Money Management Advice
The Local Welfare Assistance Fund has now closed but you can get help and advice from other organisations
If you are in financial difficulty
You need to find a way of covering as many of your essential needs as possible. This might include asking for help from friends and family. Or contacting other services that might be able to offer you support.
The first, and most important step, is to take control as quickly as possible. Look for help even if you think you are going to be in a crisis situation.
You can get help with Foodbank voucher if you have a referral from a professional such a doctor, health visitor, social worker or police officer. Once you have a voucher, you can redeem a food parcel for three days' emergency food at a Foodbank.
If your child is 5 or under, you may get some help with food from your local children's centre.
Healthy Start Vouchers
Use the 'do I qualify' checker to see if you qualify for Healthy Start Vouchers. These will help you buy basic food if you are pregnant or have a child under four years old.
Utilities (gas, electric and water)
Gas and electric
If you struggle to pay your bill, contact your supplier and explain. Ask if they have any services, such as an energy trust, that could help. If your supplier does not offer any help, you can contact the British Gas Energy Trust Contact them even if you don't use British Gas.
You may be able to get help from:
Bournemouth Water - Water Sure Scheme
Wessex Water - TAP Scheme
You may also be eligible for the LEAP (Local Energy Advice Programme). They provide lots of free help to save energy.
Rent and Council Tax
- If you are struggling to pay your rent or Council Tax because you are on a low income, complete the online benefit application form to see if you qualify for some help.
- If you already receive Housing Benefit, or Housing Costs through Universal Credit, and you can’t afford the top up because you aren’t receiving your full rent you can apply for a discretionary hardship payment (Paper forms only).
- If you receive Council Tax Support but aren’t paid the full amount, you can apply for an exceptional hardship payment (Paper forms only).
- If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax please contact the Council Tax department as soon as possible. This avoids having additional costs applied to your account.
- If possible, explain your situation to your landlord to try to avoid a confrontation if you do miss a payment.
- If you've applied for Universal Credit and are awaiting payment, you might be able to receive a Short Term Advance. This is a loan that you repay from your Universal Credit payment. Ask for an Advanced Payment at your Universal Credit interview or call helpline if you've already had your interview. Universal Credit Helpline: 0345 600 0723. Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.
Help with debt
Free debt advice online or on the phone, Go to www.stepchange.org/Contactus for further details on how to get in touch.
Citizens Advice Bureau
Free debt advice services as well as specialised advice and guidance. Go to http://www.bournemouthcab.co.uk/ for further details or call 03444 111 444.
Christians Against Poverty
Debt counselling and help to negotiate affordable payment with your creditors.
Money Advice Service
Advice, guides, tools and calculators along with support online and over the phone.
The National Debtline
Free, confidential debt advice www.nationaldebtline.co.uk.
Free confidential advice on debt problems, go to www.payplan.com.
Budgeting support, for further information visit faithworkswessex.org.uk
Use the grant search tool on www.turn2us.org.uk. These grants are often linked to job, medical conditions or family circumstances.