Bag some freebies from your local council.
Local councils can be an absolute pain when they forget to fix potholes, but they do provide some rather useful things for free.
Some of the services aren’t widely advertised so you have to do some digging. Fortunately, we’ve found a few freebies that might catch your attention.
To find out more about what is available in your area, head to your local council's website.
On yer bike!
Basic and intermediate bike maintenance courses are available from some local councils in England and are open to all.
Courses last all day and cover areas like brake balancing and cabling, gear indexing, bearings, punctures, all-over checks and tips on how to clean your bike.
Councils often run bikeability workshops to improve your confidence and technique on the road as well. They're perfect if you aren't used to riding in the city or you haven't ridden in a while.
Some councils can even offer up a free set of wheels. Edinburgh Council can give you a renovated bike if you’re:
- a single parent;
- receiving benefits;
- older or have disabilities and/or support needs;
- a community group, school club or play scheme;
- working with a social worker or support worker.
Finding and eliminating pests
Some councils in England and Wales will be able to provide free advice and treatment for infestations, particularly of rats.
If you’re on a low income or on benefits like Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Housing Benefit, you should be able to get some money off other pest control treatments.
Get free childcare
All three- and four-year-old children who live in England can get 15 hours a week of childcare for 38 weeks of the year (570 hours in total).
Free childcare can be provided by all types of nurseries and nursery classes, playgroups and pre-school, childminders and Sure Start children's centres.
Your two-year-old will be eligible if you receive benefits or they're looked after by the local council or get Disability Living Allowance. Find out more at the GOV.UK website.
It's a similar story in Scotland where three- and four-year-olds get 600 hours of free childcare a year while the same conditions apply to extending the care to two-year-olds.
Make a splash
What's more, a recently-introduced Welsh Government initiative allows armed forces personnel and veterans to enjoy free swimming.
Plant a tree
Council's occasionally do mass-giveaways of free trees: London gave away 49,000 back in October, whilst Bristol’s One Tree per Child campaign aims to have every at least one tree for the 36,000 children in Bristol’s 130 primary schools.
Or, have a look at the Woodland Trust to see if you could be eligible for a free tree.
Get them fed and clothed
Free school meals available in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland if you’re on certain benefits like Universal Credit or Income Support.
The Government has a postcode finder tool to show what your Council provides.
Clothing grants are available nationwide, though the criteria differ slightly for each part of the UK. For Wales, the £125 school uniform grant applies to pupils who are entering Year 7 and are also entitled to free school meals.
Pupils aged 11 who are starting at special schools and are eligible for free school meals get the clothing allowance.
Head for the hall
For some more inspiration, head to your local community centre or village hall to see what’s on for free. Libraries also offer lots of free courses and activity sessions: try a running club, an IT course or a sewing class.
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