Updated 7 October 2022
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.
If you have any amendments or additions do email us, so we can make this is an active and up-to-date resource for Barnet’s VCFSEs.
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.
General financial support
Independent Age is offering £40,000 to charities supporting older people through projects including advice intiatives, active support programmes and debt advice. Applications open between 1 and 16 September.
London Catalyst Grant Programmes has a £300,000 grant budget for new initiatives to improve health and wellbeing, and remove people from poverty and ill health.
The ASDA Foundation is offering grants between £500 and £2,000 for charity activities taking place before 28 February 2023. This funding is for local non-profits facing an increase in rent, bills or food costs.
Aviva is offering match funding up to £250 for initiatives to tackle the cost of living.
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 their Help for Households page to see what consumer companies are offering discounts.
The Local Welfare Assistance Fund can provide emergency financial assistance due to unexpected circumstances and help you get back on track after a stay in hospital or prison. Email LocalWelfareAssistance@Barnet.gov.uk or phone 0208 359 4242 for more information.
The Barnet Crisis Fund helps people who need extra help in an emergency or following a stay in hospital or being released from prison. The fund can also help residents who are working but on a low income and people who have a pending Council Tax support or Housing benefit claim.
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 has a handy cost of living page to find what extra financial support individuals might be eligible for.
Smallwood Trust are offering grants to individuals, prioritising applications from single mothers, disabled women, women who have been affected by domestic violence and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women.
Financial support for elderly people
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 will be delivering their Household Support grants to support Barnet residents of pensionable age 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 email@example.com
Asda is offering soup, a roll and unlimited hot drinks to over 60s for £1 this November and December at all of their in-store cafes.
The government is running the Energy Bill Support Scheme from October, saving £400 for residents. In addition, from 1 October, the new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ will mean 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.
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 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. Find out whether you are eligible and apply now.
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. Check out their website.
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.
The EDF Customer Support Fund awards grants to vulnerable customer households. It can help households stay out of fuel debt and be better able to afford ongoing energy costs. The Fund also offers grants to buy essential energy efficient white goods such as cookers, refrigerators, or washing machines.
For businesses, including charities a new six month scheme will be offered to provide support from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. Organisations do not need to take action or apply to the scheme: support will automatically applied to bills. After this initial six month scheme, the government will provide ongoing focused support for vulnerable industries. There will be a review in three months’ time to consider where this should be targeted to make sure those most in need get support. For more information, please see the press release and accompanying guidance.
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 see 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. Here’s the application form for charities.connected.
BOOST Barnet provides a free of charge 12-month broadband subscription with Community Fibre. To apply for free Community Fibre broadband, you need to make sure that it’s available in your area. Use the postal code checker
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.
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 £15 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.
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. To access these goods when you need them, simply register your organisation here.
Barnet Furniture Centre is the pioneering furniture reuse charity that helps low-income families by providing affordable furniture via our two-tier pricing structure for those on benefits.
The Barnet Food Hub support 17 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.
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 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.
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. You can refer here.
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 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. Find out more.
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
Smallwood Trust are providing grants under the Cost of Living Fund for women who are the most affected by the rising costs such as energy bills, fuel prices, food and basic essentials. The Fund will support some of the women who are likely to be hardest hit by the rise in the cost of living including those living alone or with dependent children; disabled women; women with no recourse to public funds and/or women who are or who have been affected by domestic violence or abuse. To find out more about the grant and how to apply, visit the website.
Holidays for 800 families. Through the ‘England for Everyone’ fund, families who may never have had a holiday can be referred to the charity for a weekend trip and will have a choice of where they will visit. Referees could include people such as social workers and teachers, and holiday vouchers would be provided to help cover transport, accommodation and food. Find out more information about this fund by visiting their website.
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.
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. Please register your interest by completing this questionnaire.
Early Years can provide you with 15 hours of early education for your two-year-old per week if you receive the relevant benefits. There is also support for three and four-year-olds available.
Barnet Council have set up a School Uniform Fund where you can get up to £100 to help buy your child’s uniform.
Want to study, up-skill or re-train?
Check out Barnet Council’s website for free training opportunities in the Borough.
Care to Learn are helping to pay for childcare costs for under 20s who want to start or return to learning. For further information, call them on: 0800 121 8989
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. To find out more about the grant and how to apply, visit the website.
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.
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, speak to an adviser at your 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 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.
Christians Against Poverty
Support if you are struggling with debt or unemployment and need some help breaking free from habits or learning new life skills. Telephone: 0800 328 0006
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).
Consumer advice for Autum/Winter 2022. Support and advice for people who need extra help with energy prices this winter.
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.
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.