Cost of Living Support

We know that times are extremely difficult for many of our families at the moment. If you’re struggling with your finances, please get in touch to let us know, as there may be things we can suggest which will help.

Contact the Citizens Advice Bureau

You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get support from your local CAB, you just need to be a resident of the local area. The CAB can help you with:

  • Getting benefits or organising other financial support
  • Accessing support for essential costs (food, bills, rent)

Visit the Citizens Advice website or contact your local branch to book an appointment.

Citizens Advice Hackney is at 300 Mare Street, London, E8 1HE

Telephone: 020 8525 6350  

Check you’re paying the right amount of tax

Make sure you’re on the right tax code. If you aren’t you might be due a refund. Use the Money Saving Expert’s free tax code calculator to find out.

Claim any benefits you’re entitled to

Use 1 of these benefits calculators to determine whether there are any benefits you could be claiming:

You may be able to get benefits paid early if you need cash urgently – this is known as ‘a short-term benefit advance’. You will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) office that is dealing with your claim.

Check you’ve received all the government’s cost-of-living payments

The government’s cost-of-living payments are available for those receiving certain benefits or tax credits. You don’t need to apply for these – if you’re eligible the money should go straight into your account.

If you think you’re due a payment but haven’t received one, report a missing payment to the government.

Be aware of scams! If you receive any emails, texts or phone calls asking you to fill in an application form or asking for your bank details to receive a cost-of-living payment, do not talk to them or send a reply. Get more information on cost-of-living scams on the Money Saving Expert’s website.

Find out what help you can get with your energy bills

Take a look at these resources from the British Gas Energy Trust and the Money Saving Expert.

  • De Beauvoir Heat Exchange – a fund set up by the De Beauvoir Association. People struggling with energy bills can apply via Citizens Advice to receive fuel vouchers from the fund. Find out more about the fund / how people can apply to it.

Claim a council tax reduction

You can claim a reduction of up to £80 a month on your Council Tax bill if you are experiencing financial difficulties or on a low income.

You can make a claim by visiting Council tax reduction claim, or call 0208 356 3399.

People claiming Universal Credit need to apply separately for council tax reduction. 

Check if your child is entitled to free school meals (FSM)

If your child is eligible for Free School Meals you need to register them. This will allow them to get a free meal at school, and we’ll get extra funding (known as the pupil premium) to support your child’s learning.

Go to this government website to check if your child is eligible. If they are, or if you’re not sure, pop into the office and ask Karen or Hanaa.

See what other support you can get from Hackney

Hackney have schemes available that might be eligible for, including:

Get free or low-cost food

If you’re worried about not having enough food to feed your family, you’re not alone. There are
a number of places offering support.

  • If you have a child under 4, and meet the eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to healthy start food vouchers
  • Hackney Foodbank can be contacted on 0207 254 2464 (Monday-Friday 10am-2pm). Call Hackney Council on 0208 356 3111 if you would like to be referred to the foodbank.
  • Use food waste apps and websites like Olio (for free food and household items from your local community), Too Good To Go (for low-cost food from local restaurants), or Low Price Foods (food that has passed its best before date, but is still safe to eat)
  • Get more tips on free and cheap meals from Which

Low Cost Community Food Shops

These shops do not provide vouchers but food at a low cost for a minimum contribution:

  • Woodberry Aid - 24 Bouverie Road, London, N16 OAJ - Tuesday 12pm to 2.30pm only
  • N16 Community shop - Catholic Church our Lady of Good Counsel, Unit A, Hartingtons Court, Coster Avenue, London, N4 2WQ - Friday 12pm to 2pm only

Organisations who can Issue Food Vouchers

Replace or repair household items at a low cost or for free

Check if you can get broken household goods replaced or repaired by your local community.

Find a warm space to beat the chill

Some community spaces open their doors to provide a safe and warm space for a few hours. Many also offer hot drinks and wifi.

Find a warm bank on:

  • Warm Welcome
  • Warm Spaces
  • Warm Mondays – in the church hall at Our Lady and St Joseph’s Church Kingsland, N1 4AG. Warm space for people to go if they need to save money on bills, each Monday 10-4; all welcome. The lead organiser is Jamila Daley-Jeffers, jamila@olsj.org
  • Warm Wednesdays – at St Peter de Beauvoir Church, N1 4DA; each Wednesday 10-4.45pm. As with OLSJ, warm space for people to go, all welcome. Free soup lunch at 12. We are also offering to run a homework after school hours. I am leading the organisation of this and attach a leaflet with more details.

Mental health support

If you are struggling with your mental health during this time contact the Neighbourhood Mental Health Team for non-urgent support. Call 020 3222 8003 between Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or email elft.CHneighbourhoodMHteams@nhs.net to arrange a call back from their team in the next few days.

For help in a crisis contact:

  • NHS 111 - Call for help if you have an urgent medical problem and unsure of what to do – telephone 111
  • City & Hackney 24hr Crisis Line - For people of any age who requires urgent help with their mental health – telephone 0800 073 0006
  • Crisis Cafe - Drop in for a cuppa in a safe and supportive space when struggling or not coping with life. Open 6pm to 9pm, Monday to Friday; 12pm to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday – telephone 07393 762 366.

Support with debt or rent arrears

If you are struggling with debt or rent arrears do not be tempted to approach a loan shark or take a payday loan. Hackney Council can help you manage your accounts and help and advise on benefits and dealing with debt. If you are struggling, contact us as soon as possible, on 0208 356 3100.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax and have difficulties managing debts, call Hackney Council on 020 8356 3154

You can speak to a completely independent organisation by visiting Money Helper or calling 0800 138 7777 for free, confidential advice.