Advice for Parents & Carers

There are numerous organisations with websites that can be useful to parents and carers.

Cost of Living Support

Many families across England are struggling with covering costs as prices increase for energy, food, petrol etc.

Below, we are sharing information about where families may be able to receive additional support. Each family’s circumstances vary, as does the support available, so services which may be accessible to some families, may not be available to others.

For more information contact the Parent and Carer Partnership Team on 01634 683990

Household Support Fund – Medway Council

The Household Support Fund provides support to vulnerable Medway households.

Funded by the UK government, the scheme is for those most in need of support to help with significantly rising living costs.

It closes in April 2024.

The fund can be used for:

  • Food and home essentials
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Essentials linked to energy and water
  • Housing costs in exceptional circumstances, but not mortgages.

To be eligible for support, you must:

  • Be a Medway resident
  • Be aged 16 or over
  • Be in apparent hardship
  • Have less than £500 in your bank account
  • Not have access to any funds that can be relied on to meet the need you are applying for, and where you would be left with insufficient resources which would cause serious risk to your own, or your family’s, health, or safety.

More information

If you have any queries about your payment, please email householdsupportfund@medway.gov.uk

You can make an application on the Medway Council Website:

https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200131/council_tax_and_benefits/1481/household_support_fund/3

Daily Living Cost Support – Food

FOODBANK

We are registered with Foodbank and are able to provide the vouchers needed to access this service. There is a limit as to how often they are able to support each family.

However, please do get in touch with us if you would like a referral or further detail. There are a number of foodbank schemes locally open on different days and times.

Visit this link to find your most local in Medway: https://medway.foodbank.org.uk/locations/

SECOND CHANCE MEDWAY

Second Chance Charity Medway has a food project where food can be purchased at a fraction of the supermarket

This project is available by appointment only Monday to Friday – phone 01634 408840

https://www.2ndchancemedway.org/

OLIO

OLIO is an app which can be downloaded by anyone and connects neighbours with each other, and with local businesses, so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away.

This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away. For your convenience, OLIO can also be used for non-food household items too.

https://olioex.com/

GILLINGHAM STREET ANGELS

The Gillingham Street Angels stock fresh fruit, veg, dairy products, bread, cupboard items, and much much more refreshed daily. They do not require a voucher or proof of need.

They are open from 9am until 1pm Monday to Friday & 9am until 12pm on Saturdays (closed on Bank Holidays), at 43 Skinner Street, Gillingham, ME7 1LG.

For non-urgent enquiries, email Tracy: tracy@thestreet-angels.org

https://www.thestreet-angels.org/

School Uniforms

GILLINGHAM STREET ANGELS

The Gillingham Street Angels also offer second-hand school uniforms and some furniture/appliances – for a fee.

They are open from 9am until 1pm Monday to Friday & 9am until 12pm on Saturdays (closed on Bank Holidays), at 43 Skinner Street, Gillingham, ME7 1LG.

For non-urgent enquiries, email Tracy: tracy@thestreet-angels.org

https://www.thestreet-angels.org/

BRADFIELDS ACADEMY

We offer second-hand school uniform items for a donation.  Please email kerry.cramer@fortistrust.co.uk or ria-simmons@fortistrust.co.uk

Government Benefits

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) + Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

You can apply for DLA if you are looking after a child who is under 16 who has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age.

www.gov.uk

You can get PIP if all of the following apply to you:

  • you’re 16 or over
  • you have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability
  • you have difficulty doing certain everyday tasks or getting around
  • you expect the difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started

https://www.gov.uk/pip/eligibility

Healthy Living

Mental Health Services

  • www.mind.org.uk is a website providing expert advice and support related to mental health issues and learning disabilities.
  • https://www.kmpt.nhs.uk/ – Medway Primary Care Psychological Therapies, Tel: 01634 841524
  • https://apps.nelft.nhs.uk/SPA-KentMedway-Support– is a form to seek advice and support on appropriate services. This is also the number to call if a child or young person needs urgent mental health support – 0800 011 3474.

  • Text the word “Medway” to 85258 – Shout crisis text line for people of all ages needing immediate mental health support.

  • www.kooth.com – a mental health and wellbeing online platform for CYP aged 10-25 across Medway to access qualified counsellors. 

  • Emerge – helpline for anxiety, self-harm or suicidal thoughts on 07983 136 215, available 7-11pm Monday to Friday evenings. Referral to: hellomedway@emergeadvocacy.com
  • https://togetherall.com/en-gb/ – if aged 16+ for anonymous support.
  • https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm, free for mobiles and landlines)
  • https://www.childline.org.uk/ – Call 0800 1111 access to live chats, toolkits and information and advice
  • How to Cope as a Carer – This booklet is for you if you are supporting a friend or relative and want to know how to look after your own mental health. It offers advice on how to look after yourself and where to get further support.  See the bottom of this page for the booklet.

Parent & Carer Support Services

  • https://medwaypcf.org.uk/ – The Medway Parents and Carers Forum is a group formed to help bring together the parents, families and carers of children and young people with a variety of additional needs to have a voice within Medway.
  • www.familyandchildcaretrust.org – a website aiming to make the UK a better place for families, through research, campaigning and information provision, and working with government, employers and parents to reduce pressures on family life.
  • www.gingerbread.org.uk – a website providing expert advice, practical support and campaigning for single parents.
  • www.carersfirst.org.uk – is a charity supporting adult and young Carers, a Carer being anyone who provides unpaid support to a loved one. Carers can be of any age and may be looking after a relative including husband or wife, friend or neighbour. We provide emotional and practical support, advice, information, guidance and offer statutory carers assessments, training, events, social groups, short break respite, activities trips and more.
  • www.kentautistic.com – KAT offers coffee mornings, emails groups, telephone support, help to apply for benefits and grants.
  • https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/ – SEND Online Safety Hub – NSPCC have has launched a new SEND online safety hub to help support parents and carers who have children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The hub has a range of practical tips and advice on topics such as talking to people online and wellbeing.

Money Management

If you would like advice on managing your finances, please see the agencies below, who you can contact directly to seek support.

  • Christians Against Povertyhttps://capuk.org
  • Step Changewww.stepchange.org – Free advice to manage your debt, including a debt management plan or voluntary repay arrangements.
  • Foodbank – If you are experiencing difficulties with purchasing food then up to three vouchers can be provided for food parcels for your family, food parcels generally last approximately three days. Please contact the Parent and Carer Partnership Team for confidential support on 01634 683990

E-Safety

You can use your computer, mobile phone or tablet for lots of fun things and to make lots of new friends from all over the world.

This section of our website will provide you with links to really useful advice on how to be careful when you use the internet and some great tips to keep safe. If you are worried about anything you see your child looking at online or where people are asking your child questions about where they live or saying nasty things to them please follow any of the links below for help and advice.

ThinkUKnow Website

Practical Parenting Guides

  • Encouraging Better Behaviour – NSPCC practical Guide to Positive Parenting to encourage better behaviour.
  • Listening to Children – NSPCC practical Guide to help improve communication with your child.
  • Out Alone – NSPCC practical guide to keeping your child safe when they are away from home and alone.
  • Keeping Your Cool – NSPCC practical guide for Parents & Carers on managing stress and anger.

Below are joint NAHT and Family Action guide which are based on the latest research about what helps children to succeed at school

  • Giving your child a helping hand – This guide is to assist Parents & Carers help their child learn in and out of the home, at school etc.
  • Preparing for change at school – Change will happen throughout your child’s time at school; some will be easy and some harder. Change can affect both your child and the rest of the family. With the right support at home and school, you can help your child to succeed through these changes.
  • Ready to Learn – This guide is to assist Parents & Carers in helping their child get the most out of school.
Going out for the day or on holiday?
  • Accessible Guide – You may find The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain of use as it gives details on sites for families with children with disabilities.
  • Day Out With The Kids – The website ‘Day Out With The Kids’ will also help you find something to do during the weekend or holiday period.
  • Hidden Disabilities – Advice for passengers or their carers with hidden disabilities travelling through Gatwick.
  • A Parents and Carers guide to gangsAnswering your questions on gangs and Helping to keep young people safe.

Autism Resources

  • The Kent Autistic Trust are able to provide an Autism Alert Card. This can be used to alert police and other emergency services to the fact that the holder has an Autistic Spectrum Condition. This will indicate that the holder may have difficulty with communicating or may exhibit behaviours which may seem strange or be misinterpreted. This card is of most benefit to those accessing the community independently. Contact Kent Autistic Trust on 01634 405168 for further information.