Help with the Cost of Living Crisis
Every year thousands of people find themselves in crisis. The key thing is that you take action now and reach out to get the help you need.
This webpage will take you through some of the first steps that you will need to complete and the links for the key organisations that can help people in your situation.
It’s important to know your rights and responsibilities at work if you are employed, self-employed or a volunteer.
Citizen’s Advice have a useful website where you can check your rights, covid related advice or for help if you feel you have been unfairly treated.
If you need further assistance, you can contact Citizens Advice South Somerset.
If you are unable to work due to covid-19, you may find further information on the Governments website.
You may also be eligible for a Test and Trace Isolation payment. Find further information including the eligibility criteria for the local discretionary scheme.
It can be really overwhelming if you're taking the first steps in tackling your debt or money issue.
Find out more about the options available to you, including prioritising your debts, maximising your income and how to deal with your creditors.
It can often help to look at what money you have coming in, what you're spending, and where you might be able to cut costs.
Planning a budget can really help you in taking control of your finances and getting your situation back on track.
Citizen’s Advice has information to help you do this.
Somerset Household Support Fund
The Household Support Fund is designed to provide short-term urgent financial help to Somerset residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as buying food, paying for energy and water bills and other essential household items such as beds and white goods and is administered by Somerset County Council.
To apply, you must:
- Live in the County of Somerset
- Be over the age of 16 and living independently of parents/carers
- Not have sufficient money to pay for essentials
- Provide proof of your identity
Local Assistance Scheme
The Local Assistance Scheme does not provide cash or loans, but it can help you to get basic essentials such as basic equipment for heating or cooking, help to make an essential unexpected journey, food parcels etc.
The scheme can be accessed through Citizen’s Advice South Somerset on behalf of Somerset County Council.
You must meet the following conditions:
- That you are on a low income (normally means-tested benefits)
- That you do not have enough money to buy what you need
- That you have tried other sources of help first and these have not been able to help you. For example, a short term benefits advance, a budgeting loan, family or friends
- That you apply to the advice bureau in the district of Somerset you live in
Discretionary Housing Payment or Council Tax Hardship Payment
If you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit including the housing element, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment or Council Tax Hardship Payment. You can apply online, however, we would strongly recommend that you get help to apply from an advice agency as not only will this increase the likelihood of an award, it will ensure that you get appropriate advice about your situation.
The Asda Foundation Cost Of Living Grants - Grants of between £500 and £2,000 are available to local community organisations across the UK to cover core running costs, food for people struggling with the cost of living and Warm Banks, providing a comfortable place for people to go who are unable to heat their homes. Find out more on Asda Foundation Grants
Turn 2 Us -There are may be some grants that you could be eligible due to your occupation, faith or ex armed forces etc. Visit Turn 2 Us Grant search to see what might be available to you.
If you are of pensionable age you may be able to get financial assistance from AgeUK Somerset.
Credit Union may be able to assist you if you have a one off expense, e.g. white goods or vehicle costs
We would strongly recommend you take advice prior to taking out any form of credit.
If you’re finding it difficult or overwhelming to deal with these issues, you can get help with this from the following agencies:
The Asda Foundation Cost Of Living Grants
Grants of between £500 and £2,000 are available to local community organisations across the UK to cover core running costs, food for people struggling with the cost of living and Warm Banks, providing a comfortable place for people to go who are unable to heat their homes. Find out more on Asda Foundation Grants
Turn 2 Us
There are may be some grants that you could be eligible due to your occupation, faith or ex armed forces etc. Visit Turn 2 Us Grant search to see what might be available to you.
If you are receiving benefits and you need help or advice on what you might be eligible to claim, you may be able to find some useful information using the links below:
If you need further support, guidance or if you think your benefit decision is wrong, the following agencies will be able to advise you specifically on your individual case:
If you have claimed PIP, ESA or Universal Credit and you need to attend a medical assessment, you can find information that will help you prepare for this:
Help with energy
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has advice and information on a wide range of energy saving topics. View the website here.
Find out about the Government Council Tax Energy Rebate Scheme and additional discretionary scheme on our dedicated webpage.
Our Environment Team frequently update their website with information on energy saving actions and advice.
Mendip District Council have created a useful list of 15 ways to reduce your fuel bill that are free to do.
We know being worried about losing your home is really stressful. Please visit our Housing page which will provide you with information about what you can do and the local help available. By working together, we can find the best solution available to you.
If you think you’re going to be homeless, contact our housing team straight away on 01935 462462 to make an appointment to see an Officer.
Finding a warm welcome and food support this winter
To help residents in Somerset find practical sources of help over the winter months during the cost-of-living crisis, we have created a map providing information on ‘Warm Welcomes’, Food Banks, Food Pantries and other food projects right across the county.
‘Warm Welcome’ spaces will provide a warm and friendly environment for people to socialise over refreshments and take part in activities where they may be struggling to keep their home warm of who may be feeling lonely or isolated. ‘Warm Welcomes’ will be located in a wide range of community buildings and may also offer free or subsidised hot meals and provide information and other services depending on local circumstances.
To use the map just follow these simple step-by-step instructions to find help near where you live.
- On the left-hand side you will see a drop-down menu. Click the down arrow and you will be able to select the features you want to appear on the map – Warm Welcomes or Food Projects.
- Also on the left-hand side are the zoom in and out buttons (+/-). You can also click and hold on the map to drag it.
- You can also use the search feature in the top right corner to search by postcode
- Once you have found a location you want to get further details about, click on the relevant coloured dot on the map. This will bring up a pop-up on the left-hand side of the map from which you can chose a specific warm place or food project.
- Click on the one you want to know more detail about and this will then bring up all the relevant information for that place such as opening times and contact details. You can copy and paste this information if you want to pass the information on to someone else.
As the map will be regularly updated, please do check back from time to time.
Other useful links