Help with the cost of living

Everyone is being affected by the rising cost of living.

We know that some people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

You are not alone. There are a number of local organisations that can offer financial help and advice. 

A warm welcome across Bexley

We have been working with our local partners to identify safe places that can provide free and welcoming warm spaces for our residents.

Find out more 

Worried about money?

Those in financial difficulty can access money and debt guidance for free. The Money Navigator Tool from Money Helper UK can provide guidance based upon individual circumstances and help find support in their area. 
 
There is information on: what issues individuals need to deal with first, ways of staying on top of bills, how to find extra support and where to get extra help.

Budgeting loans are available to people currently claiming Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit. Loans can be provided for items such as furniture and white goods.

The Greenwich and Bexley Credit Union is a savings and loans cooperative owned and run by its members. All profits are put back into the business or paid out to members as a dividend on savings.

If you are worried about your Council Tax payments don’t delay. Get in touch as soon as possible to seek help and advice.

The School Uniform Shop is open every Tuesday from 3.30pm to 4.30pm in the Revival Café (next door to our Mind in Bexley office). We now offer great quality, second-hand uniforms for an affordable cost of 50p per item or £1 per coat/blazer. There’s no need to book, just come and see what we have.

Are you claiming everything you are entitled to?

Worried about debt?

Christians Against Poverty provide a free debt counselling service to everyone. They also offer a free money course and job clubs.

StepChange Debt Charity provides free debt advice through its telephone debt helpline and online debt remedy tool.

Bexley Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to help people resolve their legal, money, debt, benefit, employment, housing, consumer, discrimination and other issues. Advice is given in person, by email or by telephone.

Worried about food?

Bexley foodbank receives donations of non-perishable and in-date food. Care professionals, registered with the food bank, such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, citizen’s advice bureau and police, identify people in crisis and issues them with a foodbank voucher. Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days of emergency food.

Food Vouchers are available to help you buy fruit, vegetables and milk if you’re on a low income, pregnant or have a child under four years old.

Community Larder at St John The Evangelist Church, Sidcup, DA14 6BX

Our Community Larder is free to all - please drop in and take what you need. No voucher or other documentation is needed and bags are provided.

We are open:

  • Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm
  • Sunday from 9am to 12.30pm
  • Tuesday from 1pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday from 10am to 1pm
  • Friday from 10.30am to 12pm (during term)

Further information is available on the St John The Evangelist Church Sidcup website.

Worried about a home?

Housing costs are considered a priority debt, this means you should ensure you are meeting your rent/mortgage payments in the first instance in order to prevent the risk of homelessness.

Housing association tenants

Social Housing has the lowest rents in the housing market and is considered the most affordable and sustainable accommodation. If you currently reside in social housing, you should take all steps necessary to maintain your home and meet your rental requirements. 

If you are a Housing Association tenant, you should contact your housing provider in the first instance for help and advice with your rental payments.

Some Housing Associations can support you via their own Hardship funds if you are eligible. Please speak to your individual housing association.

Homeowners

You should contact your lender directly for help with dealing with mortgage arrears. They will be able to assist with setting up payment plans in line with your current affordability. Shelter has advisors that can give dedicated mortgage advice and can recommend agencies to act on your behalf engaging with your lender.

Private renting

If you are struggling with paying your rent you should make sure that you are receiving the maximum income you are entitled to via your wages, benefits as well as any grants you may be eligible for. You can do this by checking your entitlements via a benefits calculator:

You should speak to your landlord directly to explain your financial situation. If you are behind with your payments it might help to tell your landlord why you have fallen behind with your rent and see if you can come to an agreeable arrangement for both parties.

A repayment plan means you can make smaller payments over a longer period of time - you will still have to pay everything back, but it could be easier than paying the full arrears in one go. Do not offer to pay more than you can realistically afford as this could result in you not meeting a repayment plan that you have agreed to.

If your landlord does agree to a repayment plan, it is a good idea to get this in writing and signed by both parties.

If you need assistance in determining what you can afford you can use the below budgeting tool:

You can find more information on securing your own private rented accommodation by visiting our private renting page.

Other help and advice

The Breathing Space scheme can help people struggling with debt, including rent or mortgage arrears. Find out how to access

Shelter gives practical housing advice and support online, in person and by phone 365 days a year and helps with everything from mortgage arrears to finding a place to sleep.

Bexley Citizens Advice Bureau has staff who can provide free housing and legal advice if you have problems with housing conditions, paying your rent or are threatened with eviction.

Kent Savers Credit Union promotes saving and provides members with loans at reasonable rates.

For people who are eligible, are homeless or threatened with homelessness, it can help secure properties by providing the deposit and rent in advance (one month) through a low interest loan. The property must be suitable and affordable and the loan repayments affordable.

Contact the Council’s Housing Options team by completing a housing support form.

Discretionary housing payments are a limited fund provided to the Council by the government each year. The fund allows the Council to provide additional assistance with rent in exceptional cases.

The scheme is purely discretionary.

Worried about childcare?

The Government has a scheme for parents to access childcare if their children are two years old or younger.

If your child is three or four years old, you could still be eligible for 30 hours’ free help from an approved provider every term time week funded by the government.

Parents are entitled to tax-free childcare for kids up to the age of 11 and can get cash from Universal Credit for children up to the age of 16.

Tax-free childcare is available to families where both parents are in work. Some people can claim up to £500 for each child every three months.

Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit provides extra support for families where the government gives the claimant extra money towards paying for childcare.

Claimants and their partner have to work at least 16 hours a week.

You can get Child Benefit if you are responsible for a child aged under 16, or if they are under 20 and in approved education or training.

Worried about energy bills

The Government has announced that support is available to help with rising energy bills and increases.

Ofgem are offering practical advice and information for households that are having difficulties with their gas and electric bills. They also provide information about the Priority Services Register, which is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations.

Energy Advice Café

Central Library is hosting an Energy Advice Café every Monday between 10am and 3pm. It is run by South East London Community Energy (SELCE) whose trained advisors support anyone who is struggling with bills or energy debt.

SELCE offers independent advice on reducing your bills and paying less for your electricity and gas. Home visits can be arranged to give extra support should you need it, where they can suggest ways to make your home more energy efficient.

The advisors can contact energy companies on your behalf and give you guidance for obtaining extra financial help, and on how to apply for discounts and grants.

If you are not able to attend the café in the Library, you can contact SELCE on:

Warmer Homes programme

Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available to eligible low-income homeowners and private tenants.

To find out if you or your friends and family qualify, please visit the Greater London Authority website.