Maintaining a healthy work life balance is important for family life, however, there are times when families need additional support or guidance on issues such as careers and employment, finance and benefits.

The following agencies and organisations may be able to help.

Childcare vouchers are accepted by all forms of registered childcare.

Employers for Childcare

Employers for Childcare is a national charitable organisation with a vision to be recognised as the leader in helping parents with dependent children to get into work and to stay in work. Both parents may be eligible for Childcare Vouchers.

Recognising that the challenges that parents face in balancing their work-life responsibilities is of key importance to businesses, both large and small. ‘Employers for Childcare’ will work with businesses and organisations by providing advice and information on employee benefits and the system for offering these benefits. An employer who offers the Childcare Voucher Scheme can make savings through the Employer National Insurance exemption.

Contact: 0800 028 3008

Childcare Benefits Advice

Use the Freephone 0800 028 6538 to speak to a Childcare Benefits Advisor. This is free, confidential advice on a wide range of issues including:

  • ‘better off’ calculations
  • social security benefits
  • tax credits
  • childcare vouchers
  • flexible working legislation

All Childcare Users and their Employers can find out more

Freephone 0800 028 6538

Best Start Grant Package

There are many grants that as a new family you may not realise you are eligible for. These grants can help cover some of the costs that raising a child can bring from their birth to when they start school. These payments aim to support you as a family and ensure that your children get the best possible start in their lives.

Pregnancy and Baby Payment

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment is part of Best Start Grant, a package of three payments that will give extra money to parents and carers during the early years of a child’s life. It is a £600 payment for a first child and £300 for other children. There will be an extra £300 if you have a multiple birth. It will help with expenses in pregnancy or having a new child, for example maternity clothes, a pram, or additional heating.

You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment if you live in Scotland whether you are in work or not. To check if you are entitled to these benefit:
Contact: 0800 182 2222 or visit

Early Learning Payment

The Early Learning Payment is a £250 payment for eligible families on certain benefits or tax credits who have a child between the ages of two and three years and six months. This is to help with the costs of early learning around the time your child might start nursery. You can apply for the Early Learning Payment whether you are in work or not.

Contact: 0800 182 2222 or visit

School Age Payment

The School Age Payment is a £250 payment made around the time a child normally starts Primary 1 to help with the costs of a child starting school. You can apply for the School Age Payment whether you are in work or not.

Contact: 0800 182 2222 or visit

Childcare Strategy:
Pre-school Transport and Access Fund

Guidelines for Referring:

If a family is experiencing real difficulties in accessing preschool education, assistance is available, to their nearest nursery, through the Childcare Strategy.

Families who have difficulties in one or more of the following areas will be considered for assistance:

  • financial hardship
  • parent/carer illness

Referrals are made by Health Visitors. Nurseries, Partner Providers, or Social Workers should contact the child’s Health Visitor with details of any child they believe requires assistance. Each application will be considered on its own merits by a panel of the Childcare Strategy, which includes representatives from a range of agencies.

Free School Meals / Clothing Grant

You can apply for free school meals and / or clothing grant for your child or children, if they are attending school and meet the date of birth criteria. The application will be assessed on your household income and further information on the criteria can be obtained by contacting:

Shetland Islands Council Children’s Services
Hayfield House
Contact: 01595 743848

Shetland Citizens Advice Bureau

Provides free, impartial and independent advice on issues such as benefits, immigration, housing issues, Direct Payments, NHS complaints, welfare rights, employment, education and debt.

Based in Market House, Lerwick
Contact: 01595 694696

Skills Development Scotland

Careers Scotland is part of Skills Development Scotland. Services are available to people of all ages and are impartial, confidential and based on individual need. SDS Advisors visit all secondary schools in Shetland and Shetland College. Services are free and based in Charlotte House, Lerwick

Contact: 01595 695791

National helpline: 0800 9178000

Jobcentre Plus

Jobcentre Plus is part of the Department for Work and Pensions. It aims to help more people into paid work, help employers fill their vacancies and give people of working age the help and support they are entitled to if they cannot find work.

To make a benefit call: 0800 055 6688

To contact the department for work and pensions: 0800 169 0190

Scottish Child Law Centre

Provides free telephone advice service on all aspects of Scots law relating to children and young people. Advisers will talk to you about issues including education, health, social work, divorce, residence, contact, children’s rights, youth offenders and access to files.

Contact: From a landline: freephone 0800 328 8970 From a mobile: 0300 330 1421

If you are a parent, relative or carer, a professional who works with or for children and have any questions about any aspect of child law.
Contact: 0131 6676333

Working Families

Working Families is a work-life balance organisation, helping give a voice to working parents and carers, while also helping employers create workplaces which encourages work-life balance for everyone.

Contact: 0800 328 8970 or from a mobile 0300 330 1421

Updates and amendments to information should be notified to