Financial Support for Families

Money worries: Information for parents and carers

Combe Down School is part of the B&NES Affordable School Programme.  This means we want all our children to happily participate in everything that is on offer whatever your family’s circumstances.   

We understand though that the cost of supporting children through school can put pressure on household budgets.  This is especially true now with rises in the cost-of-living.  

We understand how difficult it can be when children are unable to participate in activities because of the cost.   We know, too, that this can even be a trigger for bullying and tension in friendships.

We want to do all we can to make every school day affordable for all our families and to help you find the support you might need if you have money concerns.

Getting help

It can be difficult to talk about money worries.  People finding it hard to make ends meet often hang on and try and sort things out themselves; not seeking help until the situation has become very difficult.  Whatever the issues you are facing we would encourage you to ask for support before things get that way.  There is no shame in seeking support when you need it and both the school, and the organisations listed below will treat you with respect and keep your information confidential.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

What should I do if I can’t afford for my child to take part in a school activity?

Please talk to us about your concerns so that we can work together to ensure your child can access everything on offer whatever the cost.  You can talk to your child's class teacher, the Co-Heads or someone in the school office.  Anything you tell us will be treated confidentially.

Who else can help me if I am worried about money?


B&NES Community Wellbeing Hub: 0300 247 0050 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. The team can link you up with organisations such as B&NES Citizen’s Advice that help with money, housing, employment, and health issues. One call can get you in touch with a range of services, all under one roof, including several in the list below.  

B&NES Citizen's Advice FREEPHONE 0808 02787897 Mon-Fri 9.30am - 2.30pm. Free expert advice from an independent and trusted charity. Citizens Advice can also help with complex problems, where you might feel really stuck or overwhelmed including debt, benefits, housing, family issues, discrimination, and immigration.   

B&NES Welfare Support  offers short-term emergency help with living, travel or housing costs through vouchers or direct purchase. The team also offer help with Council Tax and Discretionary Housing Payments, clothing for interviews and costs of moving home.

St John’s Crisis Fund provides support to people who are struggling financially and funds essential practical items like beds, white goods, furniture, carpets, counselling, debt support and basic employment skills and training. You do need to be referred by a professional like a health visitor or housing association support worker or we can refer you if you like.

LivewellB&NES  links to many services for local families including childcare, health, money, learning and skills, social and leisure resources and more.  Enter what you are looking for in the search box.

Clean Slate : QuidsIn  This website offers lots of information about money matters.  There are no distracting adverts for credit cards or loans, just straightforward, solid guidance on how to make the most of the money you have and how to maximise your income.  You can sign-up for weekly email full of ways to help increase income and savings and manage on a low income. Clean Slate also have local advisers in B&NES that you can speak to or see face-to-face.

Money Helper Government website offering comprehensive guidance on all aspects of money, benefits, debt and investments. Includes a ‘Couch to Financial Fitness’ tool to help you get back on track.  

Debt Free South West provides help and advice to people in B&NES on matters such as rent arrears, council tax, utility bills, credit cards and loans.

What benefits am I entitled to?

To find out if your family is entitled to any income support visit

For free advice about benefits and what your family can claim contact the B&NES Community Wellbeing Hub: 0300 247 0050 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Where can I get free or affordable clothes and school uniform?

B&NES School Kit Project SKiP provides new school related items such as uniforms and bags to local schoolchildren whose families, whether they are currently in work or not, are experiencing financial hardship. You need to be referred to SKiP by the school, so talk to us and we can help you access this support. 

Action Pantry Clothesline offers free clothing for children aged 5-15 from good quality donated goods. Some school uniform items available.  You can visit and choose from the clothes rails or ask for a bundle of age-suitable clothing to be made up for you. 

The Nest Project provides free clothing and equipment for children aged 0-5 from good quality donated goods. They run drop-in toddler groups with a friendly welcome, a listening ear, and a cup of tea too.

The Uniform Cupboard on Lower Bristol Road, Bath, provide free, good quality donated school uniform for B&NES Schools. 

Where can I get free or affordable food?

The B&NES Food Finder lists all the local places where you can find affordable or free food including foodbanks, food clubs, pantries, and community cafes. The food clubs and pantries offer a range of fresh and store-cupboard food at very discounted prices so you can make your food budget stretch much further. They are also, increasingly, hosting teams who offer money advice for example from Citizen’s Advice

Beware of ‘Loan Sharks’ and illegal money lenders

Recently we have been made aware of the dangers of borrowing money from illegal lenders or loan sharks.  We heard of one mother who had borrowed £75 from someone they’d met socially to buy school uniform.  The lender then kept asking for more and more interest on the loan.  Over the following five years she ended up paying back a staggering £30,000 all the time fearing threats from the lender about falling behind on payments. 

England’s Illegal Money Lending Team are working across the country to support families tangled up with loan sharks and prevent others from resorting to such schemes.  The Team not only provide information and advice on what is meant by a loan shark and how to avoid them, but also support individuals in debt to sharks by making prosecutions and attempting to recover money.  The following short videos explain what is meant by a loan shark, how to ask the Team for help and other ways of borrowing money in times of financial pressures for example through credit unions etc.

If you are finding it difficult to meet the cost of your child / children’s schooling, then please talk to us before being tempted by an illegal loan.  Your conversation will be confidential, and we will do all we can to help you at this time. 

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