22 September, 2023

How FFBS can help you support your residents’ children

Family Fund Business Services (FFBS) is a fulfilment and grant administration service with a decade of experience supporting organisations with their procurement needs. We work with charities, housing providers, local authorities and other organisations to make distributing practical support to people in need, efficient and hassle-free.

Emily Burnett

Communications and Marketing Officer, Family Fund Business Services

Tackling educational barriers for children in poverty

Every child deserves an education, however children living in poverty experience more challenges accessing education than other children. It is estimated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that 3.9 million children in the UK are living in poverty, and it is vital to ensure that these children are not disadvantaged and are supported to overcome the barriers that may prevent them from getting the best from their education.

Digital exclusion

The first barrier faced by children in poverty is digital exclusion. A report in 2021 found that 21% of young people in the UK do not have access to either a laptop or desktop computer. This rises to 30% of young people living in a household with a combined income of less than £20,000.

Children without access to a laptop or computer may be unable engage fully with learning, complete their homework, and develop important digital skills.

FFBS can work with your organisation to ensure no children are digitally excluded by fulfilling grants for technology, with a range of laptops, tablets, desktop computers and other devices available for order through our online fulfilment portal. Our supplier also provides IT support for beneficiaries if needed.

Furniture poverty

According to End Furniture Poverty, 9% of children in the UK are currently experiencing furniture poverty, which means they are living without essential furniture.

Children living in furniture poverty may find themselves without a desk to do homework on, or without a bed to sleep in, leading to poor sleep. Poor sleep has been linked to difficulties keeping up with school work and paying attention in class, so it is important that all children are able to get a good night’s sleep.

We can distribute furniture and other household items to beneficiaries, to ensure that all children have access to the essential furniture that they need to be able to fully participate in their education. From beds to tables, our products are delivered assembled or can be assembled on delivery, so beneficiaries are able to use the items straight away.

Cold homes

With energy bills remaining high, keeping homes warm will continue to be a challenge for low-income families this winter. Cold homes can cause and worsen health issues, particularly as cold homes are more prone to damp and mould. For children, poor health is a significant barrier to education, with the Institute of Health Equity reporting that an estimated 1.7 million school days are lost each year across Europe due to illness linked to damp and mould.

We can help your organisation to keep children warm this winter by distributing energy vouchers. In 2022/23 we worked with grant-giving organisations to support 38,000 households with their energy bills. Our energy vouchers are sent directly to beneficiaries via email within one working day, so no one is left waiting for support.

Food insecurity

A study by The Food Foundation found that 17% of households in the UK experienced food insecurity in June 2023, with this rising to 23.4% percent for households with children, and 48.4% for households receiving Universal Credit.

Food insecurity poses a significant barrier to a child’s education. Going to school hungry has been proven to contribute to difficulties concentrating, increased behavioural issues, and illness.

We can help children overcome this barrier by granting food vouchers, so no child has to go to school hungry. We offer a range of supermarket voucher options, including Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Asda, Aldi, Farmfoods and Iceland, which are distributed directly to the beneficiary via email within one working day.

School uniform costs

Research from Child Poverty Action Group shows that school uniform is one of the biggest educational expenses for parents with children in school. In fact, it’s estimated that the minimum annual cost of uniform, kit, shoes and bags for a child in primary school is £352.86, with this rising to £481.77 for parents with a child in secondary school. For low-income families already struggling with increased living costs, this expense may be unaffordable, and poses a significant barrier to education for children.

FFBS have a range of voucher options that can be used to purchase school uniform, including supermarket vouchers, Blackhawk clothing vouchers, and Park clothing cards.

If you think we could help your organisation give grants to help children overcome barriers to education, get in touch at businessdevelopment@familyfundservices.co.uk to find out more.