There are a wide variety of support schemes and organisations in North Yorkshire which may be able to help or advise if you are struggling to pay for essentials.

  • Free School Meals. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are automatically entitled to free school meals, but parents and carers who are eligible for certain financial support may also be able to obtain Free School Meals for children at primary or secondary school. Read more information on qualifying for free school meals and how to apply.
  • FEAST holiday clubs. For help in the summer holidays, the Holiday Activity and Food programme, known locally as FEAST, will be providing a wide range of activities for children and young people in North Yorkshire. The activities are free to children on benefits-related free school meals and include a hot meal or packed lunch each day. Read more information about  FEAST holiday clubs.
  • Government funding is available to support childcare costs including tax free childcare which is for all working families with children under 12 years old (or under 17 for children with a disability).
    • Some two-year-old children are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, depending on income and the receipt of certain benefits. See if you qualify for 15 hours of free childcare for two-year-olds.
    • Children are automatically eligible for 15 hours of universal funding for up to 38 weeks per year the term after their third birthday. You do not need to apply for this, but you need to discuss and arrange this with your childcare provider.
    • In addition to the universal 15 hours of government funding, some families may be entitled to claim an extra 15 hours of childcare per week, bringing the total to 30 hours. This is known as Extended Entitlement government funding.
    • See further information on accessing support with your childcare costs, including tax credit, tax free childcare and government funding.
    • Libraries offer a range of free events and activities for children and families. Contact your local library to see what is on offer.
  • If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to NHS support to help you buy healthy food and milk. Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme on the NHS website.
  • The Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising children and young people with disabilities or who are seriously ill. A range of grants are available which can cover essential items such as fridge, washing machines and clothing, as well as computers and sensory toys. Find out more from The Family Fund.
  • Healthy Schools and Early Years in North Yorkshire have a range of information, advice and guidance available for parents, including cost saving and waste tips. Find out more on the Healthy Schools and Early Years in North Yorkshire website.
  • Twenty towns across the county have a free and secure public wifi network. These networks, which are Friendly Wifi accredited, provide you with unlimited access to the internet. You can see the list of towns in the county offering free internet access and how to connect on our free public wifi page.
  • Our libraries have over 300 computers available to use and the first 60 minutes is free, each day. Find out more about library computers. Libraries also offer free Wi-Fi.
  • Our Reboot initiative involves distributing unwanted laptops, tablets and other devices which have been donated. To access the scheme you need a referral from a local voluntary sector organisation, a school, the county council’s Early Help or Living Well team, or a faith group. Referrals can be made on the Reboot website. The scheme is designed to help:
    • children to access online school lessons or homework
    • families with no, or limited, access to the internet
    • vulnerable people who may be socially isolated
    • older people to enable them to stay in touch with services, friends and family
  • The Good Things Foundation provide free data and refurbished digital devices to those in need, find out more on the Good Things Foundation website
  • Citizens Online is there to help people get online. If you or someone you know needs support with their digital skills, please call 0808 196 5883.
  • The government announced in August 2022 that broadband bills can be reduced for low income households through social tariffs. Run by the Department of Work and Pensions, internet service providers are able to check, with your permission, whether you are in receipt of a relevant benefit and therefore eligible for extra financial support. Please contact your broadband provider to see if they are participating.
  • You can reduce the cost of commuting and help reduce carbon emissions by signing up to Liftshare for free. The scheme matches up people making the same car journey and allows them to split the cost of their commute by sharing a lift. Find out more on the Liftshare website.
  • You can also find information about bus passes for disabled people or older people of pensionable age in our bus passes section.
  • The North Yorkshire Home Efficiency Fund is offering a range of fully-funded energy-saving home improvements to eligible homeowners in the Scarborough, Ryedale and Hambleton districts. Properties could receive improvements including insulation, solar panels, air source heat pumps and high heat retention electric storage heaters, depending on property suitability. To qualify, residents must have a household income of £30,000 or less, or receive means-tested benefits. Find out how to apply on our home efficiency fund page.
  • If you are a resident living in Selby, Craven or Harrogate and would like to know more about energy saving schemes in your area, the City of York Council is managing the North Yorkshire Local Authority Areas’ energy improvement schemes on behalf of Craven, Selby and Harrogate and may have funding available for certain improvements. For more information contact the City of York Council on 01904 552300 or email betterhomes@york.gov.uk Further information is available from Better Homes Yorkshire
  • Please check if you are eligible for a Warm Homes Discount of £150 over the winter period. Details are available on the warm homes discount scheme on the government website.
  • Yorkshire Energy Doctor work with households to try and reduce energy costs and to try and ensure that people can afford to live in a warm home. For more information see the Yorkshire Energy Doctor website.
  • North Yorkshire Connect is our online directory for North Yorkshire, providing information about the diverse range of community groups and services in the county.
  • Many communities will have shared spaces where activities take place and you can improve your wellbeing by getting together with other people. Attending activities or events locally may mean that you can reduce the need to heat your own house for a period of time. Find your nearest community support organisation.
  • Staff or volunteers at your local library will be pleased to see you and you will be able to sit down and read a newspaper or book, use the computers, or find out what is happening in your area. They are good places for young people to do homework or revision. Find out more in our local libraries section.
  • You may be eligible for our free home library service if you cannot visit the library or carry books because of ill health or disability, or if you are a carer. Audio books, CDs or DVDs can also be delivered via the service.
  • If you are looking for a Warm Welcome Space this winter or would like to register your venue as a Warm Welcome Space find out more on the Warm Welcome Space website. Your local Community Support Organisation will also hold information on locally based activity where you will receive a Warm Welcome. 

Ryedale:

Selby:

Craven:

Harrogate:

Hambleton:

Richmondshire:

Further support