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Help for families

If you have children and are struggling with the cost of living, make sure you are claiming all the support available to you.  

Free childcare   

The Government offers support for childcare costs, including up to 30 hours of free childcare to eligible families and tax-free childcare for working families. Find out more on the Childcare Choices website.

Plymouth has a wide range of childcare providers that can help to look after children and young people. Find a childcare provider.  

Free school meals 

If you receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, then your child may be entitled to a free lunch at school. Schools receive extra funding for children entitled to free school meals which means it’s important to apply if you can, even if your child is in reception, year 1 or year 2 and so already receives a free lunch.  

It's easy to apply, just complete the form on our website and we can check your eligibility online. You’ll then receive an email confirming the outcome of your application, which is also sent directly to your child’s school.  

We have a five day turnaround for all free school meals applications and will advise your child's school of the date the free school meals start. 

Check the criteria and apply for free school meals.

Children that receive free school meals will also receive food vouchers during school holidays to the value of £13 per child per week. The vouchers can be redeemed at various supermarkets and the scheme will last until at least Easter 2023.  

Free food or meals via Healthy Start 

If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, 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. We'll add your benefit onto this card every for weeks. Find out more on the NHS website.

Uniform store Plymouth

The Uniform Store Plymouth is a free service available to help families kit out children of all ages with the uniform they need for school. This service is available to anyone who needs it, with no referral required. There is currently a pop-up shop at 34 New George Street in the city centre, which is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm.

This service is a joint project run by Plymouth Vineyard Church and Redeemer Church Plymouth, supported by donations of good quality school uniform.