Cost of living
Support with the cost of living
The cost of living crisis is the biggest issue facing our country at the moment. With food prices increasing, heating bills going up and taxes rising, I know this is a very difficult time for many families in Hampstead and Kilburn and across the country.
If you are struggling to keep up with rising costs, angry about the lack of help, or are confused about what support is available to you: you are not alone.
If you do need help with the cost of living crisis, I have set up this page to signpost some of the available support and advice from some fantastic organisations. I am of course pushing the Government to provide much more support for families during this crisis, but I hope this page will be helpful in explaining some of the support that is currently available.
If there is anything I can do to help or if you have any questions – or if you help to run or know of any organisations which should be added to this list – please email me at email@example.com.
Government Help for Households: https://helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk/
Brent Council cost of living help is facilitated through the Brent Resident Support Fund (RSF), which is a discretionary support fund available to Brent residents who are in financial difficulties, for example struggling with food, utility bills and other household essentials. Find out more here.
Camden Council’s website has listed a range of options depending on the type of support you need. Find out more here.
Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert has a cost of living help page here: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/budgeting-debt-help/
Check what benefits you can get: You may be able to claim benefits or increase your current benefits if you are of working age and on a low income, sick or disabled, of state pension age and on a low income, a carer or responsible for children. Find out more here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-benefits-can-i-get/
Get your benefits early: Most benefits can be paid early. This is a ‘short term benefit advance’. A small amount will be taken off future payments to pay it back – usually for 12 weeks. To ask for an advance, contact the DWP office that’s dealing with your benefit claim. You can find their contact details on any letter or email you’ve had from them.
Energy and household bills
British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust which helps families struggling with money and energy debt. They can provide free support to make sure you’re getting the support and benefits you’re entitled to and run a direct access energy debt programme. For more information visit: www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk
Energy Saving Trust work to help save money on household bills: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
Heat the Human, not the Home have tips on keeping yourself warm: www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/heat-the-human-not-the-home-save-energy
Brent Food Bank: https://brent.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/
If you have not been referred to Brent Foodbank before, you can visit Brent Hubs who are based at libraries across Brent. Their advisors can provide support with benefits, housing, debt etc, as well as issue you a food bank voucher code if appropriate. For details of their drop-in service, just visit Brent Hubs
You can also contact the national Help Through Hardship line: 0808 208 2138 (free phone number 9am – 5pm)
Camden Food Bank: https://camden.foodbank.org.uk/
Please call 0300 330 1157 to speak to Camden Citizens Advice Bureau, a referral agency partner of Camden Foodbank, who will be able to issue you with a voucher if necessary.
The Government page on Help for Families can be found here.
National Childbirth Trust: Provides free advice and guidance for expecting mothers or new mothers: https://www.nct.org.uk/
Hopscotch Women’s Centre offers advice and advocacy for women experiencing domestic abuse, and general benefits advice: visit https://hopscotchuk.org/ or call them on 020 7388 8198.
Healthy Start Scheme: If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help buy healthy food and milk. You’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops to buy items such as: milk; fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables; instant formula milk; Healthy Start vitamins. For more information visit: www.healthystart.nhs.uk
Sure Start Maternity Grant: A one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. You usually qualify if you are having your first child, or if you are expecting a multiple birth, and if you or your partner receive certain benefits. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/sure-start-maternity-grant
Tax Free Childcare: You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will pay in £2 to use to pay your provider. You can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you’re eligible for both. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare
Bills and costs
Broadband ‘social tariffs’. If you are on certain benefits, you may be entitled to cheaper broadband. Many companies offer these social tariffs, but they are not well advertised. For more information visit: www.moneysavingexpert.com/compare-broadband-deals/broadband-social-tariffs
Railcards. There are several different railcards available, they usually cut a third off the bill and most cost £30 a year. For more information visit: www.railcard.co.uk
Advice4Renters is a local organisation which offers support and legal advice to people living in private rented accommodation: https://adviceforrenters.org/get-support
If you’re struggling with debt or with managing your finances, there are several local and national organisations who can provide a variety of free help, advice and support:
Brent Advice Matters: https://www.bam.org.uk/
Debt Free London: https://debtfree.london/
National Debtline: https://www.nationaldebtline.org/
Debt Advice Foundation: https://www.debtadvicefoundation.org/
The Government Cost of Living Support factsheet can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-living-support/cost-of-living-support-factsheet-26-may-2022
Turn2Us is a national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially. They have a Benefits Calculator, which takes less than 10 minutes to complete and it will tell you which means-tested benefits you may be entitled to, a Grant Search and a Helpline. For more information visit: www.turn2us.org.uk
Money Saving Expert can help with advice on making savings at www.moneysavingexpert.com
Step Change Debt Charity supports those struggling with debt. For more information visit: www.stepchange.org or call 0800 138 1111
MoneyHelper offers free support in managing your money. For more information visit: www.moneyhelper.org.uk or call 0800 011 3797
Mental health support
If you require urgent mental health support please call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a reply within 24 hours. They also offer non-urgent offer confidential support which can be found here: https://www.samaritans.org/
If you would prefer to get help via text, text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text “YM” if you’re under 19. You can see more information here: https://giveusashout.org/
Mental Health Camden. This website provides a search directory of many support services in Camden to make it easier to find the support that is right for you: https://www.mentalhealthcamden.co.uk/whats-available
Brent Council’s Website provides information about some support services and further advice that may be useful: https://www.brent.gov.uk/adult-social-care/health-and-wellbeing/promoting-mental-wellbeing
Beat are an eating disorder charity who can be contacted online at https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/ or you can call their helpline at 0808 801 0677
Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also provide advice on how to cope during a crisis: https://www.mind.org.uk/need-urgent-help/what-can-i-do-to-help-myself-cope/
Youngs Minds are a UK wide mental health charity providing support for young people. Their website which also includes useful information for parents can be found here: https://www.youngminds.org.uk/