COST OF LIVING SUPPORT
As the UK is in the midst of an economic and health crisis. We know many people are struggling to make ends meet due to the increased cost of living. We believe that nobody living should have to choose between heating or eating. Below is a list of advice, support and tips to help with everything from energy to food and money management.
Do you live in Glasgow and need a 'wee bit of help'?
Glasgow Helps is a new service set up to work directly with the people of Glasgow.
They offer free, confidential support, information and advice for citizens on a wide range of issues including:
Housing Issues and much more.
DISCOUNTS AND SAVINGS
Many businesses are offering discounts and offers to help people make savings across groceries, retail, utilities, entertainment, travel and more. Many of these offers are available in Scotland.
Children aged 16 and under can get a hot or cold meal for £1 at any time of day in Asda cafés across the UK.
Morrisons cafe's are offering a free meal for 1 child under 16 when buying an adult meal with a value of £4.99.
GAIN can give advice on a wide range of financial issues including debt, money management, benefits advice, and housing issues as well as providing free legal advice.
The GAIN Helpline is a freephone help line for clients living and/or working in Glasgow who have debt and associated legal and housing problems. Callers to the helpline will receive initial advice (including a full benefit check if appropriate).
Did you know that up to 7 million people in the UK miss out on income-related state benefits?
The New Gorbals Housing Association can help make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to. Their Welfare Rights team can also check if you are eligible for Council Tax reduction and can help you apply for benefits and grants you may be entitled to.
To make an appointment with our Welfare Rights team, please phone: 0141 429 3900
The Scottish Government has launched a dedicated Cost of Living website which contains information for families, carers, the elderly and disabled, as well as information on who to contact if you need urgent food or fuel assistance.
All three and four year-olds, and eligible two year-olds are entitled to 1140 hours of free early learning and childcare. This works out at 30 hours per week over term time (38 week school year) or 22.5 hours per week over a full year (50 weeks). You can find out more information about the services available, and how to apply, here.
You may be eligible for a Scottish Child Payment to help towards the costs of supporting your family. From 14th November 2022 the scheme has opened up to children under the age of 16, with payments increasing from £20 to £25 per week. Paid every four weeks, it can be used for things like travel costs, nappies, childcare or family days out.
This Scottish Child Payment Factsheet gives further information on eligibility and how to apply.
Bridging Payments were introduced in 2021 to support around 145,000 school age children who are in receipt of free school meals. In October 2022, it was announced that the Bridging Payment would double from £130 to £260.
Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods are payments that help towards the costs of being pregnant or looking after a child. They are two separate payments that you apply for using the same form. You’ll get separate letters to let you know whether you’ll get each payment.
Best Start Grant is made up of 3 one-off payments:
Pregnancy and Baby Payment
Early Learning Payment
School Age Payment
Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that can be used in shops or online to buy healthy foods like milk or fruit. The payments you can get now will depend on:
how far along in your pregnancy you are
how old your child is
All Primary 1 – 5 pupils in Glasgow are automatically entitled to free school meals.
If your child is not in the above year groups, you can still apply for a free school meal.
You may also be eligible to apply for a School Clothing Grant. More information and how to apply for free school meals and clothing grants can be found here.
You may be eligible for an Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) if you are aged 16-19 and wish to stay on in education.
school holiday activities and meals
Glasgow School Holiday Food Programme – the Association has received funding from this programme to be able to provide children with food and activities during school holidays.
Gorbals Leisure Centre – during holiday periods Gorbals Leisure Centre and other Glasgow Life venues typically offer free family swims and other activities. See the Glasgow Club website for more information on free upcoming events and activities.
You may be eligible for a Free School Meal Payment which covers lunches throughout the school holidays. For more information please see the Free School Meals page on Glasgow City Council website.
A Bridging Payment (£130 per child) will also be paid to families already in receipt of Free School Meals via the council. This payment will be made automatically.
Free bus travel for young people
Young people aged 5-21 years old are now eligible for a card which gives free bus travel. A National Entitlement Card is required to access the scheme.
One Parent Families Scotland is a national organisation offering advice and information to single parent families. One Parent Families Scotland aims to enable single parent families to achieve their potential, to reach a decent standard of living and contribute to Scottish society
If you are struggling to pay for energy or think you may get into difficulty, contact your supplier and let them know. They may be able to offer a grant to help. If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust (0121 348 7797). These grants are available to anyone - you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.
You may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount scheme, which you can apply for directly with your fuel supplier. The scheme offers money off your electricity bill for winter for those who are eligible. The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March. Check the government site to see if you are eligible, and check here for a list of participating energy providers. There’s additional fuel support available for prepayment meter tenants in Gorbals too. Get in touch on 0141 429 3900 to ask about a referral.
The Glasgow Helps scheme has launched a fuel support grant with applications open from Monday 3rd October 2022. Those in receipt of council tax reduction and who have children at home may be eligible to access the fund. The Glasgow Helps scheme can also assist with employability, mental health, physical health, housing issues and much more.
The government’s Energy Bill Support Scheme is a £400 grant that many people are entitled to in order to help with energy bills this winter. It’s paid in instalments between October 2022 and March 2023. How you receive this support depends on your energy supply and how you pay your bills. See the Energy Bills Support Scheme for more on this.
Ofgem has published Help With Bills - Energy Advice for Households, which contains information on financial support, advice on how to make your home warmer, understanding your energy bill, information on your rights and more.
There is a community grocery available at 37 South Portland Street, G5 9JL, which is open Monday to Friday 9.30am-4.30pm. Members of the Community Grocery can get up to 3 shops a week with 15 items. There’s also free lunch available. Get in touch on 0141 429 3900 for a referral.
Enjoy a community meal. Riverside Community Breakfast is open to all and takes place on Mondays 9am-11am at 39 Waddell Court community room. Refer to the local foodbank if you are struggling to afford enough food to feed yourself and your family, let them know. Their Welfare Rights officers can discuss your options, including a potential referral to a local foodbank for support.
If you’re in debt, seek advice early rather than let things spiral out of control. Residents can get help from StepChange or Citizens Advice Bureau. Citizens Advice provides high quality, free, confidential, independent advice. It can help with debt and money advice, benefits and more. There are local offices in North Street in the City Centre (at the Mitchell Library) and Main Street in Bridgeton. Citizen’s Advice also provides a self-help tool online called Money Map. There’s also a Money Advice service available to tenants, which can help with things like debt advice, negotiating with creditors and more. Get in touch on 0141 429 3900 to check if you’re eligible for a referral.
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
Look after your mental health. The cost of living crisis has created uncertainty and money worries are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. This ongoing stress can manifest in feelings of embarrassment or shame, and impact on your mental wellbeing. It is important to seek and advice and support if your money struggles are contributing to poor mental health, as ongoing mental health concerns can also impact your income and outgoings. You can seek support for your mental health in the following ways:
Contact your GP
Look up information online via the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) or NHS inform.
Phone a helpline - for example Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) or Samaritans (116 123)
Many people find it difficult to ask for help, but there are a wide range of services available and you can choose the services that appeal to you.