Tag Archive for: 15 hours free childcare

Rough Guide to Free Childcare Through Universal Credit

Today we explain who is eligible, what funding is available and how to claim free childcare through Universal Credit.Universal Credit provides essential financial support to individuals and families in the UK, particularly those who are on low incomes, are jobless or are unable to work. One crucial aspect of this support is childcare funding. In today’s detailed guide, we will delve into the details of free childcare through Universal Credit, explain who is eligible, what funding is available to those who are, how to claim, and more.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a Government welfare benefit that was introduced to streamline the support available to eligible individuals and families. Its primary goal is to provide financial assistance to those who need it, taking into account various aspects of an individual or family’s financial situation.

Without getting too bogged down in unnecessary detail here, Universal Credit is thus named because it is replacing several existing benefits, including Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance (‘JSA’), Child Tax Credit, and others. Today, however, we’ll focus purely on the childcare funding element.

Who is Eligible for Childcare Funding Through Universal Credit?

Childcare funding through Universal Credit is primarily intended for parents on low incomes.Childcare funding through Universal Credit is primarily intended for parents on low incomes who require childcare services to either maintain current employment, increase working hours, or transition into paid work within a month. Eligibility caveats for you — and your partner if you have one — include the following:

  • Except for a few exceptions, you usually both have to be in paid work, or have an offer of paid work for a position starting within a month.
  • Earnings and income must fall within specific thresholds to qualify.
  • The childcare provider you use must be officially registered/approved by OFSTED or equivalent.
  • You must be living in the UK.
  • You must be 18 or over, although there are exceptions for some aged 16 or 17.
  • You should be below State Pension age.
  • You must jointly have no more than £16k in savings or investments.
  • The child(ren) for whom you are applying must be below the age of 17 (eligibility ends at the end of the August following their 16th birthday).

How Much Childcare Funding Can You Get Through Universal Credit?

The amount of childcare funding available through Universal Credit varies according to your individual circumstances. Generally speaking, though, Universal Credit can cover up to 85% of your childcare costs as follows:

The maximum available for one child is £950.92 per month;
The maximum available for 2 or more is £1,630.15 per month.

(Correct at date of publishing, late September 2023).

What Can the Childcare Funding be Used For?

Universal Credit childcare funding can be used for various childcare services, so long as they're properly registered.Universal Credit childcare funding can be used for various childcare services, so long as they’re properly registered (e.g. with OFSTED or their equivalent in Wales and Scotland). Permitted types of childcare provision include:

  • Nurseries: Licensed nurseries that provide care and early education for young children.
  • Childminders: Individuals registered to provide childcare services in their homes.
  • After-School Clubs: Organised programmes that offer care and activities for school-age children after school hours.
  • Holiday Clubs: Similar to after-school clubs but available during school holidays.
  • Preschools: Educational settings for children aged up to 5.
  • Approved Childcare Providers: Some approved providers outside traditional settings may also be eligible for funding.

As well as funding standard nursery/preschool-type childcare sessions that allow you to work, the funding can also be used for other types of childcare provision that will help you transition back into work. It can potentially fund settling-in sessions before work to help your child transition into a new childcare setting, childcare provision for your child while you commute to your job, childcare required because of changing work patterns as part of a zero-hours contract, and childcare provision during the month following the loss of a job.

Caveats:

You cannot claim Universal Credit for Childcare at the same time as:

Tax credits
Tax-Free Childcare

How to Claim Your Childcare Costs Via Universal Credit

Except in special circumstances, you need to pay childcare costs up front and then claim back the eligible part of it through the scheme.Except in special circumstances, you will need to pay for your childcare up front and then claim back the eligible part of it through the scheme. To successfully make your claim, you’ll typically need to:

  • Keep records of your childcare provider’s registration number and contact details.
  • Document your childcare costs with receipts or invoices.
  • Provide evidence of your work or job offers.
  • Claim within 2 months (latest) of incurring the childcare costs otherwise you may miss out.
  • Regularly update the Universal Credit system with any changes in your childcare situation.
  • To get started, apply for your online Universal Credits account here.

More information is available through the official Government website or via the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Nursery Places at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne & Smethwick, B16Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery in Edgbaston, we support all Government-funded childcare schemes so, even if you don’t qualify for free childcare support through Universal Credit, you may qualify for one or more of the alternative childcare funding schemes. These are there to help families with affordability, which nowadays is more important than ever. Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery offers a first-class childcare and early education service for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under five, offering them the very best start in life in a warm, nurturing environment. If you would like to explore the possibility of your child having a place at Leaps & Bounds, please do get in touch using one of the following options:

Rated as a Good Provider of childcare and early education by OFSTED, Leaps and Bounds is a nursery/preschool located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick. We also operate our own Forest School, enabling children to benefit from everything that nature has to offer.

Information in this guide is given in good faith and is believed to be correct at the time of writing (late September 2023). Please check the Government website for the most up-to-date information.

25 Reasons to Choose Leaps & Bounds Nursery for Your Childcare

In today’s article, we give you 25 reasons why Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery would make an excellent choice for your child’s early education and childcare needs. What’s more, Ofsted independently back up many of them. With that in mind, we’ve included several comments from the Ofsted Inspector, who most recently inspected the setting and released her official report in April 2023. Her comments make good reading and represent useful independent feedback about the setting. What’s clear is that, if you have a baby, toddler or preschooler and live or work around the Edgbaston/Birmingham area, Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery would make an excellent choice for your childcare. Let’s take a look.

1. A ‘Good Provider’ Says Ofsted

Quality of education is good at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery and that’s official! Here’s how Ofsted graded us in their latest report (April ’23):

Overall effectivenessGood
The quality of education
Good
Behaviour and attitudesGood
Personal developmentGood
Leadership and managementGood

We’ll take a closer look at some of these below.

2. Children are Happy at Leaps & Bounds

Ofsted also confirmed that children are happy at Leaps & Bounds, commenting in their latest report that…

“Children settle quickly and are happy as they join their friends in play and learning.”

3. Parents are Happy Too

During her most recent inspection of Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, the Ofsted inspector asked for the opinion of parents. Here’s what she found:

Parents report that they are happy with the nursery.”

4. Open Early until Late

Leaps and Bounds Day Nursery is open from early in the day until late in the afternoon. Opening at 7.30am and closing at 6.15pm means that parents/carers are less likely to have trouble getting to and from their places of work in time to drop off or pick up children.

5. Free Childcare Supported

All Government childcare funding schemes are supported at Leaps & Bounds for eligible families. This includes the free ‘15-hours’ and ‘30-hours’ childcare schemes for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds as well as valid childcare vouchers, tax-free childcare, student childcare schemes and many more (subject to eligibility etc.).

6. Forest School

We run our own Forest School in Edgbaston, Birmingham. As well as being a fun place to be, the outdoors will give children a sense of adventure.Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is pleased to be able to include Forest School sessions for its children as part of our curriculum of educational activities. This allows children to get outdoors in local, natural spaces where they can enjoy and learn from everything that nature has to offer. Nature is incredibly beneficial to children, so this is doubly important. And remember: not all childcare nurseries and early years settings offer Forest School.

7. A Warm, Welcoming & Nurturing Environment

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is a warm, home-from-home environment. Here, every child is welcomed, valued and nurtured as a unique individual. We bring out the very best in each child and, during their time with us, give them all the tools, knowledge and encouragement they need to absolutely thrive. Ofsted recognised this through the following comments from their latest report in April 2023:

“Staff are warm and nurturing. They provide kind words and reassurance to children throughout the day. Regular praise helps children to become confident and motivated to learn.”

8. Free Guided Tours

If you’ve not yet enrolled your child at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, why not take up the offer of a free introductory tour? Bring your child along, so you can see how well they’d fit in. We’ll show you both around and answer any questions, without obligation or pressure. Then, if you decide to enrol your child, we’ll do everything we can to help them settle in.

9. Competitive Pricing

At the time of writing, the cost of half-day sessions is just £35 for an afternoon session, £38 for a morning session and £55 for a full day. That decreases, pro-rata, if your child attends full-time Monday to Friday. For a week it costs £230 — the equivalent of just £46 per day, which is very competitive. Prices are correct at the time of writing (June 2023), but please check our Fees page for the latest figures.

10. Discounts Available

Various potential discounts are available for childcare at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. These include the following:

  • A 10% discount is available if your child already has a sibling at the setting.
  • A 10% discount is available for NHS staff (N.B. valid NHS ID will be required).

11. High-Quality Teaching

Our talented early years practitioners offer high-quality teaching.Our talented early-years practitioners offer high-quality teaching. This is backed up by Ofsted who, in their latest Ofsted report, said, “The quality of teaching is good. Staff are skilled and use children’s interests to challenge what they know and can do … Staff pose questions that help children to begin to problem solve.”

12. A Well-Organised Curriculum

Ofsted recognised our well-organised curriculum and made the following comment in their report:

“The curriculum is well organised. It builds on the experiences children hold and what they need to learn next to be successful.”

They added that staff, “target children’s individual learning so that children make the best possible progress from their starting points. Children gain a range of skills that they practise and build on. This prepares them well for their next stage of learning.”

13. Bespoke Learning and Development for Every Child

A bespoke learning and development plan is developed for every child – after all, each one is unique. A custom plan will bring out the best in them, helping them to achieve personal bests in every area. This is achieved through cooperation between staff, room leaders, each child’s ‘Key Person’ at the setting, parents/carers and any external specialists should their expertise be required (see below).

14. Good Support for Special Needs &/or Disabilities

There is good support for children with special educational or developmental needs at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. Ofsted agrees with this, concluding that…

“Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities receive good support. Staff work with external agencies and parents to provide care and education that is specific to each child’s needs.”

15. A Strong Relationship with Parents

Ofsted’s most recent report backed our strong relationship with parents through comments including, “Staff speak to parents daily and share information about what their children learn and the activities they are involved in.”

They go on to say, “A range of home resources helps parents talk about any changes in their lives, such as the arrival of a new baby, with their children. This strong partnership helps to strengthen children’s emotional well-being and security.” The resources referred to include a smartphone app, which allows our childcare professionals to keep parents up-to-date in real time about what their child has eaten, when they’ve slept at the nursery and what activities they’ve been taking part in during the day. It’s a great way to keep in touch and to ensure all parties involved in the child’s care are on the same page.

16. Great Facilities & Equipment

Leaps & Bounds is purpose-built for childcare and early years learning and development, with a wide variety of equipment, facilities, and resources.The setting at Leaps & Bounds is purpose-built for childcare and early years learning and development. It is extremely well-equipped, both indoors and outdoors, with a wide variety of equipment, facilities and resources to suit babies and children aged up to five. Inside, there are several light and spacious age-specific rooms, along with a separate communal room accessible to all. Outside, there are two well-designed and highly interactive play areas which offer children boundless opportunities for learning through play. Learn more about our facilities here.

17. Separate Areas for Different Ages

Designating separate rooms for each age group really helps children to focus on age-specific play and learning activities. With that in mind, we have separate rooms and resources for babies, including a tranquil sleep area, a separate room for infants aged 14 months to 2 years, another for toddlers aged 2 years to 38 months, and a preschoolers room for children aged 38 months plus.

18. Good Support for Language & Literacy

There is a sharp focus on improving children’s speech at the nursery. Ofsted comments: “New words are introduced and a wealth of books are used to tell stories and provide children with information to support an enjoyment of literacy.”

19. Good Support for Children’s Emotional Well-being

Ofsted made a series of flattering comments about support for children’s emotional well-being at the nursery. These included the following: “Staff provide good support for children’s emotional well-being. Children begin to recognise different emotions and show empathy for others” … “Children build lovely friendships with each other” … and, “Children cooperate well in activities. They learn to take turns and to share with others.”

20. Appreciation of Different Cultures

Children are also encouraged to appreciate different cultures and communities. Ofsted recognised this with the following: “Children develop their understanding of the wider communities as they talk about what happens during Ramadan and Eid” … “Staff introduce [words] in a different language so that children begin to understand the importance and value of people who are the same and who are different.”

21. Fresh, High-Quality Meals & Snacks

Healthy food, snacks and drinks are included in the nursery's fees and special diets are catered for.Food, healthy snacks and drinks are included in the nursery’s fees and special diets are catered for, for example, vegetarian or vegan options. The nursery has a 5-star food hygiene rating and food is freshly prepared by an award-winning early-years catering company. Only the most fresh, locally sourced and nutritious ingredients are used.

22. Extra Classes & Activities

At Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery, we also offer extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, and physical sessions. An example is Rhythm Time, which is an award-winning music class that helps children develop social skills, confidence, speech, coordination, and creativity. Another is Active Adventurers, where children enhance fundamental movement skills through multi-sport sessions with a focus on motor skills, balance, coordination, and body awareness. More information about our extra-curricular activities is available on our About Us page.

23. Holiday Club During School Holidays

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery also caters for older children during school holidays. The extremely popular ‘Holiday Club’ caters for children aged from 5 to 10 and offers fun and stimulating activities for the children. It costs only £25 per day (8am to 5pm). For a full week (Monday to Friday inclusive) it’s just £120; the equivalent of £24 per day. Prices are correct at the time of writing (June 2023) but check our Fees page for any later updates.

24. Excellent Safeguarding Protocols

As recognised by Ofsted in their latest inspection and report, Leaps & Bounds Nursery has an effective approach to safeguarding. Training and supervision programmes are in place to enable staff to keep children safe while at the nursery and to ensure any concerns are mitigated. The relevant safety checks are all in place too and staff are first-aid trained. CCTV cameras are installed to monitor child safety throughout the nursery, in the reception area and the outdoor areas. Good protocols are in place concerning picking up children, so that only the ‘right’ person can do so. Learn more about our safeguarding commitments, protocols and measures here.

25. Open 51 Weeks of the Year

We’re open all year apart from 1 week between Christmas and New Year and during public holidays.

Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery is in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Ladywood, Bearwood & Harborne B16

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.

Childcare Places with a Good Provider in Edgbaston, Birmingham

So, for a good, reliable, welcoming and nurturing nursery/preschool in Edgbaston or Birmingham, do consider Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. To start exploring the possibility of your baby, toddler or preschooler joining our wonderful childcare setting in the near future, please select an option below:

Please note: although we are located in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, we may also be conveniently close for families requiring a high-quality nursery or preschool near Ladywood, Bearwood, Harborne and Smethwick.

 

Top 10 Childcare Funding Schemes – At a Glance

Today, we shine the spotlight on what we believe are the top 10 childcare funding schemes, available in England, for eligible children. Many also apply across the whole UK or at least have similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some of the options are widely available, meaning easy, free funding with no need for families to jump through difficult eligibility barriers. The first two childcare funding options, for example, seem to be by far the easiest to obtain for most families. Others may suit in certain circumstances, for example if you are on benefits, studying as a student, and so on. Take a look …

The Top 10 Childcare Funding Schemes – At a Glance

Tax-free Childcare Scheme

What’s Available:
Up to £2,000 in free childcare funding is available per year, per UK child (£4,000 if the child has a disability). For children up to 11 (16 if disabled).

Eligibility:
Widely available as a parent, and partner if they have one, can each earn up to £100k per annum and still be eligible.

How Funding is Accessed:
Accessed via an online Childcare account. The parent, relative or even friend deposits 80% to fund childcare and the Government tops up the remaining 20%, free.

Click here for more information.

“15 Hours” of Free Childcare for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

What’s Available:
15 hours per week of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (570 hours total) for all 3 & 4-year-olds living in England. Can be spread out in a different way if the childcare setting is flexible.

Eligibility:
Available for all children aged 3 or 4 living in England.

How Funding is Accessed:
Contact your childcare provider or apply via your local council.

Click here for more information.

“30 Hours” of Free Childcare for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

What’s Available:
30 hours per week of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (1140 hours total) for eligible 3 & 4-year-olds living in England. Can be spread out in a different way if the childcare setting is flexible.

Eligibility:
Eligibility depends upon household income; generally speaking, you cannot claim if you or your partner earn £100k or over, or less than £152 per week (that figure is lower if under 23). You can usually claim through this scheme at the same time as claiming Tax-Free Childcare (or Childcare vouchers), or free childcare via Universal Credit. Other rules and exceptions apply.

How Funding is Accessed:
Apply online here.

Click here for more information.

“15 Hours” of Free Childcare for 2-Year-Olds

What’s Available:
15 hours per week of free childcare is available for 38 weeks of the year (570 hours total) for eligible 2-year-olds in England. Can be spread out in a different way if the childcare setting is flexible.

Eligibility:
Only parents receiving certain Government benefits are usually eligible to claim. Exceptions include 2-year-olds if: looked after by local authorities; subject to an ECH plan; in receipt of Disability Living Allowance; they’ve left care under certain types of order. Some non-UK citizens are also eligible in certain circumstances.

How Funding is Accessed:
Contact your childcare provider or apply via your local council.

Click here for more information.

STOP PRESS: See our later article about new childcare funding announced in the Spring Budget 2023, including funding for babies as young as 9 months of age.

Childcare Vouchers (Employer-Supported Childcare)

What’s Available:
Funding for childcare is available through participating employers, for children up to 15 or 16 if disabled. You can use up to £55 per week of your earnings, which will not be subject to National Insurance or income tax. How much you are eligible for depends on earnings and the date you joined the scheme.

Eligibility:
Closed to new applicants but still available to those enrolled before 4 October 2018 if eligible. Cannot be claimed at the same time as Tax-Free Childcare.

How Funding is Accessed:
Accessed via participating employers. Can be funded through a salary sacrifice approach.

Click here for more information.

Tax Credits for Childcare

What’s Available:
If eligible, those already claiming under the Tax Credits system can claim back up to 70% of eligible childcare costs, up to £122.50 each week for 1 child, or up to £210 per week for more than one.

Eligibility:
Closed to new applicants but existing claimants of Tax Credits may still apply. New claimants must claim instead under Universal Credit (see below).

How Funding is Accessed:
For those who are still eligible to claim, the funding is paid direct to their bank or building society account. Follow the link below for more details.

Click here for more information.

Childcare Funding through Universal Credit

What’s Available:
If eligible, you can claim back up to 85% of childcare costs, up to £646.35* per month for one child or £1108.04* each month if you are claiming for more than one.

Eligibility:
You and your partner, if you have one, must have a child under 17, be working and claiming Universal Credit. There are exceptions to the above and other eligibility terms also apply. Not available if you’re already claiming Tax-Free Childcare or Tax Credits. Earnings and savings/investments also affect how much you may receive.

How Funding is Accessed:
You need to claim back* your childcare costs (so pay for them first). You can only go back 3 months, so must keep on top of your claims.

Click here for more information.

* STOP PRESS: See our later article about new childcare funding announced in the Spring Budget 2023, including vastly improved funding through Universal Credit.

Student Childcare Grant

What’s Available:
Up to 85% of your childcare costs are available as a non-repayable grant (max. is £183.75 per week for 1 child or £315.03 per week for two+. Correct for academic year 2022/23). Payable in addition to standard undergraduate student finance.

Eligibility:
Students must be permanent residents in England, studying full-time in higher education and be eligible for undergraduate student finance based on income. They must not in receipt of a postgraduate loan. The childcare grant is for dependent children under 15 (under 17 if they have special needs). Not available if also claiming certain other childcare funding.

How Funding is Accessed:
Apply at the same time as applying for student finance via your Student Finance Account.

Click here for more information.

Learner Support Scheme

What’s Available:
What’s available depends on your specific circumstances. It’s not designed specifically to fund childcare, but can be used for it.

Eligibility:
You must be a a parent over 20, studying in further education up to and including Level 3, and facing financial hardship to be eligible.

How Funding is Accessed:
Apply via your learning provider (e.g. college).

Click here for more information.

Care to Learn Scheme

What’s Available:
Up to £160 (or £175 if living in London) is available per child, per week, for those living in England. The funding can even help to fund a taster period of up to 5 days at the childcare provider and travel to/from the provider.

Eligibility:
You must be the child’s main carer and be under 20 when you begin your course. You must be studying on a publicly-funded course (N.B. not including higher education courses at university) at specific types of education provider e.g. schools, sixth forms and some colleges. Strict rules apply around attendance of both the course and the childcare sessions.

How Funding is Accessed:
For application instructions, click here.

Click here for more information.

Funded Childcare at Leaps & Bounds Nursery & Preschool, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Our Edgbaston nursery & preschool supports all valid childcare funding options

Leaps & Bounds nursery & pre-school is in Edgbaston, Birmingham B16, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted.We support all relevant childcare funding schemes for eligible families at Leaps & Bounds nursery and preschool in Edgbaston (B16). We offer the very best weekday childcare in Edgbaston, near Birmingham, Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood and Smethwick. Please get in touch using one of the options below, for example to get started with your childcare enquiry or application. We’ll be happy to show you around, answer questions and help with your funding and nursery/preschool application.

E&OE. Please note that information is given in good faith and, to our knowledge, is correct at time of writing (November 2022). This is only a quick guide, though, so families will need to do their own. more detailed research to check for eligibility etc.

Amazing Deals for Struggling Families!

There’s no doubt that things are getting tough for families right now. However today, in our antidote to inflation, tax increases and the recent cost-of-living crisis, we bring families news of some absolutely brilliant deals, offers and ways that families can save money. What we’re talking about today may improve quality of life a little — even with something as simple as being able to afford a meal out with the kids. We were astounded by some of these discoveries, so we hope they are good news for you too.

Families: this is for you!

A few examples will help to introduce the type of money-saving offers and deals that we’ve unearthed for you in today’s post:

Did You Know?

  • You can eat out for just £1 per meal if you know where to go!
  • You can eat at home all week for just £1 per meal if you know the right recipe and supplier!
  • One famous food retailer offers interest-free shopping loans for struggling families!
  • There are lots of different Government schemes that give eligible families free childcare!

It’s amazing what’s available if you know where to look, and that’s exactly what we tell you today. We hope you find it useful.

Feeling the Pinch? Check Out The Great Deals & Offers We’ve Discovered!

Kids Under 16? Treat them to a Café Meal for just £1 Each — or Even Less!

Many of the large supermarkets are doing their bit to help struggling families, and Asda is one such example that caught our eye. They launched a £1 café offer called Kids Eat for £1 during the summer holidays and this has now been extended to the end of 2022. This seemed like a bargain to us. A list of participating ASDA cafés can be found here.

Morrison’s have a comparable deal where children under 16 can eat totally free of charge at a Morrison’s in-store café when the accompanying adult is having an adult meal costing £4.99 or more. Learn more about kids eating free at Morrison’s Cafés here. By the way, the same page also describes how Morrison’s have reduced the pricing of over half their hot food menu in their in-store cafés. It all helps!

Grandparents - Over 60s Can Eat & Drink Out for Just £1

Asda have also launched a Winter Warmers campaign aimed to help their older customers who visit their in-store cafés. Those 60 and above can enjoy soup and a roll plus unlimited cuppas for just £1 during November and December 2022. That’s a great opportunity for grandparents who are looking after little ones, although applies with or without children accompanying! Learn more about the Winter Warmers campaign for over-60s here.

Cheap But Tasty Meals at Home

Some of the supermarkets are making it easier for families to eat inexpensively at home. Sainsbury’s, for example, are currently publicising a range of recipes that will feed a family of four for no more than a fiver — that’s just £1.25 per meal. They list step-by-step instructions, list ingredients and even make it dead simple to add them to your online shopping cart. Check out some of their affordable meal suggestions here.

The BBC Food website also has a large selection of budget recipes for you to try. It’s a fantastic resource and they have gone to considerable effort to suit all tastes, including meat, vegetarian and vegan dishes. There are lots of recipes to make for just £1 per portion and ways to plan a week’s worth of meals for just £1 each. The page also gives advice on thrifty store cupboard ingredients, using air fryers and slow cookers,  and how to make food products last longer. Check out their website for some genuinely good ideas and inspiration for inexpensive eating at home.

Hot Deals on Frozen Food — Including an Interest-Free Loan!

It’s common knowledge that frozen food can work out cheaper and the retail chain Iceland are at the forefront of that niche in the UK. They are also very attuned to struggling families at the moment and so are offering several great ways to save money and make family food more affordable. For example, they have launched a major initiative called ‘Doing it Right’ and this includes a whole raft of beneficial offerings for struggling families. Many products can purchased for £1 in a ‘price freeze’, for example. It also includes discounts of over 60s on Tuesdays, money-saving 7-Day Deals, an exclusive Bonus Card scheme to save money on your favourite products and much more. A synopsis of all the main offers is available here.

A notable and innovative service was also introduced by Iceland in August 2022 to help families struggling to afford food (often those who relied on food banks and even loan shark loans). ‘The Iceland Food Club’ allows families to spread the cost of food through micro-loans between £25 and £100, using a pre-loaded card that allows them to spend the interest-free loan at Iceland food stores. Repayment is made at £10 per week and, as we say, the loan is interest-free. Well done Iceland! Learn more about the scheme here.

N.B. this information is given in good faith and does not constitute financial advice. Readers will need to do their own research.

Accumulate £££s to Redeem Against Your Shopping Bill

By the way, Asda also offers a “Rewards” scheme where you accumulate pounds (not points!) when you shop there. When accumulated, these can be redeemed against your shopping, thereby reducing your bill in a really tangible way. We know people who use this scheme and it seems to be a decent one so far as we can tell. Check out the Asda Rewards scheme here.

Save Money on Energy Costs

Octopus Energy has doubled its OctoAssist Fund, for customers struggling with their bills. They are offering help via direct financial support, standing charge waivers and energy saving support. Check out if you are eligible for any help and read their saver suggestions here.

Meanwhile, Utilita have teamed up with Iceland to help you Shop Smart and Cook Savvy, explaining ways to save you money. This includes advice on ways to reduce your energy bill through use, for example, of air fryers and energy-saving measures. (Click the bold links for more information). Via their app “My Utilita” you can also take control of your energy use, use pay-as-you-go and apply for emergency credit. Learn more here.

Baby Banks — Free Stuff for Families

Don’t forget to check out our Baby Banks post from May 2022 too (see the link below). There, we explained how struggling parents can get a huge variety of free things for their babies and children. Everything from baby food and nappies to high chairs and buggies is available, totally free of charge. Indeed, Baby Banks are a complete godsend for many struggling families. They’re also somewhere you can donate your pre-loved items that you’ve finished with, to help another family. Learn more about Baby Banks, including some near Edgbaston and Birmingham, here.

Childcare Funding Help

Childcare funding is an option we can help with directly at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. Subject to eligibility, we support all the key Government schemes for free childcare funding including free childcare for 2-year-olds, free childcare funding for 3 & 4-year-olds, student childcare grants, tax-free childcare, childcare vouchers & more. Feel free to ask our staff for advice on any of these and we’ll be happy to help. If you are outside our area (Edgbaston, Birmingham), the bold links to free childcare funding articles may still be useful to give you an overview of the schemes, so please feel free to click through, bookmark and share.

A Funded Childcare Place for Your Child at Leaps & Bounds Nursery, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Leaps & Bounds nursery & pre-school is in Edgbaston, Birmingham B16, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood & Smethwick

Leaps & Bounds Nursery is rated as a Good Provider of childcare by Ofsted. Please get in touch with us if you are eligible for any of the free childcare funding options and require a nursery or pre-school place for your child at Leaps & Bounds Day Nursery. We are a high quality nursery and pre-school in Edgbaston, Birmingham, near Harborne, Ladywood, Bearwood and Smethwick. Please choose one of the options below to register for a nursery place, book a guided tour or ask a question. We look forward to hearing from you.

IMPORTANT: The above seemed amazing to us, but please ensure you check the websites and suppliers direct, as some things are time-limited and/or may be subject to change. Also, we have no affiliation with, or control over, the 3rd party offerings mentioned. As such, we cannot guarantee the details but, to the best of our knowledge, we believe they were correct at time of writing (Nov 2022).