July 24, 2021, 12:29

    8 free things you can get from your council including swimming, computers and debt help

    8 free things you can get from your council including swimming, computers and debt help

    From free swimming to access to computers and even debt advice, there are plenty of perks you could be missing out on from your council.

    We round up all the freebies that are most common across the hundreds of local authorities.

    Each council will have different benefits on offer, meaning not all of them will necessarily have all these incentives we’ve listed below.

    You’ll also need to meet certain criteria for some of them – for example, being on a low income or claiming certain benefits.

    The best thing to do is check your local council website or your nearest library to see what you could be entitled to.

    If you don't have a laptop, you may be able to find free access to a local library computer
    (Image: Getty Images)

    Outside of councils, there are plenty of other freebies to claim – for example, the government has announced a new £10million scheme with the National Lottery to give money-off vouchers as part of bids to boost tourism.

    McDonald’s is also offering 3,000 free football sessions if you’re stuck for things to do with the kids.

    Here are some of the best council freebies, as rounded up by the team at Resolver and Money.co.uk.

    James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk said: “If you’re keen to find out what services your local council has available, a great place to start is your local library.

    “Many of the council funded classes, schemes and free support packages can be found here, so it’s worth checking out their website or popping in for a visit.

    “The sites should be updated periodically, but it’s also a great idea to sign up to any mailing lists or local WhatsApp/Facebook groups to keep on top of any changes or newly introduced schemes."

    Free swimming

    Some councils offer free swimming lessons for young and older people.

    Keep in mind you usually have to book a slot and can't just turn up, but do check your council website to see what the rules are.

    For example, Manchester City Council says it can give over 60s free access to swimming pools, as well as under-16s during the school holidays.

    Or at City of Wolverhampton Council, parents and guardians can sign up for free swimming for their child if they are aged eight to 16 and attending with a paying adult.

    Free cycle training

    Not sure how to ride a bike? Your council may be able to help
    (Image: Getty Images)

    There are lots of free cycle schemes, including introductory road safety lessons and bike maintenance courses offered by some councils.

    Cycle training is available from Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) for people who live or work in Greater Manchester.

    We've also spotted similar sessions being offered by Lancashire County Council.

    Some councils have previously ran free bike schemes in the past, such as Birmingham City Council, but applications for this are now closed.

    Free computer and internet access

    If you don't have access to a regular desktop or laptop, most council websites should have a list of all the places that give you free access to a computer.

    Need to print something out? They should be able to help you with printer access too.

    Most of the time, using a free computer or printer will involve you booking a session at your local library.

    See Durham County Council and Kent County Council websites as an example.

    Free PPE

    You may even be entitled to free PPE too
    (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

    If you’re working as an unpaid carer to someone in the community, you might be able to pick up a shipment of free PPE.

    Check your local council website to see if it offers this service – it'll usually be under their Covid-19 page.

    Although the PPE can usually be picked up from a number of collection points, you’ll likely need to get in touch beforehand to check if you’re eligible for the scheme.

    Free period products

    Surrey County Council has recently become the first local authority in England to provide free period products.

    While it isn't clear if other councils will follow suit, it is worth keeping an eye on their websites to see if they start a similar scheme.

    One Morrisons store was recently applauded for giving out free period products to struggling customers.

    It involves going to the customer service desk and asking for a package that “Sandy” left you – staff will then hand you an envelope with a sanitary product inside.

    Free debt help

    If you're struggling with debts, don't sit there in silence – your local council should be able to point you in the right direction for free advice.

    Most councils will have pages set up on their website with links to the relevant organisations.

    Don't be tempted into paying for debt help, as you shouldn't need to spend a penny on this type of advice.

    Organisations like StepChange, National Debtline and Citizens Advice will be able to help you for free.

    Free school meals and clothing

    You may be entitled to free school meals for your child, depending on if you claim out of work benefits or income support.

    There is a postcode finder tool on the main Gov.uk website that shows you what your council can offer.

    Once you've spoken to your local council, they'll advice you on how you go back applying for free school meals.

    Clothing grants worth up to £150 to go toward the cost of school uniform are usually available nationwide too – but again criteria and the deadline for applying varies.

    It comes as part of the Education Act 1990, which gives local authorities in England the power to provide financial help to parents on low incomes.

    The system is different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where councils are required to offer assistance.

    Free trees

    This one is plugged through councils but the Woodland Trust organise it, for those who are environmentally conscious.

    According to its website, there is "hundreds of thousands of trees" being given away to schools and communities.

    See Woodland Trust for more information.

    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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