I’m a single parent and lost my job during the pandemic.
My local Citizens Advice helped me apply for Universal Credit which has been really
helpful to cover some of the income I’ve lost. But I’m very worried about my children,
especially buying their school uniforms and shoes, now they are growing so fast!
Is there any support out there until I can find another job?
If you’re on a low income or employed, you might be able to get help with some of the costs
of sending your child to school, including school meals, transport and uniform. It’s always
worth talking to your local education authority to see what support is available.
Free school meals
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 automatically get free school meals. If you have
older children you can apply for free school meals if you get certain benefits. In your case as
you’re on Universal Credit and you applied after 1 April 2018 you would be eligible if you
earn less than £7,400 a year without benefits. You can see the full list of eligibility
requirements on the Citizens Advice website . To apply for free school meals you need to
contact your local authority, you can check the details at Gov.uk by typing your postcode in.
If your children are aged between five to 16, your local education authority might offer free or
lower cost transport if you don’t live near school or your child is unable to walk there. You
need to apply to your local education authority for help.
Uniforms and other costs
Your local education authority might also be able to help with some other costs, like
uniforms, music lessons or trips and activities. There may also be local charitable schemes
to help with these costs. It’s worth checking with the school to see if it knows of any. If you
live in South Lakeland, contact South Lakes Citizens Advice as they may be able to help
with sourcing grants. Schools can sometimes also advise on finding secondhand uniforms.
If your child is staying in education after year 11, you must tell HMRC’s Child Benefit
Office if you want to continue receiving child benefit and any extra support for
children within means-tested benefits. When your child turns 16, HMRC will send
you a letter asking whether your child will stay in education or training. You must
reply to this letter to keep getting Child Benefit.
Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens
Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing,
employment or any other problems.
South Lakes Citizens Advice, your local charity, is here for you.
How to access:
Call 015394 46464 – this is being staffed from 9:30 – 2pm
Adviceline: 0808 2787 984
email advice via our submission page on our website
Help to Claim (Universal Support): 0800 144 8 444