Cost of living support

Countries around the world are facing rising goods and energy prices, inflation and cost of living pressures. The rising cost of living is affecting everybody in different ways. The government is providing £37 billion this year to help households combat the rising cost of living. See what cost of living support you could be eligible for.

What the council can help with

Housing Benefit - is money you may be able to claim to help pay the rent for your home.

You can make a claim if you have reached state pension age, have a low income from your pensions, benefits or work, including self-employment, and have less than £16,000 in savings. To make a claim visit Housing Benefit.

Council Tax Support - is a benefit to help some people pay their council tax.

You should apply straightaway if you think you are eligible for council tax support as it is not always possible to backdate payments. To learn more about this and make a claim, visit Council Tax Support.

Discretionary Housing Payments - If you have been awarded housing benefit, but the award is less than your eligible rent or council tax, and you are finding it difficult to make up the shortfall, you may be entitled to some extra help.

The council can award a discretionary housing payment (DHP) where someone needs extra help.

For more on DHP’s and on how to apply, please visit Discretionary Housing Payments.

Homelessness - If you can't meet your mortgage repayment and are starting to fall behind, it is important that you contact your lender as soon as possible. You can also get free independent advice and information from Housing Services at Havant Borough Council about how to keep your home.

Havant Borough Council has a legal duty to help people who are homeless or about to lose their home. If you have no home or have been asked to leave your current home within 28 days, our Housing options team can provide you with help and support.

Help from Hampshire County Council

The Connect4Communities programme

The Connect4Communities programme (funded by the Department for Work and Pensions Household Support Fund) helps support those most in need with significantly rising living costs, particularly families with children and pensioners who would otherwise struggle with energy, food and water bills.

Community Pantries

Community pantries provide groceries at a lower cost than supermarkets or shops, offering a range of fresh, frozen and general foods which will change on a weekly basis.

There are now 19 community pantries that have been set up across Hampshire providing access to discounted food.

Support for Utility Costs

Funds have been allocated to support the most vulnerable households in Hampshire with their fuel costs. Families with children on low incomes, pensioners and single householders on fixed incomes will be able to access direct financial support to pay gas, water and/or electricity bills.

This will be available through the local Citizens Advice Service in each locality alongside broader support and advice.

More information about support for utility costs will be available from your local Citizens Advice office.

National Support Schemes

Funding towards childcare costs

Tax-Free Childcare can be used to pay for holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, and other approved childcare schemes. It is available to families with children up to the age of 11, or 17 if their child has a disability. The government will pay 20% of childcare costs up to a value of £2,000 per child per year (£4,000 for disabled children). To find out more - and to check you are eligible - visit the government's Help for Households site.

Cost of Living

There are extra payments to help with the cost of living if you're entitled to certain benefits or tax credits, including the Disability Cost of Living Payment, Pensioner Cost of Living Payment and more. To find out if you're eligible and how to apply visit the Cost of Living Payment section on the Gov.uk website.

Support for mortgage interest

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on your mortgage, loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home. This help is called Support for Mortgage Interest. Visit the Support for Mortgage Interest section on the Gov.uk website to find out if you are eligible and for information on how to apply.

Energy bills national support scheme

Over the past year, global energy prices have soared which has led to an unprecedented rise in household energy bills. This winter millions of households across the UK will receive non-repayable discounts on their energy bills. Households will start receiving £400 off energy bills from October, with the discount made in installments to help families throughout the winter period. To find out if you are eligible for the scheme and how the discount will be applied, visit the Energy Bills Support Scheme section on the Gov.uk website.

Energy Bill Relief Scheme

The new Government Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices for all non-domestic customers (including all UK businesses, the voluntary sector like charities and the public sector such as schools and hospitals).

The announcement follows the launch of the Energy Price Guarantee for households in Great Britain, under which a typical household will pay on average £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years from 1 October 2022.

This support will be equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households.

The savings will be first seen in October bills, which are typically received in November.

As with the Energy Price Guarantee for households, customers do not need to take action or apply to the scheme to access the support.

Support (in the form of a p/kWh discount) will automatically be applied to bills.

To administer support, the Government has set a Supported Wholesale Price – expected to be £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas, less than half the wholesale prices anticipated this winter – which is a discounted price per unit of gas and electricity.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space, officially called the Debt Respite Scheme, is a government scheme that could help relieve some of the pressure and stress caused by being in debt.

It's a free scheme, launched by the Government on 4 May 2021. If you pass the eligibility checks, your creditors won't be able to add interest or fees to your debts, or take enforcement action, for 60 days. You'll still need to keep making your regular payments if you can afford to. For more details visit the Breathing Space section on the gov.uk website.

Help from other agencies and organisations

Sometimes when your circumstances change - for example you work less hours, become sick, have high bills to pay or have a relationship breakdown - life seems impossible. Don't let your debt problems get on top of you. We strongly recommended that you seek advice as soon as possible. A list of helpful organisations is available below.

Money Advice Service

You should be aware that there are other companies that charge a fee for managing your debts. It is your responsibility to check the fees that may be charged before asking those companies to act on your behalf.

Food Banks

There are a range of food banks across the borough.  A food bank is a non-profitable charitable organisation that can help distribute food to those who have difficulties in purchasing enough to avoid hunger. They may also offer other items, such as toiletries and household supplies.

Food banks are open across the borough for those who need them. A full list of sites are available on the Havant Borough Council website.

Food pantries

Food pantries are to help family budgets go further. They provide groceries at a lower cost than supermarkets or shops, offering a range of fresh, frozen and general foods which will change on a weekly basis. They is a weekly subscription of £5.

Help with clothing

Baby Basics Portsmouth & Havant

Please email Diane Urquhart on di.urquhart@family.church or call 0300 302 0090.

Hayling Lions

The Lions Shop offers free school uniforms

Please visit their website for more information.

Mental health support

If you need immediate mental health support, please contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline on 116 123.

If you are concerned that someone’s safety or life is in imminent danger, please call 999 immediately.

An online guide of local mental health services providing advice on financial support, bereavement, abuse and more is available on the Havant Borough Council website.

Warm and welcoming spaces

Places in the borough where you can go to keep warm and socialise.

The Warm Welcome Campaign

The Warm Welcome Campaign exists to support and champion the community response to the cost-of-living crisis. Working with partners of all kinds, we want to equip thousands of organisations to provide a warm welcome to everyone who might need it this winter. Enter your postcode on their website to find your nearest warm space. www.warmwelcome.uk/#find-a-space

Age Concern Hampshire

Age Concern Hampshire are offering Winter Warmer Clubs from their Malmesbury Lawn Care and Wellbeing Centre in Havant.

They also have a Form Filling service to help older residents (50+) apply for benefits and other support.

Churches

This is a warm space for people in Havant, Leigh Park and West Leigh which is open in November and December.

Monday at St Faith’s Church, Pallant Centre Havant between 12.00pm till 2.00pm for tea, coffee, biscuits, soup.

Tuesday at St Alban’s Church, Bartons Road, West Leigh between 10.30am till 1.00pm for tea, coffee, biscuits, soup.

Thursdays at St Joseph’s Church, West Street, Havant at 6.30pm for a free meal.

Friday at St Nicholas, Belmont Grove, Bedhampton between 10.30am till 12.30pm for tea, coffee and cake.

Saturday at Havant URC, North Street, Havant between 10.30am till 1.00pm for tea, coffee, biscuits and soup.

You will get a warm welcome as well as a warm space. Plus there will be people to chat with a cup of tea or coffee.

The Bridge Church

Debt advice and holiday food bank

Please visit their website for more information.

Cowplain Church

    Offer a warm space Monday's and Friday's 10am til 4pm https://cowplainchurchportsmouth.co.uk/

    Emsworth

    Hot drinks and a warm welcome at various locations around the Emsworth area.

    Venues include Emsworth Baptist Church, Emsworth Community Centre, Emsworth Pastoral Centre, New Life Church, St James Parish Hall, Waterside URC Church Westbourne Parish Hall.

    Details of days and times are available here www.warblingtonwithemsworth.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Emsworth-Warm...

    Heart of the Park

    Heart of the Park Community Centre, Dunsbury Way, Leigh Park, PO9 5BG Mon – Thursday 9:30am – 2.30pm Offering a warm space to anybody who needs a free hot meal, tea and coffee.

    Help and advice is also on hand, with access to books, board games and some planned activities. heartofthepark@cfirst.org.uk or call 023 9247 6382

    Horizon Leisure Centres

    At Horizon Leisure Centre you are welcome to their café with no expectation to purchase anything. Open from Monday to Friday between 6am to 10:30pm. As well as Saturday and Sunday between 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

    Leigh Park Baptist Church

    They have partnered with Warmwelcome.uk to host free warm spaces for the winter. The groups that are run at Leigh Park Baptist Church (LPBC) are free safe spaces where you will find a warm welcome and a hot drink.

    Their weekly groups are as follows:

    • Tuesday Saplings at LPBC (Toddlers and Carers) 10am to 11.15am (term time)
    • Wednesday Renew 9am to 11.30am (at the Hub Cafe)
    • Sundays Renew 4pm to 6pm

    Our other youth sessions are on these days:

    • Tuesdays RenewYouth 6.30pm to 8pm
    • Fridays Connect 7pm to 8.15pm (term time)

    Hampshire Libraries

    Hampshire County Council is making the most of the county’s library network by offering warm and welcoming spaces for anyone needing a place to spend some time, connect with others, or to work or study.

    Hampshire Libraries offer a range of free or low-cost resources, events, activities and learning opportunities, and provides a safe and inclusive community space for everyone, with access to free WiFi.

    Ways to use your library during the cost-of-living crisis – Hampshire Libraries