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Looking for help paying childcare?


If you are a parent of a three to five year old, most nurseries in England provide funded places as part of the Government’s Free Nursery Education scheme, and many have the option for you to take up additional childcare outside of this, making it an ideal childcare option. There is also a range of financial support available to help with the cost of childcare.

Email for more local guidance.

Childcare Vouchers


Employers are increasingly offering support for childcare through childcare voucher schemes. This is a salary sacrifice system of up to £55 per week per parent. The money comes directly off your salary before deductions, giving you savings on tax and National Insurance contributions.

In return, you will be given a voucher or e-voucher that is given to your nursery and is deducted from your bill. A number of childcare voucher providers offer this service to companies, and some now have online systems. You should ask your employer if this is a benefit they offer. First Friends takes all types of vouchers schemes.

If you receive tax credits the amount you are eligible for may be affected by using childcare vouchers. You can check whether you would be better off taking childcare vouchers through this free online calculator


Subsidised Nursery education 15, and 30hour offer. (England only)


If your child is aged between three and five, then you are entitled to 15 or 30hours of subsidised nursery education for 38 weeks of the year in the term following their third birthday. The amount of hours you receive will depend on  your employment status.  All children once they turn 3 are eligible to receive 15 hours. This means your three, four or five year old can attend a to nursery for 15 hours a week.  At First Friends we stretch this funding over the year.  This is better for your child's routine.

Funding for 2year olds is also available for many families. Click on the link to see what you could be entitled to.

Check if you qualify for tax credits


Many families do not take advantage of the financial help that is available to them for things such as the cost of childcare. Families on middle as well as low incomes may be entitled to financial support such as Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.

Find out more about tax credits and fill out a short online questionnaire to see if you qualify at:


The childcare element of working tax credits


This extra help - called 'the childcare element of working tax credits' - is available to individuals on lower incomes to help with the cost of childcare. The amount received is dependent on your circumstances and income, but it could cover up to 70% of your childcare costs when you use a formal childcare provider such as a nursery. The nursery must be registered with Ofsted.

To be eligible, lone parents must work 16 hours or more per week, for couples, both partners must work 16 hours or more or one partner must work 16 hours or more per week if the other is unable to work for specific reasons.

To find out more and if you are eligible for assistance, visit or call the Tax Credit helpline on 0845 300 3900.


Help with childcare costs for teenage parents


Care to Learn provides financial support to teenage parents who want to continue their education and need help with the cost of childcare. The scheme will pay up to £180 a week and all payments are made directly to the childcare provider - such as the nursery.

For more information about Care to Learn visit their website


Help with childcare costs for students


Full-time higher education students with children in registered childcare could receive financial support for childcare costs - the Childcare Grant. This could support up to 85% of the cost of childcare, dependent on a number of factors.

Visit  for more information on the Childcare Grant.


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