Updated 21 July 2023
Are you looking for useful resources to help those you are supporting?
The cost of living problem is affecting everyone. According to the Office for National Statistics, 9 in 10 adults reported an increase in their cost of living, with nearly a quarter finding it difficult to pay their usual household bills. Given the current climate, your organisation or charity can play its part to support those who are struggling in these financial times.
Do email us if you have any amendments or additions, so we can make this is an active and up-to-date resource for Barnet’s Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector.
Barnet Council has committed to supporting Barnet residents during the cost of living crisis, with Council leader Barry Rawlings pledging to ‘do everything we can’, including a £10m support package to work together with local foodbanks and other community organisations.
You can find lots of helpful resources on Barnet Council’s Cost of Living support page. You may also want to have a look at the Mayor of London’s Hub on Help with the Cost of Living which has further information this topic.
To find out more about how the cost of living is affecting people in London, take a look at the Centre for London’s Levelling-Up London Map, which has statistics on poverty, living costs, education and more across the boroughs. Trust for London has also collated data on all the London boroughs and has created a Poverty and Inequality Profile 2022.
The Resolution Foundation has also shared it’s Living Standards Outlook for 2023, giving insight into what we can expect this year for living standards of people across all income levels.
Here is London Plus’ handy cost of living document, a list of organisations that are supporting Londoners with the cost of living.
Are you finding it difficult to navigate the funding landscape during this time? Take a read of London Funders’ Cost of Living Report about how funders are responding.
Funds Online allows you to search for funding opportunities that may be relevant to you, and is run by the Directory of Social Change.
Warm Welcome is working with organisations to support them in opening their doors so residents can keep warm and don’t need to worry about turning their heating on. They also have a directory of warm spaces all around the country. Paused for summer 2023.
The National Grid has announced a £50 million energy support fund for the next two winters. Charities that provide immediate, emergency financial relief to households struggling with energy costs can apply for funding. More information – National Grid Energy Support Fund for charities.
The Gisela Graham Foundation is a small charity that provides financial support to those in need through providing assistance in specific cases of poverty and poor education. Charities can apply on behalf of someone they support, with grants usually under £10,000. Rolling applications for 2023.
Here’s a helpful blog post by NPC: How to talk to funders about the cost of living crisis, which has information on the conversations you should be having with your existing funders and donors in attempt to get further support.
The NCVO has some useful guidance on where to find cost of living support for charities and community interest groups.
Make sure to sign up for Barnet Together’s General Newsletter for fortnightly funding and grant updates and our Environmental Newsletter which contains specific funding opportunities for eco-friendly projects.
Financial support for Individuals
The government has a variety of ways to support people who are being hit hardest by the cost of living crisis: from helping with energy bills to supporting pensioners. Find out more information about how the government is helping with the cost of living crisis. You can also look at the government’s Help for Households page to see consumer discounts.
The Barnet Resident Support Fund (BRSF) provides financial support for Barnet residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as paying for food, energy bills and other living costs. To apply for the BRSF you must meet the relevant criteria for where you live, your financial situation and your age.
BOOST are delivering Household Support grants for Adults over 18 but under 54, to help with utility bills and food costs as well as wider essentials. Please call BOOST and ask for Household Support Fund Team on 020 8359 2442 or email Barnet BOOST. [See below for support for those aged 55+].
The Cosaraf Charitable Foundation’s Hardship Fund provides grants of up to £2,000 per annum, but only in exceptional circumstances will individual grants exceed £500. They fund things like household items, basic living expenses and work or education expenses.
Turn2Us’ grants checker can help you find local charities and grants who may be able to provide financial support based on your location, age and gender. You can use Simple Energy Advice’s postcode search function to see what grants or schemes are running in your local area.
Citizens Advice’s handy cost of living page lists extra financial support individuals might be eligible for.
BeLifted run sessions every Tuesday for women in debt at SBWA in East Finchley. To book a session, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Work Rights Centre’s useful Cost of Living resource has information on energy bills, childcare, pensions and much more.
Additional Financial support for elderly people
Pension Credit is available for people of Pension age on a low income if they need extra money to help with your living costs. Phone number: 0800 731 0469
Friends of the Elderly helps people of state pension age on low incomes and with little savings (less than £4,000). The grants are up to £400. To apply, use the online application form. Read guidelines before applying.
Age UK Barnet’s Household Support grants to support Barnet residents of pensionable age and those aged 55+ with long term health conditions, with utility bills and food costs as well as wider essentials. If you or someone you know is facing financial hardship, please call Age UK Barnet on 0208 203 5040 and ask for the Household Support team or email firstname.lastname@example.org. [For Adults over 18 but under 54 please call BOOST and ask for Household Support Fund Team on 020 8359 2442 or email Barnet BOOST.]
The government ran the Energy Bill Support Scheme from October 2022 – April 2023, saving £400 for residents. In addition, from 1st October 2022, the new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ means the typical UK household will pay up to an average of £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years. The most vulnerable UK households will also continue to receive £1,200 of support instalments over the year. From April 1st 2023, the new Energy Bills Discount Scheme will run until 31 March 2024.
Some providers offer an Energy Trust scheme for their account holders to help cover energy arrears and sometimes other essential household items. Those who live in a home supplied by the provider, but are not account holders, can apply for the Further Assistance Payments only. You need to complete a full income and expenditure budget sheet along with proof of your income, give details on how your arrears have built up, eg, due to illness or redundancy, and say how the grant will help you. It can take several weeks to process your claim but can give £1,000+ in support.
The following energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone, not just their own customers: British Gas Energy Trust / EDF Energy Trust / E.on Energy Fund. There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers: Npower Energy Fund, Scottish Power Hardship Fund, OVO Energy Fund, SSE Priority Assistance Fund – check eligibility by calling 0800 072 8616. For other providers or general advice, contact Simple Energy Advice on 0800 444 202 (for England and Wales).
The British Gas Energy Support Fund helps their customers who are struggling to pay energy bills by offering grants and writing off debt between £250 and £1500.
The Warmer Homes programme is a pan-London programme providing free heating, insulation and ventilation improvements for low-income homeowners and private tenants. Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available with funding amounts depending on your existing energy efficiency rating, your tenure and your current fuel type.
Green Doctors London offers free and impartial energy advice to help residents stay warm, save money and live greener. You can access their services online and via telephone or alternatively request a home visit.
During the winter, pensioners can get payments between £100 and £300 to help with the cost of heating bills. Visit the government website to find out more about Pensioner Winter Fuel Payments.
LEAP is a free energy and money saving advice service, and you can check your eligibility and apply online for support. Once you have had a LEAP Energy Advice Service appointment, you may be able to access LEAP’s appliance scheme, an initiative to replace fridges, freezers, washing machines and cookers with more modern, efficient alternatives.
The Warm Spaces initiative allows community-groups and businesses to offer a welcoming place for residents to stay warm and engage with others in the community. Click here to find out how you can offer a Warm Space, or the Warm Spaces that are in Barnet.
Age UK Barnet are also offering Warm Spaces in East Finchely, Finchley Central, Mill Hill and Edgware. Check out Age UK Barnet’s Warm Spaces here. Age UK Barnet are also offering FREE Winter Home Checks, where a member of their team can set heating timers and thermostats, check light bulbs, change winter curtains and assist on draught proofing for residents over 55. To book an appointment call Sasha on 0208 150 0963 or email email@example.com.
Pocket Power is a social enterprise dedicated to putting money back in your pocket. One quick call could save you up to £500 on your energy bills. Find out more about Pocket Power’s mission to save you money here.
Water UK’s website has info on all the water company schemes including referrals to hardship funds and help in applying for direct payment from benefits (Water Direct). If you’re on a meter and a means-tested benefit, and either have three or more children under 19, or someone in the household with a medical condition needing lots of water, you could get help from the WaterSure scheme which caps your bills at the average for your area.
Some providers also offer other special tariffs and/or New Start/Restart (name depends on where you live), a scheme that can match payments or write off some of your debt if you enter an arrears payment plan. Also see the Cut Water Bills guide.
Phone and broadband
If you’re in receipt of income support, income-based ESA, income-based JSA, pension credit or universal credit (and you’ve no earnings), you can get BT’s special basic tariff for around £5/month. If you need broadband as well you can get its Basic+Broadband package which costs £9.95/month including basic line rental for which you get 12GB at up to 17Mb/s. Also check out the Cheap Broadband guide.
If you’re a charity that needs support for digital inclusion programmes, you can apply for free Vodafone SIMs, each loaded with 20GB data a month for six months, plus unlimited calls and texts. Vodafone cannot distribute SIMs to individuals, but do so through charities.
TalkTalk and the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) have a new scheme, available UK-wide to help offer six months’ free broadband. You need to apply for the free broadband via your Jobcentre. If you’re out of work, ask your Jobcentre Plus work coach if you can apply.
Vodafone are offering FREE SIM cards. You can apply through our Barnet Together application form and we will send them to you.
The National Databank provides free sims and mobile data (as well as talk minutes and texts) to people in need via Good Things Foundation’s network of local community partners. Community organisations can apply to access the databank, enabling them to provide data to people in their communities who need it.
Virgin media are offering a broadband deal for Low Income Families who are on Universal Credit. Essential Broadband is a broadband-only package with average speeds of 15Mbps that costs £12.50 a month, and this price will never change for as long as you’re on Universal Credit.
BT Home Essentials – Stay connected with BT low-cost broadband and phone plans are available if you’re on specific benefits, they’re perfect for everything from accessing services to video calls and streaming TV.
The Online Centres Network is working together with Good Things Foundation to run a Device Bank, where organisations can apply to get digital devices to help the people they support, free of charge.
Helpful resources about bills
To help the people you support understand how to make their home more energy-saving, check out the National Energy Action Charity’s Home Energy Checklist.
Read Barnet-based energy broker’s Guest Blog for us on Understanding the current energy market and how to reduce your energy costs.
Check out the Free Insulation and Boilers guide to see if you qualify for help making energy efficient home improvements.
Have a look at the Housing and Energy Grants guide for discounts and grants to help you pay for heating.
Housing & goods
Giving World is providing free business surplus stock, such as clothing, food items, toiletries, cleaning and household products as well as other useful items. Goods can be collected directly from them at their depot in Leicester, or they can arrange delivery at cost – you will only ever pay for transport.
Groundwork’s ReWork team have funding to provide a number of domestic white good appliances, such as fridges, freezers, microwaves and washing machines. These are aimed at vulnerable individuals in the community. To apply, please ask potential beneficiaries to complete this Groundwork ReWork Form.
Barnet Furniture Centre helps low-income families by providing affordable furniture via our two-tier pricing structure for those on benefits.
Trash Nothing is an online platform to find or give away items for free in your local area.
Medici.tv is a free music service that gives you access to hundreds of live events and thousands of high-quality videos of performances of classical and jazz music, opera, ballet and more – all you need is a Barnet Library card!
The Hope Initiative delivers food boxes, toiletries, clothes and vouches to service users who are in need due to ill health, disability, financial hardship, domestic abuse or any other social or economic difficulty.
The Barnet Food Hub support over 20 foodbanks within the borough of Barnet. If you are in need of support from a foodbank, please visit their website to find your closest and how to access it. Not all food banks require a voucher, but you can get vouchers from schools, children’s centres, GPs and pharmacies, Citizen’s Advice and more.
Food Cycle offers free community meals. No referral required and no need to book, simply turn up and enjoy a free hot meal. If there is extra food surplus, guests are welcome to take it home.
The Community Fridge Network connects sites across the UK where local people can share food, including surplus from supermarkets, local food businesses, producers, households and gardens. Find your local community fridge here.
Bread n Butter and Notting Hill Genesis are hosting a series of free cooking workshops to help residents understand the link between nutrition and mood, as well as improve their skills in the kitchen.
Hendon Baptist Church is offering free cooked dinners every Monday to Thursday, 6 – 8pm. Everyone is welcome and there are activities for children. Message Hendon Bapitsit Church on Twitter to book a place for a free cooked meal. Hendon Baptist Church Hall, First Avenue, Hendone, NW4 2RL.
Barnet Council are providing support for people struggling to pay council tax or rent. If you’re on a low income and are having difficulty with either of these things, get in touch with Benefits@Barnet.gov.uk or phone 0208 359 2000 – Extension: 2.
If you currently get certain benefits or tax credits, you might be able to apply for cost of living payments. You don’t need to apply, if you’re eligible, you will automatically receive the payments. Read more here about Cost of Living Payments here.
Residents Support Fund: Immediate financial support for Barnet residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as paying for food, energy bills and other living costs.
Discretionary Housing Payments: Extra support for anyone who is currently in receipt of Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit and requires more help with housing costs.
Council Tax Discretionary Relief: Intended for customers who are suffering from hardship due to exceptional circumstances who require help to meet their Council Tax.
You can apply for all the above in one application form on Barnet’s Grant Approval website.
If you need help with the online application: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 0208 359 4242
Boost can help you if you’re Housing Benefits or Universal Credit is not stretching far enough. Email them at Boost@Barnet.gov.uk or call on 0208 259 2442.
On 25 January 2023, UK Finance issued guidance on ways in which banks and other financial providers can help with the cost of living increase. It includes guidance in relation to paying your mortgage, and indicates that borrowers may be offered one of the following depending on your circumstances:
- a part payment plan – where you pay a reduced amount covering the interest and some of the loan amount
- a mortgage term extension – where the length of the mortgage is extended to reduce the monthly repayment amount
- a temporary switch to an interest-only mortgage
- a payment concession, including a zero-payment concession, if appropriate
Benefits and Welfare Rights
The Help to Claim Universal Credit Project within Barnet Citizens Advice can assist those that reside in Barnet with telephone claims, digital claims, better off benefit checks etc. The project is for those that have not received the correct first payment of Universal Credit.
Home improvement grants for elderly, disabled people or those on a low income. Your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA) may help you to repair, improve, maintain or adapt your home. Assistance can include putting together flat-pack furniture or looking after your garden. Search for your nearest home improvement grants on Foundations in England.
Children & Families
Sebby’s Corner supplies items such as clothing, nappies, formula and baby equipment to local families living in poverty. Families in need get referred by social workers, health visitors, family support workers, midwives and other professionals to ensure we reach the most vulnerable families.
Buttle UK’s Chance for Children Grants provides up to £2,000 to support vulnerable children and young people who have experienced a recent crisis or change in life. Support might include items to support learning, laptops, clothing, leisure activities etc.
BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme supports children and young people in exceptionally difficult circumstances and provides items to meet their most basic needs.
Children Today Charitable Trust are offering grants for up to £1,000 to provide vital, life-changing specialist equipment, such as wheelchairs, walking aids, trikes, educational toys and communication aids. If you like further information, call them on 01244 335 622
The Family Fund is open to families with children and young people who have a severely disabled child up to aged 17. The household income needs to be less than £25,000 if you live in England. They give grants for things that make life easier and more enjoyable for the disabled child, young person and their family, such as washing machines, driving lessons, computers and holidays. To find out more about this fund and how to apply have a look at their website or give them a call on: 08449 744 099
Parents who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk, using a Healthy Start card with money to use in some UK shops. Read more about Healthy Start’s support for pregnant parents or parents of young children.
Cash for Kids: Cost of Living Grants
Grant Size: £50 per child
Cash for Kids is managing a £1 million to support the physical and mental wellbeing of children across the UK. The funding initiative seeks to fund anything that helps meet children’s basic needs, including but not limited to food, clothing and household energy costs. The grants are £50 per child per household.
Barnet Council have set up a School Uniform Fund where parents and carers can get up to £100 to help buy your child’s uniform.
Small charity 3H Fund has a grant scheme to help disabled people (whether physically or mentally disabled), on a low income, along with their families and carers, to take a short break in the UK. Maximum awards vary. Find out more by visiting their website.
BACE Holidays: Barnet Early Help Service is working with community groups, including Young Barnet Foundation, to offer free holidays to children and young people aged 5-16 who receive benefit-related free school meals in Barnet.
Work & Study
Learn at Home is a Raspberry Pi Foundation programme that aims to tackle the digital divide by distributing free Raspberry Pi computers to young people in the UK who are experiencing educational disadvantage due to lack of access to technology. Raspberry Pi will provide the equipment, expertise and technical support to get the young people up and running, but they require the distribution partners to identify suitable young people within their community to receive donated devices and handle the distribution of computers to the young people and their families.
Early Years can provide you with 15 hours of early education for two-year-old children per week if their parent or carer receive the relevant benefits. There is also support for three and four-year-olds available.
Second Chance refurbishes old and unwanted laptops to provide them to digitally excluded residents. Your organisation can register with Second Chance to be part of their scheme.
Want to study, up-skill or re-train?
Check out Barnet Council’s website for free training opportunities in the Borough.
The Thomas Wall Trust aims to support motivated adults living in the UK to undertake education and training that will increase their chances of employment. They are offering grants up to £1,500 to undertake accredited vocational training up to level 3 (Qualification levels explained) and towards other costs associated with studying.
The Government has created New Bursaries to Help Learners to Upskill and Retrain, £2.5 million worth of funding to support learners and open further job opportunities. 22 universities and colleges in England will be offering short courses across a range of subjects to teach in-demand skills, from September as part of a three year trial.
Barnet residents can attend free Digital Skills workshops to help them find and apply for work and study opportunities, as well as improve their digital skills.
Need help while looking for work?
Jobcentre Plus provide a Flexible Support Fund to help support jobseekers looking for work. Each centre decides how to use their fund which can include things such as cost of transport, childcare, work clothes, tools and more (during the job search or to enable you to accept an offer of employment) if an adviser believes it’ll make the transition into work easier. To find out more information, individuals should speak to an adviser at their local Jobcentre Plus.
Need more support?
There are number of organisations working to support Barnet residents. Here are a selection to get you started. If they can’t help, they will be able to signpost you to those who can.
Age UK Barnet
Later life planning service (over 55’s), free and confidential information and advice on welfare and benefits, housing or support services as well as how to keep healthy and active. Telephone: 020 8432 1417 (telephone appointments Monday to Thursday, from 10am to 1pm). Email Age UK Barnet
Barnet Council Cost of Living Support
For a range of services, including food support, debt management, care services, visit the council’s Cost of Living Support page. Barnet Council have also created a Cost of Living Mental Health Toolkit to support charities to discuss the crisis with people who might be struggling.
Barnet Libraries have curated a Cost of Living Booklist with book recommendations all to do with personal finance money tips.
Barnet Carers Centre
Support to informal carers (anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support). Telephone: 020 3995 1909. Email Barnet Carers Centre.
The Charity Aid Foundation has also created a resource hub for charities on the cost of living crisis. They also have a helpful blog post on Managing operational costs with recommendations about how to cope with rising costs.
Citizens Advice Barnet
Provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice and guidance to people who live, work or study in the London Borough of Barnet, on their rights and responsibilities. Telephone: 0300 456 8365 (Monday to Friday 9.15am to 4pm and Wednesday 9.15am to 7.30pm).
Good Thinking have a handy resource about how to look after your mental health during the cost of living crisis.
The Greater London Authority has a cost of living support hub with a range of helpful resources, from money to mental health.
Consumer advice for Autumn/Winter 2022. Support and advice for people who need extra help with energy prices this winter.
Sanctuary Barnet (Crisis Cafe)
For anyone over the age of 18. They provide access to immediate emotional support to anyone experiencing distress.
Touchpoint supports people experiencing any form of disability in Barnet to access the services and resources they need including Benefits Advice. Telephone: 020 3475 1306. Email Touchpoint Barnet.
Recovery Rehab: Cost of Living and mental health
Recovery Rehab have a useful infographic all about the impact the cost of living is having on mental health, and what you can do to support your mental health during this time.
Barnet Wellbeing Service
Residents’ one-stop shop for all mental health and wellbeing needs, which can refer or signpost you onto a wide range of services and activities
This blog has been compiled from a range of online sources, of particular help was Money Saving Expert, therefore you may want to explore this site in more detail.
If your charity or organisation needs more support check out the resource hub on Charity Excellence which provides lots of resources and 100s of organisations providing free goods and resources to UK charities. This includes everything from pro bono legal & property advice, to consultancy, mentors, software, meetings rooms, volunteering services and much more.