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.

Advice on money, debt or benefit entitlement

Children and families

  • 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.

Free wifi and digital support

  • 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 you can find out more on our library computers page. The first 60 minutes is free if you are:
    • aged 18 years or under in full-time education
    • a job seeker in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance or employment and support allowance
    • someone whose use of computers is severely restricted by a physical or cognitive difficulty
  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.

Further support