Find out what support is available to help you and your family get through the cost-of-living crisis.
Let us know if you’re in financial difficulty
We know that many families are going through a tough time this winter and we want to do everything we can to help you and your child. If you’re struggling with your finances, please get in touch to let us know, as there may be things we can suggest which will help.
Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Family Hub
Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)
You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get support from your local CAB, you just need to be a resident of the local area. The CAB can help you with:
- Getting benefits or organising other financial support
- Accessing support for essential costs (food, bills, rent)
Visit the Citizens Advice website or contact your local branch to book an appointment. Find your local branch with Citizens Advice’s branch locator.
Contact your local Family Hub to get help accessing all the support you might need as a family. Find your local hub here
Check you’re paying the right amount of tax
Make sure you’re on the right tax code. If you aren’t you might be due a refund. Use the Money Saving Expert’s free tax code calculator to find out.
Claim any benefits you’re entitled to
Use 1 of these benefits calculators to determine whether there are any benefits you could be claiming:
- Policy in Practice
- Support for migrant families – use this calculator if you are a migrant family, or if you have no recourse to public funds (meaning you’re not entitled to the majority of welfare benefits)
You may be able to get benefits paid early if you need cash urgently – this is known as ‘a short-term benefit advance’. You will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
office at that’s dealing with your claim.
Check you’ve received all the government’s cost-of-living payments
The government’s cost-of-living payments are available for those receiving certain benefits or tax credits. You don’t need to apply for these – if you’re eligible the money should go straight into your account.
If you think you’re due a payment but haven’t received one, report a missing payment to the government here.
Be aware of scams! If you receive any emails, texts or phone calls asking you to fill in an application form or asking for your bank details to receive a cost-of-living payment, do not talk to them or send a reply. Get more information on cost-of-living scams on the Money Saving Expert’s website.
Find out what help you can get with your energy bills
Check if your child is entitled to free school meals (FSM)
If your child is eligible for FSM you need to get them registered. This will allow them to get a free meal at school, and we’ll get extra funding (known as the pupil premium) to support your child’s learning.
Go to this government website to check if your child is eligible. Please see further advice on our school website’s Free School Meals tab: https://ralphsadleir.herts.sch.uk/free-school-meals/
See what other support you can get from your local authority
Local authorities have many schemes that you might be eligible for, including:
- The Holiday Activities and Food Programme – access to food and activities over the school holidays. Note that if your child is eligible for free school meals (see above), they’ll also qualify for this programme
- Help with transport to school
- Help with school uniform costs
Get free or low-cost food
If you’re worried about not having enough food to feed your family, you’re not alone. There are a number of places offering support.
- Talk to us about our school Breakfast club.
- If you have a child under 4, and meet the eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to healthy start food vouchers
- Find your local food bank here: Bankuet, The Independent Food Aid Network, the Trussell Trust, or your local community fridge
- Use food waste apps and websites like Olio (for free food and household items from your local community), Too Good To Go (for low-cost food from local restaurants), or Low Price Foods (food that has passed its best before date, but is still safe to eat)
- Become a member of a community shop. These organisations sell food to their members at a reduced price. Some shops are free to join if you meet certain criteria, and others ask for a small contribution. Find out if there’s one near you by checking these websites: Community Shop, Your Local Pantry, Community Grocery
- Get more tips on free and cheap meals from Which
Free hygiene products
- Food banks may offer free toiletries and sanitary products. Check with your local food bank to see what’s available.
- Find the cheapest disposable sanitary products on Sanitary Saver
Replace or repair household items at a low cost or for free
Check if you can get broken household goods replaced or repaired by your local community.
Find a warm space to beat the chill
Some community spaces open their doors to provide a safe and warm space for a few hours. Many also offer hot drinks and WiFi.
Find a warm bank on: