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UK charity offers help to parents who are worried about the costs of sending their kids back to school

For immediate release: 5 September 2012

As cuts, salary freezes and childcare fees continue to wipe out family earnings, UK charity Turn2us is urging parents to check their eligibility online to help pay for uniforms, class materials, school trips and lunches.

Anyone can visit the free website www.turn2us.org.uk in confidence to find out what welfare benefits or charitable grants they may receive and make sure that their children get the best start possible.

The push comes in response to yesterday’s news that schooling has made up the largest increase in family spending with costs estimated to have increased by almost a quarter (24%) from £694 a year in 2007 to £849 in 2012.* According to other reports last week, parents face having to fork out £1,200 on school extras per year.**

The research confirms the charity’s own findings that sending children back to school is a major strain for many families who are already struggling financially.

One in three parents (33%) surveyed said they were worried about the costs they would incur in the new school year, and over a third (34%) said they felt there are too many extras – such as school trips, books and sports equipment – to pay for when sending children to school.

Tragically, around one in eight (12%) parents said their child had been bullied in the last 12 months because they didn’t have the newest or best clothes or equipment for school, and around one in seven (14%) said that their child had not been able to attend school trips the previous year because of the costs involved.

For Rachel, a full-time mother of three, the inability to afford a computer at home meant her children were at risk of falling behind with their homework and couldn’t keep up with their classmates.

“We ended up walking to the library, friend’s houses, absolutely anywhere just to borrow one. It was soul destroying because my partner was working every hour he had then there were days when we didn’t have a penny in our pockets.”
It was only when Rachel came across Turn2us that she discovered her family were entitled to Housing Benefit and help with Council Tax. This allowed her save up enough to buy a computer and relieve some of the financial pressure.

“We were already claiming Child and Working Tax Credit and had been told that added help such as  free school dinners were off the cards so I thought we were already receiving all we could.”

“I would say to all other parents out there that the system is very complicated so it’s worth checking Turn2us even if you are already claiming grants and benefits, or have been turned away somewhere else.”

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For more information, please contact:   Maria Fsadni, Press Officer

Email: maria.fsadni@elizabethfinn.org.uk Telephone: 020 8834 9200

Notes to Editors

About Turn2us

  • Turn2us helps people to access the money available to them through charitable grants, welfare benefits and other financial help
  • The Turn2us free, confidential online service - www.turn2us.org.uk - is designed to help individuals quickly and easily find charitable grants, welfare benefits, or tax credits available to them - all in one place
  • The website has a number of tools to make the process simpler, including a grants search, benefits calculator and ‘find an adviser’ tool to help locate face to face advice
  • Turn2us works in partnership with organisations across the UK, including AdviceUK, Association of Charitable Organisations, Citizens Advice, Child Poverty Action Group, Home-Start UK and Money Advice Trust to develop our services and reach the many millions of people that need our help
  • Turn2us is part of Elizabeth Finn Care.

About Elizabeth Finn Care

  • Elizabeth Finn Care is a charity registered in England and Wales: 207812 and Scotland: SC040987
  • Elizabeth Finn Care is a national charity that helps people in financial need to improve their lives. Along with 150 other organisations, Elizabeth Finn Care is a member of the End Child Poverty Campaign
  • Elizabeth Finn Care gives direct financial support to people from over 120 occupational backgrounds, and through Turn2us helps millions more people in the UK to access the money available to them through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help
  • Since being founded in 1897, Elizabeth Finn Care has given away over £130m in direct financial assistance to people in need. In 2009/2010 over 3,500 British and Irish citizens received grants totalling almost £4m from Elizabeth Finn Care.

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