Cost of living support
Advice and support is available from St Albans City and District and a range of voluntary and community groups across the District - we're here to lend a hand.
The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) Toggle accordion
The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) is providing support of £400 for energy bills for households in England, Scotland, and Wales without a direct relationship to a domestic electricity supplier. This support is provided by His Majesty’s Government and is delivered by local authorities. The scheme is now open to all eligible households across Great Britain until 31 May 2023.
Subject to applications meeting the eligibility criteria, people who will be able to receive support under EBSS AF include:
• care home residents and others in care facilities/sheltered accommodation (wholly or partly self-funded)
• park home residents, houseboats and caravans that can provide proof of address
• social and private tenants who pay for energy through a landlord on a commercial supply
• homes on a heat network/private wire
• off-grid homes
• farmhouses used for wholly domestic purposes
How to apply
If you are eligible for EBSS AF, you will need to fill out a short online form via the GOV.UK website. This form can be found by searching “Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically” into the search bar on GOV.UK or an internet search engine. Applications are made directly to His Majesty’s Government, not to or via Local Authorities. If you do not have online access, you can apply via a contact centre on 08081753287 where a representative will guide you through the application process.
Once you have applied, your application will be processed and verified. After this if your application is successful, your details will be shared with local authorities, who will deliver the one-off, non-repayable support. The payment will be made directly into your bank account in a single instalment.
Further information can be found on GOV.UK.
Warm Spaces to save on your energy bill Toggle accordion
Warm Spaces are community spaces open over winter months, providing people struggling to heat their homes with somewhere to get warm, stay warm and enjoy a little company and some hot refreshments. Some warm spaces offer additional activities, a hot meal and information and signposting.
To provide a coordinated approach and to support local communities, Communities 1st would like to encourage all partners providing warm spaces and activities this winter to register on their website here. This information will appear on Communities 1st website and will be available to the general public. To view the register of warm spaces, please click here.
Hertfordshire County Council
This online directory will let people find libraries, family centres and community spaces near them where they can stay safe and warm. Many will also be running additional activities to provide people with the opportunity to meet others and take part in events such as slipper swaps for older people in libraries and stay and play events in family centres for families with young children.
Support if you are concerned about debt Toggle accordion
Citizens Advice can work with you to sort out any debt worries and help you claim the benefits you may be entitled to. They can help with housing and employment problems, or deal with queries about consumer or tax issues. They can advise on family and personal matters too.
Stepchange provides free, confidential and expert debt advice and money guidance. They can recommend the best solution for your circumstances. Their advice is free of charge and they can help to support you get back on track.
Support with your energy bills Toggle accordion
St Albans Home Energy Support Scheme
The St Albans Home Energy Support Scheme can support you to improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce your energy bills by providing information, advice and possible financial support.
St Albans District Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice have collated some helpful advice to support you with your increased energy bills below:
Cost saving tips: https://citizensadvicestalbans.org.uk/cost-saving-tips/
Cost saving booklet: https://citizensadvicestalbans.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Cost-Save-v11.pdf
Energy advice appointments are bookable with a member of the Citizens Advice team by contacting them through the usual channels on their website.
Hertshelp can support you if you are struggling with your energy bills, please contact them on 0300 123 4044 or www.hertshelp.net/hertshelp.aspx
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. Further details can be found on the Ofcom website below.
The Energy Bill Support Scheme
The Energy Bill Support Scheme provides a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households to help with their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023. All households with a domestic electricity connection in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible for the discount.
Home Energy Efficiency and Funding
In the St Albans District, the energy we use in our home’s accounts for nearly half of our overall greenhouse emissions. By making your home more energy efficient you can help the environment and save money, so it doesn’t literally go through the roof. The page below provides information on what you can do to reduce your energy consumption and lists sources of grants, funding and advice to help you.
Support with your food bill Toggle accordion
St Albans District Foodbank
For advice and support if you are experiencing difficulty getting enough food please see the link below.
Free School Meals
All pupils in reception and years 1 and 2 are eligible for free school meals. Children in year 3 and above may be eligible for free meals depending on benefits received. Check elgibility and register here: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/schools-and-education/at-school/free-school-meals/free-school-meals.aspx
NHS Healthy Start
NHS Healthy Start provides families with fruit, vegetables and milk worth £220 a year, plus free vitamins to help pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children.
If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old, and you receive certain benefits, you could be entitled to a Healthy Start prepaid card worth £4.25 per week, to spend on healthy food and milk.
Previous voucher recipients must re-apply to continue getting help.
Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply at www.healthystart.nhs.uk
Benefit calculators Toggle accordion
The St Albans District Council benefits calculator will help you find out what benefits you can claim.
The calculator is free to use, and the details you provide are anonymous.
Pension credit calculator: https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator
Understanding Universal Credit: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/
Local support for the cost of living Toggle accordion
St Albans District Healthy Hub
The Healthy Hub provides a central point of access for advice, guidance and support from many community groups and charities. Our partners offer free and confidential support covering a range of issues.
Hertfordshire County Council
The County Council have collated a list of helpful resources to assist with the cost of living as well as advice from the money advice unit.
Government support for the cost of living Toggle accordion
The Government has produced a factsheet with information on support for the cost of living. See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cost-of-living-support/cost-of-living-support-factsheet-26-may-2022?utm_source=DWPCorporate&utm_medium=StakeholderTKit&utm_term=CoL&utm_content=Factsheet&utm_campaign=CostofLiving
They have also released further information around the additional cost of living payments: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payment?utm_source=DWPCorporate&utm_medium=StakeholderTKit&utm_term=CoL&utm_content=TKitAssets&utm_campaign=CostofLiving
Energy bills support payments: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/energy-bills-support-scheme-explainer
Cost of living support: https://costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk/
Support if you are concerned about the impact of cost of living on your business Toggle accordion
Hertfordshire Growth Hub
The Hertfordshire Growth Hub Cost of Living Business Support Hub is designed to support business owners in Hertfordshire who are looking for resources on how to manage the increases to the cost of living and the impact that it may be having on your business and workforce.
See here for more information: https://www.hertsgrowthhub.com/business-support/cost-of-living/?dm_i=4OQI,1F1GP,2SAYZB,6K36M,1#business-support
St Albans City and District Council
Information on free business support can also be found on our website here: https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/free-business-support
Support from the Household Support Fund Toggle accordion
To support with the cost of living, Hertfordshire has been provided with funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF). This funding will be used to help people in need with things like the cost of energy and food. We are working with a range of partners across the county to make sure we can get the right help to those who need it, at the right time.
Residents are not able to apply directly for the Household Support Fund, however, if you need help or support you can call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044 who may be able to help. If support is available, it will be based on your current situation and we may ask a few questions about your financial situation.
Support if the cost of living is affecting your mental health Toggle accordion
Mind in Mid Herts
Mind in Mid Herts works with people to prevent them from developing mental health problems as well as supporting people who recover and prevent relapse.
South West Herts Samaritans
Whatever you're going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. They're there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
24 hour helpline: 116 123
Visit the branch website: https://www.samaritans.org/branches/watford/
New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College
They offer opportunities to learn about wellbeing and recovery by providing unique courses designed to increase knowledge, understanding and skills to equip people with the tools to live a meaningful, productive and fulfilling life.
Call: 01442 864966