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Financial support for young people leaving care (care leavers)

If you’re a care-experienced young person, you may be entitled to financial support.  

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You might be able to apply for grants to help with your education, training and employment. The council may also give you an allowance for necessities like accommodation, food, transport and clothing.  

What you’re entitled to varies from person to person. It will depend on your age, when you came into care and how long you have been, or were, in care. This is sometimes called your “leaving care status.”

It can be difficult to work out which “status” you fit into, but your social worker and personal advisor will be able to help you with this.  

Depending on your circumstances, here is some financial support you may be entitled to —  or can apply for:


Depending on your circumstances, you may also be able to claim benefits to support yourself. These include: 

  • Universal Credit 

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) 

  • Child Tax Credit  

  • Housing Benefit 

  • Working Tax Credit 

For more information, get in touch with your personal advisor, social worker or a charitable organisation such as Citizen’s Advice.  

Leaving Care Grant 

When you move into new accommodation, you might find that it’s unfurnished.  

If this is the case, you’ll need to buy some furniture, appliances and household items to make it feel like a home.  

To help you, you can ask your council for up to £2,000 to put towards setting up your home. This is often called a Leaving Care Grant or a Setting Up Home Allowance. 

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This will make sure you have all the equipment and household items to have safe, secure and stable accommodation.  

Although it may seem like a lot of money, it’s worth budgeting this carefully, as some accommodation may not include utilities like a washing machine or cooker which can cost a lot.  

Plus, you may want to have some money left over in case anything breaks and you need help to replacing it.  

Grants from charities and businesses 

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, some charities may offer grants to help you cover the cost of household items, education, training and employment.  

These include: 

However, it’s worth noting that these grants may only be available if you’ve tried all other options first. 

Education Bursary 

Thinking of continuing your studies? 

If you’re a care-experienced person, aged 16-19, you should get a £1,200 bursary if you stay in full-time education. This is called a 16-19 Bursary Fund. Contact your school or college to find out how you can claim this.  

If you go on to higher education (for example, university) you can get a higher education bursary of £2,000.  

 teenagers walk to college with their books

Many universities also offer their own scholarships and bursaries for care leavers too. Although these may only be available if you’re under 26 years old.  

When applying for university via UCAS, simply tick the box on the form that asks if you've been in care, to see if you’re eligible. You might be worried about saying that you’re a care leaver, but this information will be kept completely confidential. It just allows your university to offer you practical support.  

The Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme  

With the Unite Foundation Scholarship Scheme, you could have your accommodation and bills covered for up to three years of study. It’s available at 27 partner universities, such as the University of Edinburgh, Leeds Beckett University, University College London (UCL). Plus, they also offer opportunities for employment and mentoring.  

Financial gifts at birthdays, Christmas or other celebrations 

Some local councils give care-experienced people a financial gift on their birthday, Christmas or other holidays.  

For more information, speak to your personal advisor or local council.  

Exemptions or discounts on bills 

Depending on where you live in the UK, you may be entitled to a discount or an exemption on certain bills, such as council tax or water service charges.  

For more advice, speak to your personal advisor or local council. 

Travel cards 

Whether you’re commuting to university or just meeting up with a friend, the cost of travel can quickly add up.  

Because of this, some local councils and public transport companies offer free or discounted travel to young people leaving care. 

Ask your personal advisor or local council if there are any travel card schemes in your area. 

We are currently calling on the government to make bus travel free for care-experienced people in England. 

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