Cost of living advice and support
The cost of essential things such as food, gas, electricity and petrol are increasing. As wages and benefits are not going up as quickly, paying for the things you need and caring for yourself and others might become much more difficult.
The ways in which it could affect you are that:
- your money from wages or benefits may not cover as much as usual
- you might find it harder to pay for food, medication and transport
- your weekly shopping might cost more than usual, which might mean you have to buy less
- you may find the cost of energy to light and heat your home becomes more expensive
The Derbyshire Safeguarding Adults Board has put together this webpage to provide you with the support and advice available in Derbyshire via our partner agencies and national organisations.
Welfare rights and benefits
The government has information about what support is available to help with the cost of living. This includes income and disability benefits, bills and allowances, childcare, housing and travel. You may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits. You do not need to apply. You’ll be paid automatically. If you have had a message asking you to apply or contact someone about the payment, this might be a scam.
In response to increasing prices and the pressures around the cost of living, the government has launched Help For Households, which is a campaign to raise awareness of the support available amongst those that need it most. The campaign gives clear information about the exceptional payments, energy support and existing support schemes available, so the public know what is available and where they can find help – the webpage brings together over 40 support schemes that the public may be able to access depending on eligibility.
You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home for all or part of the week. However, if you previously claimed tax relief when you worked from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you might no longer be eligible.
If you don’t have enough money to live on, you might be able to get help to afford essentials like bills and food. This includes the Household Support Fund and cost of living payments. You should check if you can claim benefits - you might be able to do this even if you have a job.
Thousands of people in Derbyshire are missing out on benefits that are theirs by right. Sometimes the system doesn't make it easy for you to understand the rules about benefits or how to claim the benefits you are entitled to. Derbyshire County Council’s welfare rights team can help you find out about the benefits you're entitled to and how to claim.
You might be able to apply for a discount on your Council Tax bill if you or someone you live with is severely mentally impaired.
Use the Turn2us free and confidential benefits calculator to check what benefits you're entitled to claim.
The EntitledTo free benefits calculator can help you find out what benefits you're entitled to claim as well as a guide about cost of living help if you're claiming benefits.
Winter pressures - pathway for professionals
The winter pressures pathway for professionals is a signposting, referral and advice service from Derbyshire County Council by professional referral only, which will link the client to appropriate support and advice.
General cost of living resources
Neighbourhood Watch has brought together information about financial support, money-saving tips, as well as help with energy and food costs.
Derbyshire County Council has put together lots of information and advice, designed to ensure you're getting all the help you're entitled to. Sign up to Derbyshire County Council’s cost of living newsletter for regular news and updates, as well as information about claiming benefits, managing debt, cutting energy bills and food waste.
Citizens Advice has details about help with the cost of living.
Rest Less is a digital community that has information about ways to save money on everyday living costs.
National Debtline has a cost of living hub where you can find out if you pay less for your living costs and learn about any extra help that might be available.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has produced an easy read cost of living guide that has money saving tips for people with a learning disability.
Derbyshire County Council has partnered with Action Deafness to produce a British Sign Language cost-of-living support video. The video covers a wide range of topics from welfare rights to energy saving tips, and free school meals to help heating homes.
The energy regulator, Ofgem, has announced that all energy suppliers will be required to set up dedicated phonelines for vulnerable customers. Ofgem has found that people in vulnerable circumstances are struggling to get through to their supplier quickly enough, and it wants companies to offer them a dedicated hotline. More information about the dedicated phone lines will be released at a later date.
Your energy supplier can help if you are having difficulties with your gas and electric bills. You can get other grants and benefits too. Your options will depend on your situation. Contact your supplier as soon as you can if you are worried about paying your energy bills or are in debt to your supplier.
Major energy suppliers are providing grants to households experiencing financial difficulties. You'll need to check what your supplier is offering.
Citizens Advice has information about what to do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills, as well as getting a better deal.
The government, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants to help you save energy and increase your home's energy efficiency.
The government has launched the Great British Insulation Scheme to help families to get free or cheaper insulation to reduce their home’s energy bills. Families in lower council tax bands with less energy-efficient homes will be offered vital upgrades - such as roof, loft or cavity wall insulation - which could cut their annual energy bill by an average of between £300 to £400.
Age UK provide up to date guidance on the latest energy support schemes and have energy saving tips to reduce energy bills.
National Energy Action’s warm and safe homes advice service is a free support service providing advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home. They can also help with benefits advice and income maximisation. You can connect to a British Sign Language interpreter about both energy and benefits advice.
Managing money and debt advice
There is a vast amount of support available to people and it can be hard to know where to look for trustworthy information and services. Bear in mind that some debt management companies charge fees for their advice, although there’s no need to take on more debt when there's free help available.
Not all debts are the same. Some debts, called ‘priority debts’, can lead to serious trouble if they aren’t paid. For example, if you don’t pay your mortgage, your home could be repossessed.
Winter is often an expensive time of year – darker nights and cold weather often mean higher energy bills. If you're worrying more about money at this time of year, a few simple changes to your home – or a bit of extra financial help – could ease some of that worry. Age UK has some tips about managing your money in winter.
Money sorted in D2N2 provides support and personally tailored interventions for people experiencing the greatest financial difficulty. They can help you take control, build your confidence and skills and help you tackle barriers and problems in order to improve your financial well-being for the longer term.
Derbyshire Law Centre is available to provide free, confidential legal advice over issues around housing, debt, immigration, employment, and discrimination.
Age UK’s debt help and advice gives details about when, how and who you should contact to find support and explains about what a debt advisor can do to help.
If you’re struggling with debt, Money Helper has details about where to get free debt advice. Money Helper also has free and impartial advice about pensions and savings.
Even if you're struggling to make ends meet, your debt problem isn't unsolvable. Follow Money Saving Expert’s four-step guide to find the right solution for you.
Debt Advice Foundation is a specialist charity offering free, confidential advice on any aspect of debt.
Step Change Debt Charity provides free debt advice to help you deal with your debt and set up a solution.
The Derbyshire Discretionary Fund (DDF) can provide grants or emergency cash payments if you are in urgent need of financial help following a crisis or disaster.
Money and mental health
Poor mental health can make earning and managing money harder. Worrying about money can make your mental health worse. The mental health charity, Mind, has information about how money and mental health affect each other, which has tips for getting to know your money and mood patterns.
The mental health and money toolkit is a resource to help you understand, manage and improve your mental and financial health.
Managing someone else's money safely
If you're a carer or someone you know is already managing someone else’s finances, it’s important to manage finances safely to protect them and the money. Getting everything in place now can help reduce the risk of problems later.
Financial services, access to credit and loan sharks
Illegal money lenders (also known as loan sharks) often target families on low income. At first, they may seem friendly but borrowing money from them is never a good idea. Anyone borrowing from loan sharks is likely to pay far more interest than they would through legal borrowing, while some resort to intimidation and violence to enforce repayment, often pressuring clients into borrowing more money to repay one debt with another.
Stop Loan Sharks investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders and provides support for borrowers in the UK. Find out what is a loan shark and how you can report them.
Some forms of borrowing can be very expensive when you work out what you will have to pay back by the end of the agreement. Make sure you work out what sort of credit suits you. The Money Helper has information about different kinds of credit and loans, and what they may cost you to pay back.
Even if your credit rating is poor or you only need a small amount of money for a short while, there are alternatives, such as community banks.
Community banks (formerly known as credit unions) are not-for-profit financial co-operatives which are owned and controlled by members and authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. There are a number of community banks in Derbyshire.
In the UK, nearly all financial service activities must be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can search the Financial Conduct Authority database for firms and individuals and the activities for which firms have permissions.
Cost of living scams and how to report them
Scammers are taking advantage of people’s worries about the cost of living, so we all need to be aware about cost of living scams, which include:
- deliveries, postal or courier services
- someone pretending to be from the government or HMRC
- someone offering a fake investment or financial ‘get rich quick’ schemes
- rebates and refunds
- online shopping
- health or medical
- energy scams
If you’ve been scammed:
- talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment
- report the scam to Citizens Advice. Offline scams, like telephone, post and doorstep, to the Citizens Advice website or by calling 0808 223 1133. Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050
- text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726
- report the scam to Action Fraud tel: 0300 123 2040
By attending a Friends Against Scams awareness session or completing the online learning, anyone can learn about the different types of scams and how to spot and support a victim. With increased knowledge and awareness, people can make scams part of everyday conversation with their family, friends and neighbours, which will enable them to protect themselves and others.
Staying healthy, warm and well
Cadent has winter gas safety advice about keeping safe, warm and connected during winter.
Rural Action Derbyshire has a heating oil bank to help people in fuel poverty and unable to meet their energy bills, especially heating oil. Rural Action Derbyshire has been running a community oil buying scheme since November 2011 to help reduce the cost of heating oil by negotiating with oil suppliers for a bulk order. Buying oil through their scheme helps secure a good oil price for everyone, especially beneficial for those on a low income. They do not inflate their prices for profit. Anyone can join – homeowner or tenant, business or community building, farms, caravan parks and holiday lets. Standard delivery vehicles are used.
The Healthy, Warm and Well booklet has been updated for 2022/2023 and is a useful guide to the various support services available to Derbyshire residents.
As people look for alternative ways to keep warm and cut energy use this winter, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to take simple steps to protect themselves from accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Public Health and Derbyshire County Council have put together a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about staying healthy, warm and well. There's information about ways to stay warm and save money, advice on home maintenance in the cold weather, or how to get more support for a neighbour who is having falls.
Derbyshire County Council has tips on how to keep warm and safe in winter weather, as well as information about warm spaces across Derbyshire. You could be a snow buddy during winter months - checking on elderly and disabled neighbours and relatives to make sure they're OK, with enough heat and food.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service has information about fire safety at home, as well as a DIY safe and well check to carry out your own review of fire safety in your home.
Warm Welcome Spaces come in all different shapes and sizes, from a homework club in a local church on a Tuesday, to over an over 65s community centre drop-in on a Wednesday and library co-working desk open all weekend. Just enter your postcode and requirements to find the right Space for you. In Derbyshire, voluntary, community and charity organisations can apply for a grant to set up warm spaces this winter.
Churches across Ashbourne are opening spaces to stay warm this autumn and winter. All warm spaces will provide free hot drinks and are open to all ages.
Derbyshire residents looking for impartial advice and practical tips on how to stay warm at home and cut their energy usage can call the Warmer Derby and Derbyshire service free of charge on 0800 677 1332 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental health and wellbeing
The Derbyshire Mental Health Helpline and Support Service is a freephone service available to everyone living in Derbyshire - both young people and adults. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Derbyshire Mind is your local independent mental health charity within the national Mind network. Their focus is on improving mental health and wellbeing for people across Derby and Derbyshire. They provide a range of advocacy and community mental wellbeing services designed to support local people with mental health problems as well as the wider population. Derbyshire Mind has a list of local and national mental health support services and websites.
Derbyshire County Council has information about contacts and advice for people needing support in a mental health crisis.
The Derby and Derbyshire Emotional Health and Wellbeing website has been designed collaboratively by professionals who work across Derby and Derbyshire to help plan and deliver care and support for people who are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, or just want to feel happier.
Find advice and support for emotional health and wellbeing issues, mental health problems and stress related issues from Live Life Better Derbyshire.
Anxiety about paying bills and money issues may be causing difficulties in relationships and personal wellbeing. Relationship counselling offered by Relate Chesterfield and North Derbyshire is for everyone to access on their own, with a partner or as a family.
Groceries, food banks and community pantries
Food banks are community organisations that can help if you can’t afford the food you need.
Citizens Advice has information about using food banks.
The Trussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks to provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty.
Rural Action Derbyshire has a list of food banks and community pantries in Derbyshire that are part of the Feeding Derbyshire Partnership.
There are several food banks and food support services in Derby.
The Too Good To Go anti-food waste app lets you rescue delicious, unsold food from businesses to save if from going to waste.
Love Food, Hate Waste has helpful hints, tips and guidance to help you get the greatest value from your food, making sure it’s eaten and saved from ending up in the bin.
Free school meals and healthy start vouchers
All children aged 3 to 18 at Derbyshire nurseries or schools can get a free meal if they qualify.
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.
The cost of childcare can seem daunting, but there are a number of schemes available to parents and carers to help with childcare costs.
Check if you’re eligible for tax-free childcare, how to apply and how to pay your childcare provider.
Broadband, phone and TV
Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them 'essential' or 'basic' broadband. They're delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price.
The Simple Payment Plan was created for people in financial difficulty. Qualifying customers can choose from either a fortnightly or monthly payment plan that spreads the cost of a TV licence over 12 months. This means you make smaller payments more frequently - helping you to better manage your finances. There are other TV licence concessions, which you might be eligible for depending on your circumstances. There are concessions available for:
- People who are aged 75 or over and receive Pension Credit
- People who are blind (severely sight impaired)
- People who live in qualifying residential care and are disabled or over 60 and retired
If you have something that needs fixing, your local Repair Café may be able to help you mend it. This helps prevent items being thrown out needlessly and saves the cost of buying a replacement. The service is free but donations are welcome and their volunteers can tackle small electrical items and some larger items.