Cost-of-living crisis – Find help here
- What we're doing in H&F
- Help for families with children or struggling with energy bills
- Helpful advice and support
- Paying for your gas and electricity
- Paying your rent or mortgage
- Helpful advice and support
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.
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.
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.
If you need urgent support with food, loneliness or isolation, please email email@example.com
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
- Getting help if you can't afford your energy bills (Ofgem)
- Find schemes, grants and benefits to help with home energy (Ofgem)
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
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 email@example.com 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
- Check if you can get statutory sick pay (SSP) GOV.UK).
- Check if you're eligible for Universal Credit (GOV.UK).
- Check if you're eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (GOV.UK).
- Get an isolation note to give to your employer (NHS.UK).
- Your rights if your hours are cut or you’re laid off (GOV.UK).
- What to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time (GOV.UK).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Our phone line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
- Contact details for organisations who can advise about benefits and finanicial difficulties
020 7052 0318
Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm
H&F Citizens Advice
General enquiries 0300 330 1162
Help to claim Universal Credit number – 0800 144 8 444
Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm
H&F Credit Union
020 7460 2620
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm
020 8746 7718
H&F Law Centre
020 3880 1727
Monday to Thursday, 10am to 12 noon and 3pm to 5pm