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If you're a parent or carer and need support with childcare costs, there are a range of grants and schemes that could be available to you.

Help with paying for childcare

You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the cost of childcare.

Look into free childcare for various age ranges:

Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds

15 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds – or 570 free hours a year

30 hours free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds – depending on your work situation, income, circumstances and your immigration status

You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit, with up to £646 back each month for one child or £1,108 for two or more children.

If you’re a parent carer of a disabled child

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children

If you’re the parent carer of a disabled child, aged under 16 who has difficulties walking, or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability, you could claim DLA.

Carer’s assessment

You can request a carer’s assessment for free, and anyone over 18 can ask for one. The assessment intends to see what help might make your life as a carer easier and it’s separate from the needs assessment that the person you care for might have.

If you’re expecting a baby

You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child through the Sure Start Maternity Grant.

If you’re a grandparent caring for your grandchildren

Grandparents caring for their grandchildren (under 12) could qualify for National Insurance Credits that can top up their income in retirement.

Free school meals

Your child may be able to get free school meals and up to £150 towards school uniform costs through your local council’s website.

National Breakfast Clubs

All participating schools will receive a 75% government subsidy for breakfast club provision, with 25% from other funding streams.

Child Benefit

You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16 or under 20 (if they say in approved education or training).

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child. It’s paid every four weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Holiday activities and food programme

You can get access to free activities and food for your children in the holidays if they receive free school meals. The programme usually runs through the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays.


Healthy Start vouchers

If you’re more than ten weeks pregnant or have a child aged under four, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk for the Healthy Start scheme.

If you’re in Scotland, you can apply for Best Start Foods instead.

If you work in healthcare, the Armed Forces, or the emergency services

Blue Light Card

A Blue Light Card costs £4.99 for two years and you’ll need your work ID or a recent payslip to prove you’re eligible. It offers discounts at over 15,000 high street and online stores and covers lots of areas including insurance, phones, cars, and days out.

Defence Privilege Card

The Defence Discount Service provides discounts both online and on the high street for members of the Armed Forces, Veterans and Armed Forces Community. It’s the home of the Defence Privilege Card, which is a vetted discount card that can be used in stores, restaurants, and venues to obtain discounts.

Other costs

Six months free broadband

TalkTalk works with Jobcentre Plus and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to offer six months of free broadband to jobseekers across the UK.

Vodafone Together scheme

The Trussell Trust, which is the UK’s biggest foodbank network, has teamed up with Vodafone to provide phones and SIMs to people in need. You’ll have to be referred to a Trussell Trust foodbank to benefit from the scheme.


Freecycle is a not-for-profit organisation which helps people in need of furniture reuse perfectly good items which might otherwise have ended up in a landfill.

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