-fives
9 Children’s centres can help families with under-fives and many of the services are free. You can get help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.
Help with childcare
10 Parents may be able to get 15 hours a week of free early years education for their two, three or four-year-olds. Find out more about how to get this on the government’s early education webpage. For parents who are working and need additional help with their childcare costs, for example, through Tax Credits, they can find out more about help with childcare costs here.
The views of the Children's Society do not necessarily reflect those of Channel 5 News