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Difficulty Fund


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hi all,


quick question - we have a difficulty fund for families who struggle with paying fees. this money had been donated by local charities for this purpose only and they are kept in a seperate account.

its not been used for ages, and now we have had a request from a new family in the village.


a criteria was set, but that was years ago and no one knows where this went.


so, my qustion. what would be classed as difficulty. i always felt it should be used for a CHILD in difficulty, who would benefit from being in a setting rather than an unstable home environment.


the family in question have a 2 year old, mum works and dad is main carer and older child at primary school.

to me, as a working family, why would they be classed as a hardship case.


i would suggest the child starting a 3 when funding kicks in, mainly because i would much rather keep the money for families will real problems.


am i being mean? does any one else have a difficulty fund?

would anyone know a criteria for being eligible?


most parents dont ask because unless you have been on the committee no one knows about it.


please help, i know someone out there will come up with something. thanks

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I don't think you are being mean but do you know the full reasons - presumably they have asked, if so, how did they get to know about the hardhship fund.


Are they entitled to WFTC and the Childcare Element, if so, would they be able to claim your fees from this (up to 70% maximum) as they could then use this to pay for the child's childcare, does Mum work for a company who might be able to get vouchers? Is there any reason why the Dad does not work, i.e. lack of employment opportunities, does Mum earn more, incapacity etc. I think you would probably need a lot more information on which to base this as otherwise you will be opening the flood gates to all and sundry with equality of opportunity issues coming in. Youa re going to have to justify why this particular case is of more importance than someone else in a similar position. it's amazing how chinese whsipers get around on this sort of thing and no doubt there will be issues surrounding this with other parents. As you say the child would be entitled to a free place at 3 anyway and unless there is a very good reason for the child being in a group then most parents I know will hold off until then especially when things are financially tight. As you say you need to find your policy and if you can't then you need to look at getting a new in place to cover these eventualities.

Just one other point to bear in mind - why is it only the committee that know about this hardship fund? If there is a separate bank account with money being donated by local charities then there should be a policy on it (which I know you cannot find) but surely this should be signed off by the committee and all parents should be made aware of it or be able to agree with the terms and it should appear in the policies and procedures manual. Just a thought...

Sorry cannot be of any more help.


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Just one other point - when did this money come in - as far as I know there are implications with one charity donating to another charity - are you committee run and do you have charitable status as I think you also ought to look at this issue.


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thanks nicola,


we are a charity run group, the money donated is in a seperate account so i agree their needs to be something in writing about this.

when the money was donated, the charity who donated it was told it was purely for this purpose, and were aware it would be used by anyone who needed it at anytime.


the family didnt know about the fund, but a friend of the family called and asked if we could help in anyway with funding and i think my chairperson mentioned the fund ( dont even get me started on my chair!!)


i will have to find out more about the family, but i think they speak little english and thats why someone else contacted us.


i am going to look into (begin writing) a policy to cover this, and inform parents as well as committee about how and when it should be used.


thanks for your help. ruthie

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