Little-known way parents can get up to £580 free cash for kids clothes – and it's NOT the school uniform grant | The Sun

STRUGGLING households can get up to £580 in free cash for school uniforms through a little-known scheme.

The cost of living is still putting pressure on many family budgets, and the average cost of dressing each child for secondary school comes in at nearly £100, the Schoolwear Association says.

But many parents don't know that a number of councils in the UK are offering extra help on top of school uniform grants.

Families can also receive what's known as "local welfare assistance" in the form of a one-off cash payment to cover the cost of school clothes.

In some cases the support can be worth hundreds of pounds, but it can depend on where you are.

Sara Williams, who writes the Debt Camel blog, explained: "Different councils have different schemes available.

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"Sometimes it is called household support, sometimes other names such as local welfare assistance."

The Sun approached 20 local authorities in England to find out if they offer local welfare assistance to cover the cost of school uniforms.

Four said they did, including Southwark Council, Islington Council and Ealing Council, all in London.

Worcester City Council has also handed out grants worth up to £580 previously.

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Who is eligible and how to claim

Welfare assistance schemes are usually in place to help with essentials like bills, food and clothes.

There's no set criteria and each council dishes out the help differently but it's discretionary so you are not guaranteed to receive it.

Usually you'll have to show that you're in financial hardship and it's not just for those on benefits.

It's different to the school uniform grant scheme which is offered in some areas as a dedicated pot of cash aimed at families on a low income or benefits.

In some cases, you might be offered help following an emergency or crisis, like if you are fleeing from domestic violence.

The best thing to do is contact your local council to see what local welfare assistance is available to you.

You can find out who your local council is by using the Government's council locator tool on its website.

Meanwhile, Sara advised contacting your local advice agency, such as Citizens Advice, to see if you can get help, including beyond local welfare assistance.

She explained: "Your local Citizens Advice or another local advice agency will be able to suggest what you could get.

"This may include other help as well such as Discretionary Housing Payments, Crisis Support and Discretionary Council Tax Support."

What other help can I get?

Bear in mind, local welfare assistance isn't just offered to households to cover the costs of school uniform.

Some councils have been known to pay out grants worth up to £1,000 to pay for furniture.

Others have distributed supermarket vouchers or offered to cover households' energy bills.

Again, it's worth contacting your local council about what help is available.

Bear in mind, local welfare assistance schemes are different outside of England.

The Scottish Welfare Fund offers a similar service in Scotland while Welsh households can get help via the Welsh Discretionary Fund.

Regardless of where you live, End Furniture Poverty has a tool that takes you to your local welfare assistance page.

It can be found via

Meanwhile, you might be able to get help via a cost of living payment.

The payments are being issued by the Government, not local councils though.

There are three payments in total, worth £900, £150 and £150-£300.

The £900 payment has been split into three instalments worth £301, £300 and £299.

The first instalment should have already been paid in April or May, while the other two are being made in autumn 2023 and spring 2024 respectively.

You are eligible for the payments if you claim any of the following benefits:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

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Meanwhile, the £150 payment has already been made to millions with disabilities.

Millions of pensioners are in line for a £150-£300 top up on their Winter Fuel payment from November this year also.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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