Last updated: 23 October 2023

Next review: 20 October 2024

Help for families

baby in pushchair with child and elderly woman behind

We want to make sure that children and young people in our borough get the best start in life and are able to fulfil their potential no matter the circumstances. There’s plenty of support available to you, including: 

  • Early Help free drop-in sessions – you can access friendly, in-person support at children and family hubs across the borough. Drop by any time from 9.45 am to 11.15 am, to receive information about local services, support for parents, community activities and help to use online services in an informal space. The sessions take place at: 

    • Leyton Family Hub (Tuesdays), 215 Queens Road, E17 8PJ 
    • Chingford Family Hub (Wednesdays), 5 Oaks Grove, E4 6EY 
    • Walthamstow Family Hub (Thursdays), 313 Billet Road, E17 5PX 
    • Leytonstone Family Hub (Fridays), 2-8 Cathall Road, E11 4LF  


  • Family Hubs – our local Family Hubs provide an upgraded programme of activities and support for parents and young people of all ages, including advice and information to support your child’s growth and development. Register online or in person at your nearest Family Hub. 


  • Best Start in Life Newsletter – Sign up for our Best Start in Life newsletter and get events, information and advice to parents of children between zero to five years old straight through to your inbox. Make sure you check the ‘Best Start in Life E-newsletter Parents and Carers’ tickbox under the ‘Education: Schools and Colleges’ heading. Not keen on receiving a newsletter? Why not follow our Best Start in Life Facebook page to get all the latest news.


  • The Healthy Start scheme – If you are pregnant, a new parent, or have a child under four, you may be eligible for a Healthy Start card, to help you purchase free, healthy foods and receive free vitamins. You can find out more about who qualifies for the Healthy Start Card, and make an application for a card if you qualify. 


  • Free School Meals – all primary school children attending state school are automatically enrolled to receive free school meals. You can also find out if your child attending secondary school is eligible for free school meals, and apply online


  • Help with childcare costs – a number of schemes and support are available to help parents pay for the cost of childcare. Including free early education for two years old and free early education for three and four years olds.


  • Employment Support for Parents workshops – specific drop-in sessions for parents are taking place fortnightly on Thursdays at the Walthamstow Family Hubs.  Parents can bring their children along to the sessions to get support with CVs, job applications, interview preparation, advice on childcare options, benefits and community activities. Navigate to the bottom of the Employment Support Drop-in Sessions page to find dates and times for the Walthamstow Family Hubs sessions.