Support for families
Norfolk Assistance Scheme
The Norfolk Assistance Scheme (NAS) helps people who are in financial hardship and cannot pay their living costs. There are many reasons why this might happen to you:
- Work hours have been cut
- On a low income or benefits
- Waiting for Universal Credit payments
- A home emergency such a fire or flood
- Have a special educational need or disability
- Have mental health issues or in ill health
- Have left an abusive relationship
- Have dependent children
- In a resettlement scheme
If you are eligible we can:
- Provide emergency financial help
- Supply essential household goods and furniture
- Give support, guidance and advice
Please follow the link for more information on how to apply
Free School Meals
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 automatically get free school meals if they go to school. It's called universal infant free school meals. You do not have to apply to get these meals, but if you do receive one of the benefits listed below, you should still apply. This is because it can help raise extra funds for your child's school (called Pupil Premium). This Government funding can help with extra tuition, teaching and after school activities.
If your child is in Year 3 or above, you must receive one of the following benefits to get free school meals:
- Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods) • Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guarantee element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
- Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
You must apply for these free school meals. Please follow the link below if you wish to apply.
You can apply online for free school meals using your Norfolk Education Online (NEO) account. You can use the same account for 2-year-old childcare funding and school admissions.
Those in receipt of Free School Meals are also eligible for a £15 monthly food voucher, as part of Norfolk County Council's new Norfolk Cost of Living Support Scheme, to support families in need. Vouchers will be released via email in November 2022 to April 2023.
NCC are not linking the food vouchers to the school holidays but are issuing them monthly to help families with the cost of living. Parents/ carers may choose to save vouchers rather than spend at the time of issue, so they have more funds available during the school holidays if they wish to, within the constraints of the three-month expiry date of the vouchers.
Note: If vouchers expire, they cannot be reissued.
Big Norfolk Holiday Fun
The Big Norfolk Holiday Fun (BNHF) activity programme provides holiday activities for children and young people aged 5-16 (or 4 if your child is slightly younger but in school) in Norfolk.
It is run in partnership with Norfolk County Council.
This programme runs in the Easter, Summer and Christmas Holidays.
Those who are eligible for means-tested free school meals can claim free spaces on the activities, whilst paid spots are available on many activities for those who don’t. Please see the link for more details and to book sessions.
Downham Market food bank is found at:
Eternity Downham Market
The Sovereign Centre
Sovereign Way, Trafalgar Industrial Estate
It is more important than ever that extended family, friends, neighbours and communities speak up and say something if they have concerns. It is everyone's responsibility to keep children safe and report concerns. We all need to play our part.
Where to go for help
In an emergency, always call the police on 999.
If you are worried about the safety or welfare of a child please call 0344 800 8020.
If you see something, or hear something that doesn’t feel right – say something.
Early help assessment and plan
Sometimes you might need extra support to help things improve.
This might mean bringing family, friends and workers together to have a meeting and create an early help assessment.
An early help assessment looks at what is working well for your family and what is not working so well.
Just One Norfolk
Health Advice and Support for Children https://www.justonenorfolk.nhs.uk/
Telephone 0300 300 0123
Supporting adult family members via telephone, text, email and web chat
Family Action provide a listening ear, answer particular parenting questions or help with guidance around more complex issues. All support takes place via telephone, text message or email and is free.
- 0808 802 6666
- Text: 07537 404 282
West Norfolk Family and Community Connections
The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Services offer information, advice and support for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This service is also offered directly to young people.
The service is free, impartial and confidential.
KIDS SENDIASS have developed resources providing information and advice for parents, carers, professionals and young people.