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Community Action Cost of Living Family Support

If you are struggling during the cost of living crisis, check what  benefits and financial support you may be able to get to support you and your family. Below you'll find a list of benefits from childcare to maternity support. 

Updated: 14/12/2023


Tax-free 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.

Claim tax-free childcare

30 hours free childcare

Eligible working families in England with 3 and 4 year old children can receive 30 hours of free childcare a week.

Visit Childcare Choices for more information

15 hours free childcare

Families in England who have 2 year old children and are on certain benefits can get 15 hours of free childcare a week.

All families with children aged 3 and 4 can also access 15 hours of free childcare a week.

Visit Childcare Choices for more information

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund 4 (HSF4) is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Government to local authorities to support families with children and individuals most in need. The HS4 Fund scheme runs from April 2023 to March 2024.

How does the scheme work?
Financial support will be provided in the following ways for eligible Derby households:

  • Free school meals: Households with children receiving free school meals will be supported during the term breaks. This will continue to be distributed as voucher codes, through schools as part of the HSF4 scheme.
  • Food vouchers: The spring/summer online voucher application form issued £500,000 of food vouchers to over 4700 families in need. The autumn/winter online food voucher application form will open for applications in December 2023 through to the end of March 2024, or until all the allocated £500,000 funding is awarded to eligible households.
  • ​​Welcome hubs: The fund also provides financial support for up to 40 local services and organisations across the city to further develop a community led cost of living support network that includes a warm welcome, hot meal, help towards energy cost as well as help accessing other cost of living support. More details will follow shortly.
  • Energy support: The fund provide access to financial support for help with energy costs in the form of energy vouchers. This support will be available from the end of October through the Warm Welcome Hubs across the city. A list of Warm Welcome Hubs is available on the Warm Welcome Hubs page.

For more information visit:

School Meals & Holiday Activities

Apply for free school meals

Free school meals are available to pupils in England if parents get certain benefits.

Check if your child can get free school meals

National Breakfast Clubs

All participating schools will receive a 100% subsidy for breakfast club provision until the end of July 2022.

Find out more about the National School Breakfast Programme

Holiday Activities Food Programme (HAF)

Boy spraying graffiti onto the cameraThe Holiday Activity and Food Programme aims to provide support for families in Derby by providing free activities and meals during school holidays and beyond.

Holiday Activities and Food sessions are available this Summer for children eligible for school meals.

There are 29 activity providers across the city, ensuring children are active and receive a meal.

Activities range from music production, drama and science experiments as well as sports and physical activities like football, rugby, basketball and street dance.

Click here for more information

Revive Centre Charity

Revive supports residents living in the Derwent, Chaddesden, Oakwood or Spondon areas of Derby. They offer a range of support including:

  • Revive Aid School Holidays Support Fund

  • The Christmas Pantry, which focusses on keeping the magic of Christmas alive by providing Christmas gifts to struggling families.

For more information visit:, call 01332 288700 or email

Derby Libraries

  • Derby Libraries have recommended books to provide useful information to help with rising costs. The books cover everything from how to manage your finances to cooking for your family on a budget. They include:  On the money: take control of your finances to build a life you love, Feed your family for £20 a week, Cooking on a bootstrap: over 100 simple, budget recipes. Books are on display in Derby Libraries and borrowing is free with your library card.
  • Your Derby Libraries card will give you access to free computer sessions, free eBooks, eAudiobooks and popular magazines and newspapers online:
  • Derby Libraries run free activities for adults, knit and natter groups, coffee mornings and reading groups. Families can have fun at a free rhymetime. Find out how to join at: Follow on Twitter @derbylibraries and Facebook @derbycitylibraries. For more information contact:

Family Activities

  • FREE Family Learning Activities from Derby Adult Learning Service.
  • A number of Derby's parks have prestigious green flag awards and are a great location to take the children:
  • 52 things to do before you’re 5 – fun activities parents and children can do together to aid early learning and development.
  • Derby Active Leisure Card – Residents of Derby can receive 20% discount on leisure activities at Derby Arena and Springwood Leisure Centre with a Derby Active Leisure Card. Derby residents in receipt of certain benefits can access the Recreation Leisure Card, providing access to racket sports for only £1.60 adults and 80p for children. For terms and conditions and further information visit the Derby Active Leisure Cards website:

Other Benefits for Families

Child Benefit

You can claim Child Benefit if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is:

  • under 16

  • under 20 if they stay in approved education or training

Only one person can get Child Benefit for a child.

It’s paid every 4 weeks and there’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

Claim Child Benefit

Claim back childcare costs

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 2 or more children.

Find out more about claiming back childcare costs

Claim Healthy Start vouchers

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be able to get help to buy healthy food and milk. The healthy start scheme card gets topped up every four weeks and you can use it to help you buy things like cow’s milk, baby formula, fruit and veg and healthy start vitamins.

Check if you’re eligible for Healthy Start vouchers

Get help with maternity costs

You could claim a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child.

Check if you’re eligible for the Sure Start Maternity Grant

Other Support for Families

The St James Centre can offer free support for families of disabled children and adults, parent support groups and family trips.

Pop in to St James Centre, Malcolm Street, Normanton, Derby DE23 8LU, call 01332 604080 or email