Skip to main content

Your web browser is not fully supported by BBC Children in Need, so parts of the website may not function correctly.

the back of a child wearing a coat. A football net is in the background

Bolton Lads and Girls Club

The Cost of Living Crisis – as experienced by a BBC Children in Need funded project

Written by Sarah Randall from the Children and Families Service at Bolton Lads and Girls Club

A child washiing their hands at a basin in a domestic bathroom

The cost of living crisis is devastating for some of the families we’re supporting through our Family Support project. Many are struggling to pay for everyday basic items, food and bills. If something in the home breaks, like a bed, or if their child grows out of clothing, they can’t afford to replace them. Activities for children are now unaffordable for lots of families so children are missing out on having fun and new experiences. Families that have babies are struggling because the cost of equipment and furniture is so expensive and they grow so quickly and need new items. Some families can’t afford to pay their bills or they are in a lot of debt and can’t see a way out. All of these things are adding immense pressure to people’s lives and adding to their stress and anxiety. People’s wellbeing and mental health is at stake.

In order to help, we’re sign posting those that we can  to the BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials programme which has been great because we’ve been able to help families  source furniture, beds, bedding, curtains etc for families at crisis point who are in urgent need of support.

food being served to a child in a canteen style setting

Given how incredibly difficult families are finding things at the moment, we’re lucky that in addition to our funding from BBC Children in Need, we’ve been given a grant from our local CVS to help families pay for food and household essentials, and we have a good network of local organisations that we can signpost families to, to get them the extra help they need. We’ve been signposting families who are struggling financially, to the DWP and debt relief agencies or charities so they can check what they are entitled to and make sure they are claiming the correct benefits.

Locally, we’ve signposted families with newborns to a great local charity in Bolton called Baby Basics, where they give starter packs to families and source equipment and clothing for babies. There’s a local charity that provides free and low cost furniture which is helpful. We liaise with schools as well to see what’s available, for things like Breakfast Clubs and second hand uniform etc.

In addition, we have been signposting people to various national charities for mental health support, such as the Samaritans and MIND. And we signpost to the government’s website:

Fundamentally, we are a large youth club that provides wrapround support to those that need us, and we provide a massive range of activities for children in Bolton, where they can come and get a hot meal, join our free gym, hang out with their mates somewhere warm and safe, and it’s all free. We don’t charge anything for children to come in and they have access to all our facilities for free. We also have our own foodbank for the families we support.

Finding Help and Support

The Cost of Livings Crisis is affecting many of us. For further support and nationally accessible services, we’ve listed just a few useful places you can visit or contact.

Basic items

  • Family Fund – Our Emergency Essentials programme supports children and young people who are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances, and is delivered by Family Fund. The programme can provide items that meet a child’s most basic needs such as a bed to sleep in, a cooker to provide a hot meal and other items or services critical to a child’s wellbeing.
  • Fuel Bank Foundation advice for individuals about fuel insecurity.
  • Good Things Foundation Online Centres Network is made up of grassroots organisations, all working to tackle digital and social exclusion by providing people with the skills and confidence they need to access digital technology.

Warm Spaces in your community

  • Warm Spaces – Find a Warm Space in the local community
  • Warm Welcome – Find a free Warm Space in the local community


  • End Child Poverty – Free School Meals information including an eligibility checker.
  • IFAN – Independent Food Aid Network’s interactive map of food banks, food distribution charities and local support hubs across the UK.
  • Independent Food Aid Networkmap of independent foodbanks across the UK.
  • The Trussell Trust – Food banks providing short-term, emergency support with food during a crisis.
  • Your Local Food Pantry – member-led neighbourhood hubs that stock food that members, who usually pay a small subscription, and in return can access affordable food.

Money and Housing

  • Citizens Advice – offer support with a range of issues including benefits, debt and housing.
  • Shelter – offer support with housing issues.
  • StepChange Debt Charity 24 hour debt advice service

Emotional, social and support

  • Home-Start – local community network across the UK of trained volunteers and staff who can give non-judgmental, compassionate and confidential support to families with young children through challenging times.
  • Turn2us – Find an Advisor Tool provides information and advice on local support and advice related to benefits, housing, jobs, legal issues and other practical help.
addbankCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background calendarCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background chevron-down chevron-lchevron-rchevron-upcommentcross>CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background detect-locationdocumentdownloadCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background emailembedexportfavouritefilterhelphomeinfoiphone iplayer liveCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background more-horizontalmore-verticalphonepingitpostCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background quote-end quote-open searchsettingsshareshowcase-threads social-facebook social-instagram social-linkedin CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background social-pinterest social-twitter social-youtube sounds CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background CN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background ticktimeCN0891 Icons for Resources - No Background puzzle-shelfAsset 1