Cost-of-Living guide - plain text version

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We are here to help you

As a compassionate council, a key priority is helping everyone in our borough through the cost-of-living crisis.

We know how worried residents are about food and fuel bills, keeping warm and the rising cost of owning and renting a home.

The council has come together with community groups, residents and organisations to offer lots of support for residents and businesses this winter.

This includes hardship crisis payments, fuel vouchers, funding for warm meals and food banks, free school breakfasts and free home care, support for businesses, advice stalls in shopping areas, money management classes and much more.

Our Cost-of-Living team is available to help residents of Hammersmith & Fulham get the support they need. If you live in the borough, please call for free on 0800 917 6994 or email

This booklet is packed full of details about the help on offer, including many new resources. It is also available in more than 100 languages.

I hope you find it useful.

Best wishes 
Cllr Rebecca Harvey H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion and Community Safety

Someone you can talk to

H&F has a dedicated Cost-of-Living team to help you through this difficult time They will talk to you about your money worries, and give help and advice on: 

  • Council tax
  • Rent and discretionary housing payments
  • H&F’s Crisis Prevention Fund and other available financial support
  • Free school meals
  • Clothing grants
  • Winter Ready Homes grants and other energy support
  • Fuel bank vouchers
  • Signposting to budgeting advice.

If you are struggling to heat your home or buy food, we can connect you to local organisations and services within the council that can help.

If you are a Disabled person, you may be eligible for a grant to adapt your home to improve accessibility. If you are a business, contact our 1-2-1 Business support team

Help with benefits and grants 

If you are a council tenant and need advice on benefits, grants or budgeting, please call the H&F Welfare Benefits team on 020 8753 5566 or email:


Look out for our pop-up stalls in community locations, estates and shopping areas across H&F, with information about benefits, debts, health and wellbeing. Call the Cost-of-Living team for details or visit our Cost-of-Living website.

Winter support

Warm, friendly places to go 

H&F is helping your local organisations host free Warm Welcomes. These are warm spaces, open to everyone, where you can enjoy refreshments, socialise with neighbours and get involved in a mix of activities.

For more details about the scheme, including participating venues, activities and opening hours, please Warm Welcomes.

Winter Ready Homes

This year we have launched our Winter Ready Homes scheme.

You could be eligible for free energy efficiency improvements, designed to help keep your home warmer and which could reduce your energy bills. These include LED lighting, radiator foils and draught-proofing.

To find out more, visit our website or call our Cost-of-Living team for free on 0800 917 6994.

Crisis Prevention Fund for 2023/24 

You may be able to claim up to £900 from H&F’s Crisis Prevention Fund for basics like food, gas and electricity.

The Fund is for one-off awards to help households that are in crisis meet day-to-day essential living costs and is designed to provide immediate financial support.

Find out more about the scheme and what the payments can and can’t be used for at Crisis prevention payment

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Help with food and supplies

Nobody should go hungry.

Here are a few local organisations that can offer help with nutritious meals

H&F Foodbank 
Open every week across four locations. Offers free food parcels to residents in need upon referral. 
020 7731 3693

Dads House
Based in Fulham, open every week. Offers free food to residents in need upon referral.
07765 183504

The Upper Room W12 
Offers free, hot meals every weekday between 3pm and 6pm to anyone in need, with toiletries, bedding and clothing also often supplied.
020 8740 5688

Nourish Hub
Offers hot meals every weekday on a ‘pay as you can’ basis, plus free cookery classes and breakfasts.
020 7967 1302

Rose Vouchers
Helps families with children under five, and pregnant women, buy fresh fruit and veg from North End Road & Shepherds Bush markets. Check your eligibility for the voucher scheme on the website or ask at children’s centres.

Barons Court Project 
Day centre for people on low income, or who are homeless and/or vulnerable to mental health issues. You can have something to eat, do your laundry, shower and enjoy wellness activities. 
020 7603 5232

Free sharing apps
You can pick up free (or low cost) household items and unsold food from businesses via a number of good local sharing apps, including Olio and Too Good To Go.

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Grants and funds

There are numerous grants, and free or low-interest loans available.

Here are some that you may be eligible for 

Charitable grants 

If you need help to purchase white goods or other items, you may be able to apply to a charity. You can search for charities on websites Turn2Us and EntitledTo. Some charities give grants depending on where you live, your occupation, age or other criteria.

Family Fund

The Family Fund provides grants for essential items for low-income families raising a disabled or seriously ill child. 

DWP interest-free budgeting loans and advance payments

If you receive benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) you may be eligible for a budgeting loan or budgeting advance payment. This can go towards the cost of white goods, replacing a broken cooker, or staying in work. It is an interest-free loan and you only pay back what you borrow. 

Budgeting Loans: How they work - GOV.UK

Crisis Prevention Fund for 2023/24 

Grants are available from H&F’s Crisis Prevention Fund for residents struggling to pay their gas, electric and food bills.

If you are in severe financial crisis and need immediate help, you may be able to claim up to £900.

Visit to see what is covered by the emergency crisis payments.

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Help with money worries

If you’re struggling with money, you can get free advice from the following organisations.

Provides free debt advice, budgeting support and money management classes. 
020 7052 0318

Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham 
Free debt advice.
Debt line 020 3137 6295

Nucleus Legal Advice Centre 
Free legal help for money, welfare, housing and job issues. 
020 7373 4005 

StepChange Offers debt support and works with you through budget challenges and debt solutions.
0800 138 1111

Money Helper 
A national organisation that provides free advice on debts and benefits.

CAP London Fulham Reach Debt Centre
Free professional advice.
0800 328 006

National Debtline
A national organisation that provides free, impartial debt advice, factsheets and an online budgeting tool. 
Freephone 0808 808 4000

Tax Aid 
Free, independent tax advice for people on low incomes when things go wrong. 
0345 120 3779 

Crisis Prevention Fund for 2023/24 

You may be able to claim up to £900 from H&F’s Crisis Prevention Fund for day-to-day essential costs. The Fund is for one-off awards to help households that are in crisis.

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Resolving debt problems

Struggling with credit, in debt, or worried about bailiffs? You are not alone. Help is available. Here are some of the ways you can resolve debt problems.

Debt Respite Scheme (or ‘Breathing Space’)

Under this scheme, residents will be given legal protection from their creditors for 60 days, with most interest and penalty charges frozen, and bailiffs paused. During this time, you can focus on getting advice and support to manage your debts.

Pro-rata payments

If you are struggling with your debts, including credit cards, store cards and payday loans, you can get advice on agreeing a repayment plan with your creditors. This includes asking for lower monthly payments based on your disposable income.

Debt relief orders 

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a solution to deal with personal debts that you cannot pay. You apply through an approved debt adviser and must meet certain eligibility criteria. A Debt Relief Order normally lasts 12 months. If approved, you stop making payments towards the debts and interest listed in the Order.

Visit our “Help with money worries” webpage for help with debt and to access free debt advice. If you are a council tenant, you can call 020 8753 5566 for support if you need help, or email

Bankruptcy – get advice

If the amount you owe is more than the value of your belongings and you cannot pay your debts, you can apply for bankruptcy. This is a serious decision that will affect things like your credit rating, pensions and life insurance. It could also severely affect your ability to run a business or borrow money in the future. Please seek independent advice.

There is also helpful information on the Citizens Advice website on benefits, debt, housing and more: Or check out page 8 of this booklet for organisations providing free debt support and advice.

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Money-saving tips

Get cheaper energy

Need a cheaper energy tariff? 

Compare prices at Get help paying your energy bills - Uswitch

Get help and assistance from Your energy supply - Citizens Advice

Save on water bills

If your household income is below £21,749 the WaterHelp scheme can provide a 50 per cent discount. 

Other schemes include WaterSure and Customer Assistance Funds if you get into debt. 

WaterHelp and WaterSure | Account and billing | Help | Thames Water

Thames Water Trust Fund : Thames Water Trust Fund (

Here to fight your corner – the voice for water consumers - CCW

Save mobile or broadband costs 

Struggling to afford your broadband or phone services? Most providers offer a wide range of ‘social tariffs’.

Social tariffs: Cheaper broadband and phone packages - Ofcom

Or ask your current provider about Broadband social tariffs for universal credit and low incomes - Uswitch


The NHS Low Income Scheme could help you pay for NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, eyesight tests, and more. 

NHS Low Income Scheme | NHSBSA

Energy-saving tips 

You can save up to £60 a year if you draught-proof windows and doors, £43 a year if you don’t overfill the kettle, and £65 if you don’t put devices on standby. More helpful energy tips: Energy Saving Trust

Freecycle furniture

Give and get stuff for free, recycle and reuse unwanted items and save useful things from landfill. 

Freecycle: Front Door

Hammersmith BID Privilege Card Scheme

Get this to enjoy discounts from local shops and businesses. 

Hammersmith BID - Shaping Hammersmith's Future

Money saving and price comparison websites 

Lots of tips and ideas on how to save money and get the best deals. 

Money Saving Expert: Energy Help, Credit Cards, Flight Delays, Shopping and more

H&F Business Support 

Help and advice for new and established businesses, specifically with finding and winning new customers.

Business support

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Cost-of-living courses

H&F is offering new cost-of-living courses at the Macbeth Centre in Hammersmith. Our Multiply Programme will offer Money Matters, where residents can learn how to make informed choices about personal finances and budgeting You can also learn to feed yourself or your family for less in our Ready, Steady, Cook on a Budget course. H&F Adult Learning Service also offers a range of free and concessionary courses to support residents struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Visit one of our three centres:

The Macbeth Centre 
Macbeth Street, W6 9JJ

Uxbridge Road Centre 
239a Uxbridge Road, W12 9DL

Normand Croft Community Centre 
Lillie Road, SW6 7SR

Visit the H&F Adult Learning and Skills (HFALS) website for details on how to enrol, or phone 020 8753 3600. We can also help with course fees.

HFALS | Home page

Help with travel

Disability travel support

If you are in receipt of certain Disability benefits you may automatically qualify for help with travel costs. 

Cost of living support: If you’re disabled or have a health condition - GOV.UK (

Blue Badge

Helps people with significant walking difficulties to park close to places they wish to visit. Email us at or call 020 8753 6681. This line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Older person’s Freedom Pass

Allows free travel across London and free local bus journeys nationally. See Freedom Passes or call 0300 330 1433. This line is open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 8pm.

Disabled person’s Freedom Pass 

Disabled people can travel for free if they are eligible. Email us at or call 020 8753 6681. This line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.


If you are Disabled or blind and need to be picked up at your door, you can travel in designated licensed London radio taxis at a reduced rate. Call 020 8753 6681, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, or email


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Disability benefits

If you or someone you know is a Disabled person, or has a long-term health condition, you may be entitled to receive a Disability benefit.

Disability benefits can be claimed from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) even if you work, have savings or are in full-time education. Here are some of the under-claimed Disability benefits:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

For children aged up to 16 years old. The child must need extra care and attention and/or supervision, or have long-term mobility problems and difficulty getting around. Disabilities can include ADHD, asthma and autism. Call 0800 121 4600.

Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

For adults over 16 to state pension age. You can qualify if you need help with daily living or if you have difficulties with mobility. Call 0800 917 2222.

Attendance Allowance (AA)

This benefit is for people over state pension age who need help with care, attention, or supervision from another person, and who are not already receiving PIP/DLA. Call 0800 731 0122.

Health problems that could help you qualify for PIP or AA payments include long-term health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, heart problems, cancer, bowel or bladder incontinence, Crohn’s disease, depression, PTSD, epilepsy and dementia.

It’s not the condition or impairment itself, but the help you need and the difficulties you experience due to how it affects you.

If you are unsuccessful, seek advice from a welfare rights adviser about appealing the DWP decision. You can look at the full range of benefits offered and check your eligibility with the DWP.

Benefits - GOV.UK

Qualifying for one of these benefits may entitle you to other benefits such as Carers Allowance or Disabled Child element in your Tax Credits or Universal Credit. There is also helpful information on the Citizens Advice website on benefits, debt, housing and more.

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Help with energy costs

Run out of gas or electricity? 

Your energy supplier should give you temporary credit if you can’t top up. If you are on a pre-payment meter or just struggling to heat your home, you may be eligible for Fuel Payment Vouchers.

To find out more, call our Cost-of-Living team for free, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, on 0800 917 6994.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

You could get £150 off your electricity bill this winter. The money is not paid to you. It is a one-off discount on your electricity bill. You may qualify if you are on a low income or pension credit. You can still qualify for the discount if you use a pre-pay or pay-as-you-go electricity meter. Contact your supplier to find out.

Energy efficiency grants

The government has grant funding available for energy efficiency works, such as insulation and boiler upgrades, through the Energy Company Obligation and the Great British Insulation Scheme.

To check your eligibility, contact your energy supplier or the Better Housing Better Health service on 0800 107 0044 or online at Make a Referral - Better Housing Better Health (

Winter Ready Homes 

You could be eligible for free energy efficient improvements, designed to help keep your home warmer and which could reduce your energy bills. These include LED lighting, radiator foils and draught-proofing.

To find out more, visit our website or call our Cost-of-Living team for free on 0800 917 6994.

Hardship fund energy grants

If you are in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off. Firms offering hardship fund grants include British Gas, EDF, Shell, Octopus, E.ON Next, Ovo Energy Trust and Scottish Power. Check with your supplier.

If you can’t get help, you could still qualify for a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. Visit Independent fuel debt advice – British Gas Energy Trust.

Priority Services Register 

The register is a free service offered throughout the energy industry to support customers in need. It provides priority support in the event of an emergency or power cut. Contact your energy supplier, or visit: Ofgem

Green Doctors 

Energy experts can visit your home and offer free tips and advice to help keep your home warm. You’re eligible if you are over 65, a Disabled person, have a long-term health condition or are on a low income. 

Call 0300 365 5003 or email:

Help from the Mayor 

The Mayor of London’s website has useful tips and suggestions to help people struggling. Visit Help with the cost of living | London City Hall

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Help with housing

Responsible landlords

If you’re renting privately, your landlord is required to keep your appliances working, make sure water, gas and electricity are supplied, and fix any problems such as damp or mould.

If you need help, ask us to inspect your home. We can instruct your landlord to put things right. Call 020 8753 1081, email:, or see private tenants for more information.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

If you are a homeowner, you may qualify for government help for interest payments on your mortgage or loans for repairs and/or improvements. You’ll need to repay with interest when you sell or transfer ownership. See Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI): Overview - GOV.UK

Support with your private landlord

For advice about housing rights and your landlord’s responsibilities, visit Housing

Noise and nuisances

To find out how to report nuisances including noise, odour and excessive light, visit our website:

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Help with homelessness

Are you at risk of eviction? 

If your landlord tries to evict you without going to court or threatens your services (gas, electricity or water) you can get free legal advice from H&F Law Centre on 020 3880 1727 or Shelter on Freephone 0808 2000 247.

If you are at risk of becoming homeless, please visit our website to find out what help and support we can provide you with emergency housing.

If you have become homeless suddenly and have not had time to make alternative arrangements, please visit, homelessness.

Organisations providing homelessness support

H&F Rough Sleeper Service (Thames Reach)
Offers advice and support to help residents sleeping rough find pathways off the streets. 

The Upper Room W12 
Provides services including weekday meals, job club, employability skills and workplace certifications.
020 8740 5688

Barons Court Project 
Offers showers, laundry, clothing, meals, one-to-one support and more.

Glass Door
Emergency winter night shelter in H&F and caseworker support.
Find daytime homelessness support in London | Glass Door Homeless Charity

Help with housing or homelessness. 
Freephone 0808 800 4444 
Home - Shelter England

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Other help on offer

New-style contributions-based benefits

If you recently had to stop working due to unemployment or sickness you may be able to claim new-style contributions-based benefits. These are based on your National Insurance contributions, not on savings or assets you may have.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): Overview - GOV.UK

If you are not entitled to statutory maternity pay from your employer, you may be entitled to Maternity Allowance for up to 39 weeks.

The Sure Start Maternity Grant provides £500 for people receiving benefits who are having their first child.

Pregnant women, or those who have a child aged up to four, may qualify for the Healthy Start Scheme to help buy essentials.

Child Benefit can be paid for each of your children. If your income is too high you could still claim national insurance contributions which go towards your pension.

Free school meals and school clothing allowance 

Free school meals and school clothing allowance are available. Student benefits and grants

HRT Prescription Prepayment Certificate

If you pay for NHS-prescribed HRT medicine three or more times in 12 months, an HRT PPC could save you money. 

NHS Hormone Replacement Therapy Prescription Prepayment Certificate (HRT PPC) | NHSBSA

Online benefit calculators

There are several benefit calculators that can help you identify benefits you may be able to claim. 

Benefits calculators - GOV.UK

H&F Benefit calculator (

Benefits Calculator (

Tackling Financial Insecurity Together | Turn2us

Free activities in H&F 

Looking for fun, free, local events? Keep an eye on our events webpage.

Cinema Exhibition Card 

Provides a Disabled cinema guest with a free ‘plus one’. Eligibility is based on benefits received. Find out more here Home - CEA Card

Additional support for older residents 

If you are an older resident with savings and/or a work pension you can still qualify for additional, financial support. These include: 

  • Winter Fuel Payments
  • Pension Credit
  • Carers Allowance
  • Council Tax Support 
  • You may also be eligible for Attendance Allowance (or PIP) and this may provide you access to further help.

If you are unsure of what help you’re eligible for, visit our website: Or contact our team on 020 8753 6681 or email

Pension Credit

Pension Credit gives you extra money to help with living costs. You may be entitled even if you own your home, have some savings or a pension. Find out more Pension Credit: Overview - GOV.UK

Support at home 

If you are, or know, an older resident who would like an “at-home” occupational health check or free home care. Please visit homecare.

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Mental health support

Mental health services Mind (Hammersmith & Fulham)
Offers emergency support for many mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety.
020 8571 7454

Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you all day, every day. 
116 123

The Listening Place 
Face-to-face support in H&F for those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Walk in or call. 
020 3906 7676

Back on Track – West London
Improving access to psychological therapies for over 18s in H&F. 
0300 123 1156

Rethink Mental Illness 
Working to make sure everyone severely affected by mental illness has a good quality of life.

West London Trust
The West London Trust single point of access phone line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It has a wide range of mental health services listed online. 
0800 328 4444
Typetalk: 18001 0800 328 4444 adult/mental-health-services

Public health services in H&F 

The health and wellbeing of residents is a top priority of H&F Council. Visit our webpage to find information on children’s health, how to protect your health, mental health support and sexual health services. H&F public health

Community wellbeing

Wellbeing West London
Resource to find groups and services in your local area.

Richmond Fellowship – Wellbeing West London 
Offering workshops, employment support, signposting and more, this service is available to registered individuals in primary care and secondary mental health care. It also welcomes self-referrals. 
0330 008 3808

Wellbeing and Recovery College
A training and resource centre which develops and delivers tools to support wellbeing and self-management of mental health difficulties.
020 8483 1456

The Drug and Alcohol Wellbeing Service offers a wide range of advice, support and help for residents overcoming drug and alcohol related issues.
020 8746 0303

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Local partners who can help

H&F is a borough rich in community support. Here are some of our local partners that we support financially:

Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham
Citizens Advice offers free, confidential advice on benefits, debt, housing, energy bills and more. 
Freephone 0808 278 7832 (Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm)

H&F Law Centre
Advice on housing and homelessness problems, employment law and immigration issues.
020 3880 1727

Action on Disability
Offers advice and support to Disabled people across employment, youth, welfare benefits and direct payments.
020 7385 2098

Offers debt advice, budgeting support and money management classes.
020 7052 0318

Bishop Creighton House
Tackles social isolation via home visits, calls, walks and classes.
020 7385 9689

Solidarity Sports
Fulham-based charity improving the wellbeing of children through fun activities. 
07947 758 634

H&F Works
Provides support to residents looking to go back to work or increase their hours, and offers help with CVs, interviews and jobs.

Provides support with training, community organising, networking and office space for community and voluntary groups.
020 7952 1230

Violence against women and girls
The Angelou service offers confidential help to women and girls affected by domestic abuse.
Freephone 0800 059 0108

National Domestic Abuse Helpline 
Confidential 24-hour helpline. 
Freephone 0808 2000 247

Age UK 
Over 50? Get advice about energy bills and cost-of-living payments. 
020 7386 9085

The Masbro Centre
Providing services and activities to local residents, including the Masbro Elders Project.

West London Welcome
Community-based refugee and migrant centre.

Children’s Centres 

Range of activities for under-5s.

  • Bayonne Children’s Centre, 50 Paynes Walk, W6 8PF
  • Cathnor Park Children’s Centre, 1 Melina Road, W12 9HY
  • Edward Woods Community Centre, 60-70 Norland Road, W11 4TX
  • Flora Gardens Children’s Centre, Dalling Road, W6 0UD
  • Fulham Central Children’s Centre, Tudor Rose Building, SW6 5PG
  • Masbro Brook Green Children’s Centre, 49 Brook Green, W6 7BJ
  • Masbro Children’s Centre, 87 Masbro Road, W14 0LR
  • Melcombe Children’s Centre, Fulham Palace Road, W6 9ER
  • Old Oak Community and Children’s Centre, 76 Braybrook Street, W12 0AP 
  • Randolph Beresford Children’s Centre, Australia Road, W12 7PH
  • Ray’s Playhouse, 247 Stephendale Road, SW6 2PR
  • Shepherds Bush Families Project, 58a Bulwer Street, W12 8AP

For details, visit children's centres

Keep an eye on our website to learn more about our new family hubs which will offer a range of support services for local families. Opening in 2024.

Free holiday activities 

H&F runs free activities for children and young people, with a free meal, throughout school holidays. Keep an eye on our website for more details.

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