Cost of Living Support
Support for children and families
NEWS : Claims for Child Benefit are now online
You can now claim Child Benefit 48 hours after you’ve registered the birth of your child, or once a child comes to live with you and it can be backdated for up to 3 months.
Find out more on the Government website
School age children
Free School Meals
Primary school children in state-funded schools across London are receiving free school meals for the 2023-24 school year (September 2023 to July 2024), funded by The Mayor of London as an emergency cost of living measure. This has now been extended for the 2024-25 school year. You can find out more on the Mayor of London’s website.
These children will receive their free school meal under the Mayor’s scheme automatically, but it is really important that parents and guardians continue to complete their school or borough’s registration form because a child may be eligible for extra funding for their school from the government, which is worth £1,300 per year.
All children from 3 to 16 years - You can apply for free school meals at any time. Check the details of eligibility and how to apply on the Kingston Council website.
Cycling to School - Bicycle health-checks and security marking
Whether your child already cycles to school or is set to venture out on their bike for the first time, we regularly offer free Dr Bike sessions across the borough.They’ll help make sure your bikes are in good condition and safe to ride.
We also work with the local Police to provide security marking for bikes, making them 80% less likely to be stolen.
For upcoming dates on both - check our website regularly.
11-15 ZIP Oyster Card
To find out how to get your 11-15 ZIP Oyster Card go to the TfL website.
School Uniform Swapping / Book Exchanges
Be smart - ask your school if they have a scheme for sharing and upcycling school uniforms or text book swaps. Most schools have a pre-loved uniform scheme, so check your school newsletter for any details.
Protect your children - get the right immunisations/boosters
Whether your children are in nursery, school or going to college or university, make sure they are protected. There is an easy guide to what they need and when - go to NHS Vaccines and when to have them page to find out and then contact your GP.
Infants and pre-school
NHS Healthy Start Card for under 4 years (and pregnant mothers)
A Healthy Start Card will help with buying healthy food and milk. You may be eligible if you have a child under 4 years and/or are more than 10 weeks pregnant and are in receipt of certain benefits (see below).
Around one third of residents in Kingston who are eligible are not claiming this benefit every month - that means hundreds of thousands of ££s not claimed this year alone.
What you could get:
- £4.25 each week for pregnancy from 10th week
- £8.50 each week for a baby from birth to 1 year old
- £4.25 each week for a child from 1 to 4 years old
The Healthy Start Card is credited with your entitlement and topped up automatically every 4 weeks, so a family with one child under 1 year and two children under 4 could get £68 a month credited to their Healthy Start card.
You must be receiving any of the following:
- Child Tax Credit
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension credit
- Universal credit.
For more information visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk/
Free Childcare from 15 to 30 hours a week for 3 and 4 years old
There is a universal entitlement of 15 hours for all children of 3 and 4 years old, but this can be extended to 30 hours a week for working families who are eligible.
To check your eligibility and apply on the government website, go to www.gov.uk/30-hours-free-childcare.
Children's Centres support in the borough
There are many activities for parents and younger children, including midwife support, at our 4 children’s centres.
Children’s Centres Spring Term Programme 2 January to 9 February
You can also contact them by phone:
- Kingston Town Children’s Centre 020 8481 0640
- Chessington Children’s Centre 020 8397 2006 option 5.
- Old Malden Children’s Centre 020 8241 0837
- Tolworth Children’s Centre 020 8339 9848
For more information, contact: Sophie Hodges (07849 305143) or Siobhan Meacher (07784 006661), Lead Outreach Workers
Other resources for Children and Baby Clothes/Food/Equipment
Growbaby - is a Surbiton organisation that provides good quality, new and second-hand, baby clothes and equipment (up to 5 years), completely free of charge, to anyone who needs it, regardless of their income, background, or faith.
Growbaby accepts baby clothes and equipment from anyone who chooses to donate; we simply ask that donors ensure that they are in good, clean condition. Find out more on the Grow Baby website.
The Family Fund - Helps families with disabled children - if a child or young person has additional clothing needs, for example, if they go through clothes quickly, or their clothing is frequently damaged. Find out more on the Family Fund website.
Connected Kingston also has lots of information about support and things to do for families, children and young people.