Full list of eight freebies and discounts for new parents worth up to £7,386 including nappies and childcare | The Sun

IF you're a new parent feeling the pinch of rising bills and food costs, you can get up to £7,386 in help.

The cost of living crisis has forced us all, but parents especially, to tighten our purse strings.

But there are ways to get extra financial support to help care for your little ones.

Here's everything you can claim if you're a new parent or carer.

Holiday Activities and Food Programme – £376

The little-known Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is offered by most councils in England to help provide childcare, activities and healthy meals to children from low-income families.

As part of the initiative, children can go to the likes of sports, music and arts clubs, as well as enjoy a nutritious meal each day absolutely free.

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Funding for the programme is allocated to councils in England from the government.

The exact help available depends on which part of the country you live in.

Most widely offer it to children already in receipt of benefits-related free school meals.

The care on offer can be worth as much as £376 over the summer holidays, providing a huge helping hand to families struggling between term time.

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Contact your local council to see exactly what is available.

Free childcare – thousands

Parents of three and four-year-olds can claim 570 hours of free childcare a year, which equates to 15 hours a week.

Some parents can get 30 hours a week too, depending on their circumstances.

But from April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare per week.

At the moment, to qualify for 30 hours of free childcare parents need to be in work, earn a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the national living wage and earn less than £100,000 a year.

You can apply for 15 hours free childcare through a nearby childcare provider or your local council.

If you don't know what council area you fall under, you can find it by using the government's council locator tool.

Meanwhile, you can apply for 30 hours free childcare on the government's website.

Free nappies

Parents can get a voucher and exchange it for a pack of Pampers New Baby Carry nappies.

You can then use the voucher at supermarkets like Asda and Morrisons.

Pampers has been offering parents with newborns the chance to get a free pack of nappies to help with the cost of living.

The rule has been that parents can get one free pack if you sign up to Pampers through its website.

Huggies offers free packs of DryNites pyjama pants for older tots as a way for parents to test them out before buying.

You have to fill out a form on the Huggies website to register for the nappies.

Pura offers a trial 24-pack of biodegradable baby wipes – you just have to sign up on its website.

Sure Start Grant – £500

New parents on Universal Credit can get a £500 grant to help with childcare costs through the Sure Start grant.

The one-off payment doesn't need to be paid back and it won't reduce your monthly Universal Credit payment or tax credits.

The cash can be used to pay for anything that will ease the immediate financial strain on families when caring for a new baby.

New parents must have claimed the grant within 11 weeks in advance of their baby's due date or within six months after their child is born.

You'll need to print out and fill in a claim form, providing personal details such as your name, address and partner's details if applicable.

You will also need to let them know what benefits you're claiming and when you are expecting your baby.

A midwife or doctor will need to sign it too to confirm that you are expecting.

Only parents who are expecting their first child are eligible for the grant, so if you're about to have your second or third infant then you won't be able to claim the payout.

Tax-free childcare – up to £2,000

Tax-free childcare is a government scheme where parents or guardians can get £2 free for every £8 put into an account.

Parents can get up to a maximum of £2,000 a year per child or £4,000 if their child is disabled.

The child has to be 11 or younger, or 16 if they are disabled.

The money has to be used to pay for childcare, including nursery, childminders, break or after school clubs.

It can be used to pay for holiday care or an out of school activity too.

But it's important to note you cannot get tax-free childcare if you're claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers at the same time.

Child tax credits – up to £2,935

You can only make a claim for Child Tax Credit if you already get Working Tax Credit.

If that isn't the case you can get Universal Credit instead.

The amount you could get depends on when your children were born.

If you have two children born after April 6, 2017, you'd get a child element for each child worth up to £2,935.

If you qualified for the maximum, you'd get £5,690 a year.

If one child was born before then you could also get a basic amount called the family element worth up to £545 a year.

If all your children were born before April 6, 2017, you can claim for all of them, but after that, there is a two-child limit.

To claim Child Tax Credit, update your existing tax credit claim by reporting a change in your circumstances online or by phone.

Child benefit – £1,133

You can get Child Benefit worth up to £1,133 a year if you’re responsible for bringing up a child who is under 16 or under 20 if they stay in education.

Child benefit is usually paid every four weeks, but you can have the money paid weekly if you’re a single parent or getting certain other benefits like Income Support.

If that's the case you can get

  • £21.80 a week for the first or only child
  • Or £14.45 a week for each subsequent child

You can get the money paid into any account, apart from a Nationwide cash builder account in someone else’s name.

You need to apply for child benefit, which you can do online through gov.uk.

But only one person can get the benefit for the child or children, so you'll have to decide which parent will get it.

The amount you'll get for Child Benefit payments is set to rise in April, so you'll get even more.

Just beware of the High Income Child Benefit charge that may start to apply once you start earning a certain amount.

If either parent is earning over £50,000 they have to pay the high income child benefit tax charge.

This means you pay back 1% of your child benefit for every £100 of income over this amount.

Once you reach £60,000 of income you have to repay the full amount.

Healthy Start Vouchers – £442

Parents can even claim free cash specifically tailored to covering food costs too.

Families are issued vouchers worth £4.25 a week though the Healthy Start Vouchers scheme.

And they get double if they have a child under 12 months old.

It means parents get £442 in the first year of their baby's life, while pregnant women and families with children between the age of 1 and 4 are given £221 annually.

To qualify for the voucher scheme you also need to receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit with a family income of £16,190 or less per year
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less per month for the family.

But if you are under 18 and pregnant you can get the vouchers, even if you don’t get any of those benefits.

Is there more help I can get?

New parents can get a range of help including freebies and refunds, on top of the cash benefits they may be able to receive.

Childcare help

If you claim Universal Credit, you might be able to get a refund on most of your child care costs.

Parents claiming Universal Credit can now get up to £951 a month for one child and £1,630 for two or more kids, up from £646 and £1,108 respectively.

But from June 28, parents will get a payment boost and childcare costs for some of those on Universal Credit will be paid upfront.

The monthly amount will rise from the current amounts of £646 for one child and £1,108 for two.

The money is used to cover up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs which have spiralled in recent years. 

Free prescriptions and dental care

Prescriptions can cost £8.60 a pop in England, while NHS dental costs vary by location.

You can get both for free while you're pregnant and for 12 months after your baby's due date.

Ask your doctor or midwife for a maternity exemption certificate (MATEX) to claim the free care.

Store freebies

It's not only benefit freebies that you can claim as a new parent.

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For example parents can get a voucher and exchange it for a pack of Pampers New Baby Carry nappies.

Plus, Pampers' customers can download the Pampers Club app and get a free pack of Pampers Baby-Dry every time they buy 10 packs.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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