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Advice, support and help when you are struggling with costs for children aged 0-18 years

General Support

£2,000 in government funding available to help with childcare costs

Families can save up to £2,000 a year towards their childcare costs.

Tax-Free Childcare can help pay for:

  • holiday clubs
  • before and after-school clubs
  • childminders and nurseries
  • and other approved childcare schemes

It is available to families with children up to the age of 11 or 17, if your child has a disability.

The government will pay 20% of childcare costs by topping up the money paid into a Tax-Free Childcare account. For every £8 paid into the online account, families will receive an extra £2 in government top-up.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

You could get a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. This is known as a Sure Start Maternity Grant.

You usually qualify for the grant if both of the following apply:

  • You’re expecting your first child, or you’re expecting a multiple birth (such as twins) and have children already
  • You or your partner already get certain benefits

You must claim the grant within 11 weeks of the baby’s due date or within 6 months after the baby’s birth.

You do not have to pay the grant back and it will not affect your other benefits or tax credits

Family Hubs

Our Family Centres work together with a range of agencies and organisations to support families.

Dudley Holiday Activities

The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme offers free funded activities and meals for eligible children across the borough

Families can register if their child/children are eligible:

  • for benefit related free school meals
  • are aged between 5 and 16
  • and are resident or attend school in Dudley borough

Register on the Dudley Holiday Activities website.

Affordable days out

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport through the Help for Households campaign has created an interactive map which shares free and affordable events taking place across England.

If you have any events you’d like DCMS to include in their campaign activity, please share your events by completing a short form

Child benefit payments for teenagers in full-time education or training

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are reminding parents and carers of teens staying in full-time education or training that they need to let HMRC know to continue receiving Child Benefit payments.

  • Individuals wanting to continue claiming Child Benefit are reminded to take action by 31 August, or their payments will automatically stop.

Individuals with children aged 16 and 17 who confirm this online or on the HMRC app will see changes applied to their Child Benefit claim immediately, by  viewing their proof of entitlement.

Individuals with children 18 or over who are eligible can advise HMRC on an online form, and changes will be applied automatically.

Users can also see recent Child Benefit payments and update their bank and address details instantly online or in the app.


Brierley Hill Babybank

Many families experience financial hardship as they try to adjust to having a new baby at home. The Brierley Hill Babybank supports families with baby essentials.

Healthy Start Scheme

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. The NHS will add your benefit onto this card every 4 weeks.

You can use your card to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

You can also use your card to collect:

Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years old

School Meals

If you are struggling to pay for food for your child you may be eligible for free school meals.

If your child is in Reception, years one or two, under Universal Infant Free School Meals criteria they can receive free school meals. If you do not meet the criteria, please complete our online free school meals application form.

Your child could be entitled to receive free school meals if you receive any of the following support:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit Run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit (you must have less than £616.67 a month net earned income (after tax - and not including any benefits)
  • Children who receive a qualifying benefit in their own right are also allowed to receive free school meals.
  • Children under the compulsory school age who are in full time education may also be entitled to receive free school meals.


Many schools run a uniform recycling scheme, ask your child’s school if they have anything in place. Some schools may also a fund to support parents who are struggling to afford school uniforms.

Hope House

Hope House in Gornal, offers open days for free uniforms.

Friends of Dormston Community

Friends of Dormston Community are running a pre-loved uniform service.

All items have been washed, ironed and quality checked and only high quality pre-loved uniform is sold

They work closely with Dormston School and other charitable organisations to offer any uniform for free to any families who are in desperate need. 

Free activities for children and families

The Dudley Community Information Directory contains activities in the borough for children and families.

Making finance decisions for young disabled adults

The Ministry of Justice have published a toolkit to help parents and carers better understand their rights and what they need to do under the Mental Capacity Act to manage the finances of their child – should they lose the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Funds saved in bank accounts, such as Child Trust Funds and Junior ISAs, can help families provide care for their child or be used to buy specialist equipment to support their needs.

The toolkit will ensure parents in this situation understand fully the principles of the Act and the steps they need to take to help them plan better and tackle barriers in accessing these funds.

IT equipment and books

You can visit any of Dudley’s Libraries to browse and select books, CDs and DVDs as well as using library computers and free Wi-Fi.

They also have a wide range of online resources including ebooks, emagazines and papers that you can access from home. All you need to be is a library member.


We provide education travel support for eligible children and young people up to the age of 25.

Our support can come in a variety of forms, including travel training, bus pass and personal allowance. We check each option so that it is appropriate to the individual pupils' needs.


Time for Twos is our service that can provide up to 15 hours of free childcare. You can apply for a Time for Twos place for your child as soon as they have had their second birthday. This runs for three terms until your child moves to their free early education place the term after their third birthday.

We can also offer a free education place as part of our Extra time for threes and fours.

Childcare Choices

You may be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare.
  • up to £500 every three months (£2,000 a year) per child
  • or £1,000 (£4,000 a year) if your child is disabled
You can use this to help with before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, holiday clubs and other approved childcare schemes.


Many secondary Schools offer a red box scheme where free sanitary products are provided, please check with your school’s reception.