Cost of Living Support

We know that times are difficult at the moment, and many people are worried about rising costs. This page gives practical advice and links to local and national organisations and charities that may be able to help.

STEP 1: WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

I suddenly have no money

For example:

  • You've lost your job or your hours have been reduced
  • You've lost money or are facing unexpected expenses
  • You've experienced a disaster (e.g. flood or fire)
  • You've had a relationship breakdown
  • Money has stopped coming in (e.g. failed a medical)
  • You've been sanctioned - see option 5

See options 1 2 5 6

My money doesn’t stretch far enough

For example:

  • You're having to decide between food/fuel/mobile credit
  • You're on a low income or zero hours contract
  • Your statutory sick pay is too low to cover costs
  • You're facing redundancy
  • You're not sure if you're eligible for support
  • You've had a recent change of circumstance (e.g. new baby/bereavement/illness/breakup)

See option 2

I have debt

For example:

  • Rent or Council Tax arrears
  • Gas or electricity
  • Credit or store cards
  • Personal loans and overdrafts
  • You owe money to friends and family
  • Benefit repayments

See option 3

I am waiting on a benefit payment / decision

For example:

  • You've made a new claim for benefit
  • Your benefit payment is delayed
  • You're waiting for a benefit decision

See option 4

STEP 2: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OPTIONS?

Council Support Schemes

People on low incomes may be eligible for Housing BenefitDiscretionary Housing Payments and Council Tax Support from Southwark Council.

Southwark Council also offers emergency grants through its Southwark Emergency Support Scheme and Hardship Fund, as well as a Rent Arrears Fund for tenants who are threatened with eviction or homelessness due to rent arrears.

Find out more at www.southwark.gov.uk/benefits-and-support

Maximise Your Income

Anyone who is struggling financially can get a benefit check and speak to an advisor for free and confidential advice. 

benefit check can ensure that you are receiving all the money you’re entitled to, especially if your circumstances have changed recently.

Speaking to an advisor could also help you find cheaper deals on things like gas and electricity and make sure you are not missing out on options including school clothing grants or free school meals.

Debt Advice

Debt can happen to anyone. Free advice and support can help you find ways to manage your debts and reduce how much you pay each month.

Benefit Advance

If you have made a new claim for benefit and are in financial hardship while you wait for your first payment, you may be able to get an advance to afford things like rent or food. It’s important to get advice before taking out an advance. Benefit advances must be paid back, and the money will be taken from your future benefit payments (a loan).

Hardship Payment

If you have been sanctioned, you may be able to request a hardship payment from the Jobcentre. Hardship payments are not always paid immediately, and they are not available to everyone.

Hardship payments of Universal Credit need to be paid back, but hardship payments of Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance do not.

Challenge a Decision

You can challenge a benefit decision if your benefit has been stopped/sanctioned/reduced/ refused or you have been overpaid. Most benefit decisions need to be challenged within one month.

STEP 3: WHERE CAN I GET HELP?

Citizens Advice Southwark

Citizens Advice Southwark provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to help people resolve their problems with money, housing, employment, certain legal issues, and much more besides. They have offices in Bermondsey, Peckham and Walworth

🏒 97 Peckham High Street, SE15 5RS (every day from 10am – 3pm)

🏒 8 Market Place, Southwark Park Road, SE16 3UQ (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am – 3pm)

🏒 6-8 Westmoreland Road, Walworth, SE17 2AY (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am – 3pm)

πŸ“ž 0808 278 7849

🌍 www.citizensadvicesouthwark.org.uk/

Help with options 1 2 3 4 5 6

Southwark Council’s Cost of Living Support

Southwark Council has set up a Cost of Living Support page with information about support that the council can provide.

πŸ“ž 0207 525 2434

🌍 www.southwark.gov.uk/benefits-and-support/cost-of-living-support

Help with option 1

StepChange

StepChange is a debt charity which provides help to people with debt problems to take back control of their finances and their lives.

πŸ“ž 0800 138 1111

🌍 www.stepchange.org

Help with option 3

OTHER ADVICE AND SUPPORT AVAILABLE

Food Advice and Support

Southwark Food Action Alliance (SFAA)

The SFAA is a group of local organisations that care about good food for all in the borough. Many of its members provide food support to Southwark residents. The SFAA website has information on low-cost recipes and maps showing where food support services are located in Southwark.

🌍 www.southwarkfoodactionalliance.co.uk

Food Pantries

There are a range of food pantries in Southwark. These are membership food shops that can help your money go further, by providing access to subsidised groceries.

Peckham Pantry, St. Luke’s Church, Chandler Way, SE15 6DT (Wednesday from 11am–2pm; Β£4.50 per shop for groceries to the value of Β£15)
πŸ“ž 020 7277 7075 / πŸŒ www.pecan.org.uk/peckham-pantry / πŸ“§ pantry@pecan.org.uk

Peckham Pantry, 49-53 Peckham Park Road, SE15 (Monday 9am–4pm, Tuesday 11am–4pm, Wednesday 9am–4pm, Thursday 10am–7pm, Friday 9am–4pm, Saturday 9am–3pm; Β£4.50 per shop for groceries to the value of Β£15)
πŸ“ž 020 7277 7075 / πŸŒ www.pecan.org.uk/peckham-pantry / πŸ“§ pantry@pecan.org.uk

Borough Food Coop, St. George the Martyr Church, Borough High Street, SE1 1JA (Tuesday 12-3pm, Thursday 10–1:30pm, Saturday 1pm–3.30pm; membership is flexible – so you only pay Β£4.50 when you come)
πŸ“ž 020 7357 7331 / 🌍 www.boroughfoodcooperative.co.uk / πŸ“§ food@stgeorge-themartyr.co.uk

Paxton Pantry, Unit 32, Seeley Drive, SE21 8QR (Tuesday 12pm-4pm; weekly subscription of Β£4.50 for a weekly food shop)
🌍 www.facebook.com/pgtbPantry / πŸ“§ pantry@pgtimebank.org

Love North Southwark Food Pantry, Cherry Garden Hill, Jamaica Road, SE16 4RT (Tuesday to Thursday 11am-1pm)
Contact Kathy Heather at πŸ“ž 07730 465160 or πŸ“§ lovenorthsouthwark@outlook.com

Community Fridges

There are five community fridges in Southwark. These are spaces that bring people together to eat, connect, learn new skills and reduce food waste. Local people can share food, including surplus from supermarkets, local food businesses, producers, households and gardens.

  • Camberwell Community Fridge, Albrighton Community Centre, Albrighton Road, SE22 8AH
  • Walworth Living Room Community Fridge, 80 Tatum Street, SE17 1QR
  • The Borough Free Fridge, Borough High Street, SE1 1JA
  • Make Bermondsey Better, 4-5 Slippers Place Gataker Street, SE16 2EN
  • RJ4All Community Fridge, RJ4All Rotherhithe Community Centre, 30 Plough Way, SE16 2LJ

Healthy Start Vouchers

To help buy fruit, vegetables and milk if you’re on a low income, pregnant or have a child under 4. You can get vouchers for up to Β£4.50 per week which can be used to buy fruit, vegetables, pulses, cow’s milk, and infant formula.

πŸ“ž 0345 607 6823 / πŸŒ www.healthystart.nhs.uk

Energy Advice and Support

Ofcom

Lists the cheaper broadband and phone packages (social tariffs) available.

🌍 www.ofcom.org.uk

You can also ask your energy supplier for a grant or hardship fund:

  • British Gas Energy Grants: wwwbritishgasenergytrust.org.uk/grants-available
  • EDF Energy Customer Support Fund: www.edfenergy.com/for-home/help-support/energy-bill-debt-advice
  • E.ON Energy Efficiency Grants: www.eonenergy.com/energy-efficiency-grants.html
  • E.ON Next Energy Fund: www.eonnextenergyfund.com/
  • Octopus Energy β€œOcto Assist Fund”: octopus.energy/blog/struggling-to-pay/
  • Ovo Energy Payment Support: www.ovoenergy.com/payment-support
  • Scottish Power Hardship Fund: community.scottishpower.co.uk/t5/Extra-Help/Hardship-Fund/ta-p/53

Housing and Employment Advice and Support

Shelter

Shelter provide free housing advice.

πŸ“ž 0808 800 4444 / πŸŒ www.england.shelter.org.uk

Cambridge House Law Centre

The Cambridge House Law Centre provides legal advice, assistance and representation for issues regarding employment, housing and welfare benefits.

πŸ“ž 0207 358 7025 / πŸŒ www.ch1889/prg/law-centre / πŸ“§ lawcentre@ch1889.org

Southwark Works

Southwark Works is a free employment support service, offering advice to unemployed people, those in insecure employment and on a number of other issues.

🏒 376 Walworth Road, SE17 2NG (Monday-Friday, 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm)

πŸ“ž 0800 052 0540 / πŸŒ www.southwarkworks.com / πŸ“§ info@southwarkworks.gov.uk

Jobcentre Plus

If you’re seeking work, you may be able to get six months worth of broadband through your local Jobcentre Plus.

πŸ“ž 0800 169 0190 / πŸŒ www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus

Financial Advice and Support

Turn2Us

Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through its partner organisations. It has a Benefits Calculator which will tell you which means-tested benefits you may be entitled to, including tax credits. It also has a Grants Search to help you look for funds that might be able to give you a grant or other types of help.

πŸ“ž 0808 802 2000 / πŸŒ www.turn2us.org.uk / benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk / grants-search.turn2us.org.uk / 

MoneyHelper

Advice to help improve your finances

πŸ“ž 0800 138 7777 / πŸŒ www.moneyhelper.org.uk

DebtFree London

DebtFree London supports Londoners with all types of money worries - from rent and council tax arrears, to credit card and catalogue debt. They work with clients to prioritise their bills and debts, helping them to write letters and advocating on their behalf.

πŸ“ž 0800 808 5700 / πŸŒ debtfree.london

Mary Minet Trust

The Mary Minet Trust is a small local grant making charity which awards grants on average of Β£250-Β£300 to older adults or children and adults with a disability or illness in Southwark and Lambeth.

Email for application and consent form: πŸ“§ admin@maryminettrust.org.uk

St George the Martyr Charity

St George the Martyr Charity provides grants for persons in hardship, need or distress living in the former Metropolitan Borough of Southwark (roughly Borough, Bankside, Walworth and
Newington). Applicants must have low income, with household savings under Β£8,000.

πŸ“ž 020 7407 2994 / πŸŒ www.stgeorgethemartyrcharity.com / πŸ“§ visitor@stgeorge1584.org.uk

Health and Wellbeing Support

Southwark Wellbeing Hub

The Southwark Wellbeing Hub provides information and support to anyone in Southwark who would like to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

🏒 Thames Reach Employment Academy, 29 Peckham Road, SE5 8UA (Monday–Friday 9am–5pm)

πŸ“ž 020 3751 9684 / πŸŒ www.together-uk.org/southwark-wellbeing-hub/contact-the-hub / πŸ“§ southwarkhub@together-uk.org

Support for Older People

Southwark Pensioners Centre

🏒 Southwark Pensioners Centre provides advice and support for those aged over 50.

πŸ“ž 020 7708 4556 / πŸŒ www.southwarkpensioners.org.uk / πŸ“§ advice@southwarkpensioners.org.uk

Age UK Lewisham and Southwark

Age UK provides support and advice for residents over 60 and their families.

πŸ“ž 0207 358 4077 / πŸŒ www.ageuk.org.uk/lewishamandsouthwark / πŸ“§ sail@ageuklands.org.uk

Link Age Southwark

Link Age Southwark is a vibrant local charity providing friendly volunteer support to over 700 older people in Southwark who are feeling lonely or isolated.

🏒 URC, Tell Grove, SE22 8RH

πŸ“ž 020 8299 2623 / πŸŒ www.linkagesouthwark.org / πŸ“§ info@linkagesouthwark.org