Cost-of-living crisis – Find help here

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The content on this page was last revised on 25 May 2022.

If you're struggling to pay your bills, we may be able to help

Across Hammersmith & Fulham, people are struggling with their bills as energy prices rise at their fastest rate since the 1970s. And with poverty levels already increasing significantly in the UK, the challenge facing local people today is even more stark.

To help, we've created this resource to help local residents get the support and advice they need to keep their families fed and warm, as well as to pay their bills.

We know there is an urgent problem in the borough. More than 20,000 local residents now receive Universal Credit benefits in H&F, while one in four pupils in H&F claimed free school meals – the highest rate since 2018. H&F also provided more than 300,000 free food meals during the pandemic in the last academic year, in addition to vouchers and meals across holiday periods.

Meanwhile, H&F Council has also helped residents by supporting local foodbanks, offering free breakfasts in all our primary schools, expanding advice services, and abolishing charges elderly and Disabled people pay for care at home.

We hope you find this information useful. We will review this information and will add new details regularly. 


What we're doing in H&F

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Image caption: Image 2: Child eating at the Nourish Hub community kitchen on the Edward Woods Estate, Shepherds Bush

Helping residents through the cost-of-living crisis is our urgent priority at H&F.

We will build an alliance of support – just as we did during the pandemic – working with residents, local businesses, third sector organisations and others to find new ways to help people through these difficult times.

We will develop and implement a Financial Inclusion Strategy with strategic partners to improve access to financial information, including debt advice, better access to affordable credit and financial services, and building residents’ financial understanding and capability.

We will host a cost-of-living conference in Autumn 2022, bringing partners together to find new ways of helping residents navigate this crisis.

We will maintain our close support for charities like the Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank, the Nourish Hub and the Smile Brigade. We will work with businesses and third sector organisations to expand these schemes where they are most needed.

We will switch all council housing tenants from top-up electricity to central heating and smart meters via a green provider.

And amid rising rates of mental health problems among children and young people, exacerbated by the pandemic, we will provide access to counsellors at every school, all year round.


Help for families with children or struggling with bills

We are able to support families using the Household Support Fund. This is distributed to households with children on free school meals and via local voluntary organisations.

We are also providing additional support for households struggling to pay for fuel and housing costs.

If you need urgent support with food, loneliness or isolation, please email communityconnect@lbhf.gov.uk

Benefits and extra support

Find out about benefits you could be entitled to and how to get extra support in a crisis. 

If you are a council tenant in H&F, our Welfare Benefits Team can provide welfare rights advice including debt advice, support to identify benefit entitlement and applying for grants. Contact us about benefits.

Council tax support

Visit our help with council tax page (including advice on the £150 rebate for bands A to D) or call 020 8753 6681 if you need help and advice.

Help with childcare costs

You can get up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every three months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year). Find out more on the GOV.UK Tax-Free Childcare page.

If you need help with funding for two, three and four-year-olds, visit our help with childcare costs page.

Free May half-term activities and food

There's no reason to be bored! H&F Council is working with local event providers to offer hundreds of free events throughout May half term holiday - running from Monday 30 May to Friday 3 June.

Free food will also be provided for all children and young people taking part. All events and details are on our free half term activities and food page.

Free school meals and uniforms

Free school meals, clothing grants to help parents buy school uniforms are available for pupils whose parents or carers receive certain benefits. We are committed to building shared prosperity in the borough by providing your child with the best education and support opportunities. Apply for free school meals

Help with prescriptions

Did you know, if you regularly pay prescription charges, a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) could save you money? Or, if you have a low income you may qualify for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

In addition, some groups are automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions, and others can apply for certificates that entitle them to free NHS prescriptions.


Need help with food?

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Image caption: Image 3: Daphine Aikens, founder of the H&F Foodbank, at work with her volunteers

Local foodbanks

For those who are able to use them, we want to make sure that our foodbanks are operating well and that they have food supplies and volunteers to support them. Find out about foodbanks in Hammersmith & Fulham

If you need urgent support with food, loneliness or isolation, our Community Connect team may be able to help. Please email communityconnect@lbhf.gov.uk

Cooking on a budget

There are lots of ways to save money and make your food go further. Try Full Time Meals with Marcus Rashford and Tom Kerridge for pocket-friendly, easy recipes for 'hearty home cooked grub'.

Or Jack Monroe (aka Bootstrap Cook) is a former foodbank user and food poverty campaigner who’s carved a career out of sharing budget recipes designed with the simplest, cheapest ingredients. Check out the Cooking on a Bootstrap website or social media channels.


    Paying for your gas and electricity

    The council tax energy rebate payment of £150 to help residents with the rise in energy costs is due to be awarded from end of May 2022. Find out more about the council tax energy rebate payment.

    We are also providing additional support for households struggling to pay for fuel and housing costs.

    Your energy supplier can help

    Your energy supplier can work with you to agree a payment plan so do contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about paying your energy bills. More information about how to do this can be found on the Ofgem website links below. 

    Help with fuel bills

    Warm Home Discount Scheme (GOV.UK) – You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The scheme opened in October 2021.

    Cold Weather Payment (GOV.UK) – You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you’re getting certain benefits.

    Winter Fuel Payment (GOV.UK) – The Winter Fuel Payment is usually paid automatically if you’re eligible. 

    Pre-payment meters - new help through household support fund

    Customers with prepayment meters who are struggling to top up their meter should contact their supplier immediately to discuss options.

    If your supplier can’t help, you may be eligible for a one-off voucher through our new scheme. 

    If you're struggling financially and are close to being disconnected or have little or no credit on your pre-payment meter please contact the following numbers and one of our advisors will discuss your situation with you.

    • If you need urgent support with food, medicine, loneliness or isolation and or fuel payments please call Community Connect on 0800 145 6095.
    • Council tenants please call the Housing Income Team on 020 8753 5566.
    • If you are in temporary accommodation or are a private tenant please call H&F Link on 020 8753 1587.
    • If you are in receipt of Council Tax Support and or housing benefit please call the contact centre on 020 8753 6681.

    Advice to help you improve energy efficiency and save money

    Green Doctors is a charity who helps residents save money, stay warm, and improve energy efficiency in their homes. You can find out about their services online and on the phone. See energy efficiency and warm homes for more information


    Employment

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    Image caption: Image 4: Malik Luben-Scott enjoying an apprenticeship with CCTV security firm Chroma Vision

    Free employment support available from WorkZone

    Our H&F WorkZone service is here to support residents into work.

    If you have recently lost your job or at risk of being made redundant, please contact us at info@workzoneonline.co.uk or call 020 8753 6773.

    The free employment service provides:

    • access to job and apprenticeship opportunities
    • CV and interview technique support
    • dedicated advisor for one-to-one advice and guidance
    • training support.

    For more information please visit the WorkZone website.

    Employment and financial support 


    Paying your rent or mortgage

    Council tenants

    We can provide advice, support and guidance if you’re having difficulty in paying the rent.

    This may include setting up a payment plan, or supporting you to claim benefits such as Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance,

    Please contact the rental income team on 020 8753 6032 or email rentincome@lbhf.gov.uk. Our phone line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    Private renters

    If you are struggling to pay your rent you can apply for Universal Credit. If you are already receiving Universal Credit or housing benefit you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

    If you are a private tenant or landlord struggling to maintain their tenancy due to affordability issues or lapses in rent payments resulting in arrears, please contact the tenancy sustainment officer at H&F Link on 020 8753 1587 or send an email for the attention of Shelly Musa, to hf.link@lbhf.gov.uk

    Temporary accommodation tenants

    Tenants who are living in council temporary accommodation but are struggling to pay rent, amenity charges or utility bills, please contact Rajdeep Sidhu at H&F Link on 020 8753 1587 or send an email for the attention of Rajdeep Sidhu to hf.link@lbhf.gov.uk

    Homeowners

    If you’re a homeowner, please call your mortgage provider to explain your change in financial circumstances. You may be able to pause mortgage payments for up to three months.

    H&F is delivering energy efficiency measures for households through the Energy Company Obligation and Green Homes Grant: Local Authority Delivery scheme. This includes insulation, heating controls and electric heating. Find out more on our energy initiatives page.

    Disabled Facilities Grants

    These mandatory grants are available to residents who need to make changes to their accommodation to enable them to continue to live independently. The grants up to a maximum of £30,000 (subject to a means test) are available to owner/occupiers and tenants for adaptations and/or facilities. Find out more here: Find out more on our private housing grants page.


    Helpful advice and support

    Need help with your household bills? Get tips from the MoneySavingExpert.

    Want some free and impartial money advice? Try the Money Advice Service.

    If you need help to reduce your regular living costs, try these ideas from Citizens Advice.

    More contact details for advice