Its most common grants are used to buy basic household items such as beds, cookers and washing machines, but its Chances for Children grants also provide an enhanced package of support for children and young people dealing with a variety of issues ranging from kinship care arrangements, domestic abuse, estrangement, physical and mental ill health, and substance abuse.
How do the grants work?
There are separate application processes for a child or young person within a family and for a child or young person without family contact.
For children in a family, support can be provided for those affected by domestic abuse and for those living in kinship care arrangements.
For young people who receive no support from their parents or guardians, financial help can be provided so that they can further their education or employment. To apply, the young person must have a clear education, training or employment goal that they are pursuing or intend to pursue within three months of their application.
For children in families
Exposure to domestic abuse can impact on how a child or young person processes their feelings, interacts with others and can affect their mental health.
It is estimated there are 200,000 children in the UK living in kinship care, and many kinship carers report financial challenges as a result of taking care of children with support needs.
Chances for Children grants can pay for a range of support to address these issues, including therapy, such as art or play therapy; after-school clubs to help them integrate into a community or build relationships; and activities that allow a child to express themselves, for example drama or art clubs.
Grants can also pay for household items when families have been forced to leave a home due to domestic abuse.
Witnessing domestic abuse can also affect a young person's education, so grants can be awarded for educational equipment, books, uniforms, tutoring, after school clubs and travel costs to college.
Who is eligible?
To be considered for enhanced support applicants must be:
- Aged 18 or under living with at least one parent or carer or young people aged 20 and under who have recently experienced domestic abuse and are in the rehousing or post-housing stages
- In financial hardship
- Receiving ongoing, regular support from a professional organisation
- Normally resident in the UK with the intention to remain in the country long term.
Applicants must ensure every effort has been made to check that a statutory, education or governmental body cannot fund the activity or item being requested.
For children without a family
The fund can provide direct financial help to young people without support from family or carers to achieve an educational goal or set up home and/or to improve their emotional, mental or physical wellbeing. Each package of support can be worth up to £2,000.
The support available will fund essential items to help a young person gain employment or training such as interview costs, professional equipment or a computer for studies.
Like the funding for children in families, it will also pay for essential household items and will fund activities that support a young person's wellbeing including recreation or social activities, gym membership or counselling.
Who is eligible?
The young person must be:
- Aged 16-20
- Estranged or orphaned and living outside the family home, receiving little or no financial or emotional support from family members
- In financial hardship
- Committed to pursuing a defined goal in relation to education, training or employment
- Working closely with support services.
The fund is unable to help looked-after children.
How to apply
Applications must be completed by an organisation that is supporting the family or young person and is capable of assessing their needs. The referrer should also be able to administer and supervise the grant.
Support workers must commit to sending receipts for each item purchased with the grant.
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