Cost of Living Hub
As the cost of living continues to rise, all of us are feeling the impact. We recognise that financial challenges can be a significant worry, which can also affect overall wellbeing and mental health.
At Community Gateway, our tenants are at the heart of everything we do, so we are always keen to support and advise you as best we can. We’ve created this dedicated hub packed full of resources and information which can help you make your money go further, as well as useful tips and advice to support you through these challenging times. We’ve also signposted to our partners and other organisations across the city who can provide additional support. We’re continuing to look for more ways to offer you support and will regularly update this hub when new initiatives come on stream.
Support with Food
If you're struggling to pay for food, you can get a referral to a local food bank from our Tenancy Support team or you can find out more on the Help in Preston website.
Free school meals
Your child may be able to get free school meals if you receive certain benefits, click here for more information.
If you have a child or are pregnant
You might be able to get a Healthy Start card to help you buy certain types of milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables.
To get the Healthy Start card you must be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years old. You must also be getting either:
Universal Credit - but only if your household earns £408 a month or less
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
income-related Employment and Support Allowance - but only if you're pregnant
- Child Tax Credit - but only if your household earns £16,190 a year or less.
Find out more and apply for healthy start on the Healthy Start NHS website.
For the latest restaurant deals, vouchers and offers click here .
Money saving tips
Here are some simple things you can do to help make your money go that bit further.
Switch off standby
Some of your electrical equipment uses energy whilst left on standby – this could be up to a quarter of your annual bills. British Gas estimates that the average household could save £147 per year, just by turning all devices off properly. Imagine how much you could save if you switched off the TV, Sky box or microwave?
Become energy savvy
- Turning your thermostat down by just 1 degree could save up to £105 per year.
- Turning off lights when you’re not in a room could save up to £20 per year.
- You can save around £40 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.
- You can save around £20 a year on your energy bill by using your washing machine more carefully, try a 30-degree cycle instead of higher temperatures and only wash your clothes when you have a full load.
- Don’t overfill your kettle and maybe spend a minute less in the shower.
Cut food waste
- Take time to plan your week’s meals before you go to the supermarket. Write a list and stick to it.
- Keep an eye on 'Use By' dates – make sure that you plan to use the food whilst it’s still in date.
Other money saving tips
- Cancel subscriptions you don't use. Go through your bank accounts and look at every subscription and ask yourself if you use it and whether you need it in your day to day life.
- Make the most of discount codes - look up discount code to try to find discounts before buying anything online.
- Use price comparison websites when shopping online. If you're in-store check online to see if you can find the items cheaper online before buying.
- Track your spending. This will help you to understand your spending habits, monthly income and overall financial position. Use a budget calculator to help you understand what you're earning and spending and where you might be able to cut spending.
By making some of these small changes, you will soon start to reap the benefits and your monthly savings will soon start adding up,
The Government are offering several grants to try to help make your money go further. If applicable to you, you will have received the majority of the grant money by now. Some of the support still available can be found below. If you have any queries about any of these grants or benefits, please contact our Tenancy Support team on 0800 953 0213 (option 4).
Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024
You may be entitled to up to Cost of Living Payments if you get any of the following benefits or tax credits on certain dates:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
When you’ll be paid
If you’re entitled, you will get:
- £301 - from 25 April 2023 for those on qualifying benefits (including tax credits on top), or from 2 May 2023 for those on tax credits only
- £300 - paid during autumn 2023 for most people
- £299 - paid during spring 2024 for most people
For more information click here.
Household Support Fund
Preston City Council
The Preston City Council Household Fund is to assist residents most in need in the Preston area, to help with significant rising living costs. It is intended to help those who do not have enough resources to meet immediate short term needs and require assistance with essential items over the coming months. To be eligible for the scheme you must be:
- A resident of the Preston area
- Experiencing financial hardship and not have enough resources to meet your immediate short-term needs.
To apply click here.
Blackpool Council’s Household Support Fund is available to help Blackpool residents with short term financial support to meet immediate needs with household energy costs.
Applicants must be :
- Over the age of 16 and be responsible for paying gas/electricity bills for the property they live in
- A Blackpool Council resident (receive a council tax bill from Blackpool Council)
- Experiencing financial hardship
- Not have received a Household Support Fund payment in the last 6 months
Eligible applicants will receive an award of £200 (two person households) or £300 (three or more person households).
Evidence will be required to support the application as follows :
- One full months bank statement for all accounts and all adults in the household
- A copy of your electric or gas bill showing your name, address and the name of your supplier and account number
Applications should be submitted online here.
If you would like support to fill out your application form for the Household Support Fund, please contact our Tenancy Support Team on 0800 953 0213 (option 4).
Cut-price broadband and phone services for those on low incomes.
As customers are worried about the cost of their broadband and phone services, the Government has worked with a range of internet service providers and mobile network operators to deliver low cost packages for those on low incomes, called social tariffs.
Social tariffs are available for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits, with some providers offering deals from as little as £10 a month.
Click here further information and a list of all the providers, criteria and cost.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
We know that many people are feeling the strain as the cost of living continues to increase. In this section, you will find information about how you can maintain your mental wellbeing at this time.
Affordable Ways to De-stress
There are many low-cost activities that you can practice day-to-day to unwind and de-stress. Ensuring that you practice self-care and take time to charge your batteries will help you to manage your stress levels.
- Go for a walk or exercise
- Phone or visit a friend or loved one
- Tidy your home or workspace
- Cook your favourite meal
- Journal your thoughts and feelings
- Ensure that you get a good night’s sleep
Mental Health UK provide advice and tips on how to manage stress, click here to find out more.
You can find other ways to get help with your mental health on the Mind website.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You should talk to your GP if your money problems are affecting your mental health.
We work with a number of local partners who provide employability support, helping you to access free training, education and skills development to help you take your next step.
Are you currently working and looking to refresh your wardrobe, but struggling to buy new work clothes? Or are you hoping to secure a job and don’t have anything to wear for the interview? Our Workwear Wardrobe provides free, pre-loved clothes exclusively to Gateway tenants.
To access support or to find out more about our Workwear Wardrobe please visit www.gateway2engagement.co.uk or call the Engagement and Communications Team on 0800 953 0213 (option 6).
- Help in Preston are able to signpost you to advice and employment support across Preston.
If you are struggling with debt, it is important to know that you are not alone. We all need help from time to time.
If you are in debt, or worried about money the important thing is to get in touch and talk to us. Our Tenancy Support team can provide a free welfare benefit health check and where appropriate, can sign post you to free confidential debt advice.
There are a number of free impartial debt advice agencies that can help you. For further details please click on the links below:
Whatever you do, don’t fall prey to Loan Sharks. It’s tempting if you want a quick cash fix, but any money borrowed comes at a high price and may lead to violence, threats and intimidation. See it as a big red flag if: someone offers you money without any paperwork, asks for your bank card or a personal item like jewellery as ‘security’ or doesn’t tell you what the interest on your loan will be.
Why not use CLEVR money?
CLEVR money is a responsible credit union available to anyone living in our communities. They offer low-rate loans from £200 -£15,000, refinancing of existing loans, debt advice and savings schemes even if you have bad credit. They’re not out to make a profit and are fully regulated, so you know you are safe. Find out more at www.clevr.money or call them on 01253 478390.
Across the county, libraries, churches and community centres have opened their doors to offer people a warm and welcome space as the cold weather starts and energy bills soar.
All libraries in Lancashire have been designated as warm and welcome spaces where people can find a warm drink, a space to sit, free computers and Wi-Fi, charging points for digital equipment, events and activities and help from staff to find further information about what support is available. Find a library to view facilities available.
Alternatively, you can use the interactive map to find your nearest warm space - Find a Warm Space
Additional support and information
You can also find a wealth of helpful information from our partners in Preston and nationwide. Why not take a look at some of the websites below.
- Help in Preston are able to signpost you to advice and local services
- Find out what help is available for households in Lancashire.
- More information on help from the government can be found here - Help for Households Campaign
- Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert website offers free, impartial advice on a whole range of day to day issues.
Don’t suffer in silence, if you are struggling please contact our Tenancy Support team. Our specialist officers can help you find ways to improve your situation and manage your finances. Get in touch by calling 0800 953 0213 (option 4) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.