- Free Pink Orange Meal Kits
- Free School Meals
- School Uniform
- Fuel Poverty
- Norfolk Assistance Scheme
- Helpful Agencies
Benefits support individuals and families financially when they need it. There are benefits that are for;
- Most families – like child benefit
- Those who are not working at the moment or are on a low income
- Those who have additional needs, disabilities or caring responsibilities, meaning they have bigger financial costs.
It is a good idea to check you and your family are getting all of the benefits you are entitled to. The GOV.UK website has a recommended benefits calculators *here*.
It is important that you report any changes in your circumstances as soon as possible so you are not being paid too much or too little. Find out more about changes you need to report and how to get in touch *here*.
If money is tight it can be tempting to borrow; from friends and family, store and credit cards or other loan companies. This can become a big worry quite quickly and the money you have coming in can be eaten up by what you already owe.
If this has happened to you don’t feel embarrassed - there is help available. It can be tempting to hide from the problem but the first step is to accept something needs to change. Keeping it to yourself can have a bad affect on your mental wellbeing. There are always ways that you can be helped with your money worries.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member.
- Make a list of all money coming in and going out and all your debts. Are there are any expenses that you could reduce?
If it all feels overwhelming and you can’t see how to get back on track, this can be a sign that it is time to get some expert help. Get specialist advice from an independent, free to use provider. They are expert at helping people through debt problems. You could try;
Be aware that there are many other companies that say they can help you sort out your debt. You should be able to get the advice for free they should not refer you to high interest rate services.
When you see an expert for help it is a good idea to have a list of all income, costs and debts ready - this will help them to help you.
Being in debt can cause so much stress and upset. Having a plan to get back on track will be a weight off your mind.
The Pink Orange scheme delivers free meal kits and activity boxes directly to families that need them.
What's inside the parcel?
- There will be enough ingredients for your household to make four meals for everybody to enjoy.
- Each meal will be supplied with easy to follow recipe cards, some recipes will also have simple videos to follow too!
- Your box will also contain a simple activity packs that your household can enjoy together.
How can I apply?
- Visit www.pinkorange.co.uk to find out more and complete the online form. You can also text or call 07553 894233.
- You can ask a professional working with your family for help to apply or to apply on your behalf. Pink Orange will then contact you to put together a box that suits your family’s needs.
How will I collect the parcel?
- The Pink Orange meal kit will be delivered to your home.
If you are struggling to feed your family, you can get help from a local foodbank, or use a community fridge - find out more *here*.
Norfolk County Council is providing free online courses offering simple cooking tutorials. Find out how to use readily available, everyday ingredients to create affordable, nutritious and delicious family friendly dishes. Courses start on 11th January and 22nd February 2021. *Click here* to find out more and book your place.
All children in Year Reception, 1 and 2 will receive free school meals.
From Year 3, children whose parents or carers get one or more of the following may also be able claim free school meals;
- Universal Credit (provided the family has an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400)
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (with no Working Tax Credit) and an annual income of no more than £16,190
- Working Tax Credit run on – paid for four weeks after a claimant stops qualifying for Working Tax Credit
You can find out more about how to apply for free school meals *here* or ask your child’s school for help.
If your child is not currently in school due to COVID-19, speak to their school about accessing food and support at home. You can find out more about how schools are supporting families with free school meals *here*.
Getting everything your child needs for school can be an added pressure when you are on a budget. There are ways to keep the costs down and help available if you need it.
Start getting ready early – that way you can decide exactly what you need and spread the cost too.
- Ask family and friends if they have any hand me downs – school uniform is often grown out of before it is worn out!
- Local charity shops often have second hand uniform for nearby schools for sale. Or you can ask if anybody has any on local social media sale sites.
- Start a uniform ‘pool’ where a group of friends and family share outgrown uniform around.
- Supermarkets often have multi packs and school uniform offers at lower prices.
- If your child’s school has badges and emblems ask if you can buy these separately to sew/ iron on so you can buy the cheaper uniform options.
If you are worried that you cannot afford the uniform your child needs Norfolk County Council's Norfolk Assistance Scheme may be able to help.
There may also be local charitable organisations who can offer support with this. Ask your child’s school for advice on how you can access this help.
Schools know affording uniform and equipment is not easy for a lot of families and are used to people asking for help.
Norfolk County Council has a directory of local charitable organisations *here*.
Fuel poverty describes when people struggle to pay for the energy (gas, oil or electricity) they need to keep their home warm, cook their food and have hot water. If they pay for the fuel they need they won’t be able to afford other essentials.
You should not have to choose between these and if you are struggling there may be help you can access.
- Get in touch with your supplier as soon as you think you might struggle to pay their bill / top up a fuel metre card. They will talk to you about your options.
- Sometimes switching your supplier keeps costs lower. The Uswitch website can help you do this easily
- In an emergency you may be able to get help with fuel costs from the Norfolk Assistance Scheme
- Citizens Advice – have information on getting help with energy costs.
Whilst technology is not ‘essential’ it is becoming more recognised that it can hold families back if they do not have access to the internet or a device.
This is true for families where someone is searching for work. As children get older it can harder for them to fully engage in some parts of their education without it.
There is sometimes support available to get hold of laptops, dongles, smartphones and Wi-Fi. Norfolk Assistance Scheme may be able to help with these costs in some circumstances.
If you are struggling to set up home learning equipment, Norfolk Libraries service can offer guidance and advice to families to help get them online and set up. You can talk to a member of library staff on the end of a telephone on 01603 774777 from 10am-6pm Monday to Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturdays.
If your child has no access to technology – speak to your their school / college in the first instance. They may be able to help or signpost you for support.
The Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS) is there to help local families with some practical support, urgent costs and expenses. During the coronavirus pandemic they are making sure support is available.
Who gets help?
To access their support you need to live in Norfolk and be aged 16 or over. You will be asked a set of questions to check if you are able to apply;
- Do you receive or have you applied for an income-related benefit? (Including those who are self-employed or have recently been laid off work).
- Have you stopped working and are now awaiting the first payment of a new means tested benefit claim?
- Have you got children who depend on you?
- Do you have a disability or mental health problem?
- Are you fleeing domestic violence?
- Do you need help to remain in the community?
- Are you part of a planned resettlement scheme?
What can they help with?
- The Norfolk Assistance Scheme can help by providing emergency cash for food.
- You may be clinically vulnerable and / or self-isolating and not have friends or family that can help you.
- The NAS can arrange an initial delivery of food. They can also refer you to your District Help Hub. The hub can arrange for someone to help you with tasks like getting shopping, picking up prescription medication, and dog-walking.
Cash or household items
- The scheme can also help provide essential household items such as white goods and beds if you are eligible for this support.
- Eligible families will be able to apply for outdoor resources, including clothing, gardening equipment and explorer packs for them to use in their communities.
Urgent help with gas and electricity costs
- You may be able to get help with fuel costs. It is important to get in touch with your fuel supplier straight away if you are behind with payments of your gas or electricity bills.
- If you’re on a pre-payment meter and have run out of credit and need gas or electricity urgently, Citizen’s Advice have information *here*.
How do I apply?
Requests for emergency cash or food should be made via phone on 01603 223392 (option 5). These calls are treated as a priority.
- You may be asked to give extra information so they can approve your application. This might include bank statements, payslips, universal credit journal entries or other proof that they ask for.
- Apart from for food, the team ask that you apply for online if you can *here*.
- You can ask a friend or family member to help you. Support workers or other professionals that know your family may be able to help you with this too.
- You can call Just One Norfolk on 0300 300 0123 to discuss this too.
What help might I get?
If your application is approved you might get assessed as needing a;
- Daily living payment
- This is a cash payment by ‘PayPoint’ or a transfer to your bank account (BACS)
- You will need an email account for this option. If you do not have one let the team know when you apply
- If you cannot go out because you are self-isolating / unwell / disabled / elderly you can choose a trusted family member or friend to receive the payment on your behalf. They can then do your shop for you.
- A food / essentials package - This is similar to the food bank offer. You can get this by;
- Click and collect - you or a friend can collect this from a supermarket
- Supermarket online delivery to your home
- If you are not able to get a delivery slot and you do not have friends or family available to help a direct delivery of a food / essentials package arranged by the Norfolk Assistance Scheme.
- Organised delivery
- To supply approved applications for essential household items such as white goods and beds.
Click the image below for details of local and national agencies which can offer support.
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.