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Cost of Living Support

Published on 24 October 2022

Cost of Living Support

Latest resources

Visit the help for households advice page from the government for all of the latest guidance on:

  • Income support.
  • Help with energy bills.
  • Help with childcare costs.
  • Housing support.
  • Help with transport costs.
  • Help finding work.

There is also help and information on the Cumbria County Council website.


Benefit and council tax support

Benefits may be provided to those who are on low income or are unemployed, carers, sick or disabled. Check if you are eligible for any benefits by using the benefit calculator.

Those who receive benefits may be entitled to receive an extra £650 from the government. Information on who is eligible, and how to claim, can be found on the government website 

You may also be entitled to help with paying your council tax.


Help with finances

Our benefits advice team are specialist welfare rights advisors who provide a comprehensive advice service on the whole range of benefits provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council.

Advisors can:

  • Give advice on the claiming of benefits such as Universal Credit, Employment & Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Social fund payments and Welfare Assistance Scheme.
  • Check whether you are receiving your correct entitlement to benefit.
  • Help with appeals, mandatory reconsiderations and reviews.

Based at the Civic Centre, in Carlisle, the Benefit Advice Service offers appointments at the Civic Centre and at outreach surgeries available at:

  • Longtown.
  • Brampton.

Please contact them on 01228 817400 to arrange an appointment.

A worrying about money leaflet has also been produced and is attached as downloadable document. It is also available in different languages:


Armed Forces’ support

The Royal British Legion is offering grants of up to £200 a month to help members of the Armed Forces community struggling with rising energy bills. RBL can also help with everyday essentials like kitchen appliances.

Visit their website for more information.


Money Navigator Tool

The Money Navigator Tool from Money Helper UK can provide free 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.
  • Where to get extra help.


DWP Pension Credit

Pensioners can take-up Pension Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) has made available an online Pension Credit calculator, which state pensioners are advised to use to check how much they may be eligible to claim.


External funding grants and support

Find out what funding is available for local organisations on our funding webpage.


Independent Age: Cost of Living crisis free resources

Independent Age recognise that money can be tight at times for older adults, especially once they retire and living on a fixed income while fuel bills, travel costs and general living expenses are increasing. They have produced free guides and factsheets with information to help boost Older People’s income, find the care they need, remain independent, choose the right place to live, stay connected with others, and more.


Energy Bills Support Scheme

The government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme supplies households with a £400 grant towards energy payments.

All households with a domestic electricity connection will be automatically eligible for the scheme - it does not need to be repaid.


Electricity North West (ENW) - Support with the cost of living crisis

As many of ENWs customers continue to struggle with the rising cost of living, please remember their dedicated web pages host a variety of help, advice and practical support provided by their trusted partners and industry experts. View the Help for your household webpage.


Sustainable Warmth Cumbria scheme

If your household income is below £30,000 and your home has a low energy performance you could be eligible for a government grant up to £25,000 towards insulation and low carbon heating measures, like heat pumps and solar panels. The funding grant is also available for private landlords to apply for qualifying tenants.

To find out more visit our Sustainable Warmth Cumbria Grants webpage.


Help with food

If you are struggling to feed yourself or your family, there are organisations that can help. 

If you think your child may be eligible to receive free school meals and school clothing vouchers, please contact the Cumbria County Council Service Centre on 01228 606060 

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. Find out more at Healthy Start

Affordable Food Outlets

A small fee gives entitlement to one week’s worth of food which can be selected by attending one of the outlets listed below:

  • Oasis Pantry - City Centre - St Paul’s Church - 07838 349561
  • Pop up Pantry - Botcherby Food - Botcherby Community Centre Wednesday 12pm - 4pm - 01228 596992
  • Pop up Pantry - Longtown Food - Arthuret Council Centre –01228 791739
  • Brampton Community Food - Methodist Church Hall - Friday 9.30am - 12.30pm 016979 27005
  • Petteril Bank Community Fareshare - Petteril Bank Community Centre, Wednesday 1.30pm - 2.30pm. 01228 5301
  • Belle Vue /Raffles - The LookOut (Shadygrove Road) - Thursday - 07413 258279

Community Help Affordable Food Hub (AFH) and Community Help Partners

For a set low cost, a week’s worth of food can be ordered online or by phoning the AFH, placing an order and arranging collection/pick up at a selected Community.

Carlisle Community Help - Affordable Food Hub

Carlisle Community Help Partners for pick up include:

  • Morton Manor - Thursday
  • Brampton Community Food - Friday


No cost emergency food provision for households in dire need through referral by the persons Social Welfare Support Agency/Organisation or other responsible referral agency.

  • Carlisle Foodbank - 07512 552449
  • Longtown Foodbank - 01228 791739
  • Brampton Community Food - 24/7 Help Desk - 016979 27005
  • Cornerstones Food Bank - Denton Street Denton Holme - 01228 548796
  • St Barnabus and St Luke’s Churches west of the city - 01228 538983


Help with travel

You may be eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card if you’re on Universal Credit. To find out more visit the National Rail website.

In England you can get a bus pass for free travel when you reach the State Pension age. Apply for an older person's bus pass.

If you’re disabled, then you may be eligible for a disabled person’s pass if you live in England. Apply for a disabled person's bus pass.


Help with housing

If you are having difficulties paying for housing, you should contact your landlord, housing association or mortgage company.

If you face losing your home, speak to our homelessness prevention team who may be able to help.

You can contact our services directly using this link https://hpa2.org/refer/CARL 

If you are unable to complete the online referral link you can email us at [email protected].

You can contact us during normal office hours by calling 01228 817200. Our out of hours contact numbers are 01228 817386 (single women and families) and 01228 817373 (single men).   


Cumbria Domestic Abuse Partnership

This partnership co-ordinates both preventative and crisis support as well as accommodation services for all victims at risk of homelessness and those identified to be at risk of domestic abuse and all forms of exploitation within Cumbria.

Find out what support is available on our Cumbria DAB webpage.


Warm Spots

Warm Spots is a joint project, led by Cumbria County Council, ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, Churches Together in Cumbria, Cumbria Community Foundation and Cumbria CVS. It encourages and supports local organisations to open their doors to people in need of warmth and help, as the cost-of-living crisis and high fuel costs continue to put many people under real strain.

The Warm Spots website provides an easy way to find out which 130Warm Spots are open and what they offer.

As a minimum, a Warm Spot will offer a warm space, a warm welcome, someone on hand to talk to if you wish, and a hot drink (free or at cost). But many are offering a much wider range of facilities, activities and support.


Funding for Warm Hubs

Community groups and organisations across Cumbria are being offered financial support to help people keep warm over winter.

Working in partnership with Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Community Foundation is offering funding to the voluntary and community sector to help create a network of places where people can go to keep warm and have company.

The Warm Spot Fund is providing grants of up to £1,000 per venue to expand capacity or to start up in a new venue. For example, a community centre may apply to cover the costs of providing a designated space with chairs and hot drinks, open at regular times each week, or a parish hall may want to set up a coffee morning for the first time.

Funding can be used to cover energy bills, additional staff time, volunteer expenses, provision of drinks and venue hire, as well as other relevant costs.

Applications to the Warm Spots Fund can be submitted at any time and groups should hear the outcome of their application within 10 working days.

To apply for funding, visit www.cumbriafoundation.org/fund/warm-spots-fund email [email protected] or call 01900 825760.


Age UK Carlisle and Eden

Age UK Carlisle and Eden provides information and advice on a range of issues relating to older people and those who care for them.

They specialise in the following topics for those over 50 years of age:

  • Benefits and Money - maximising income through benefit entitlement checks, aiding with the completion of claim forms, and challenging decisions (where we have supported with the application).
  • Social Care - identifying the type of care and support that a Client may need and what statutory and non- statutory services are available to meet these. Providing information on how to access them and their respective eligibility criteria.
  • Housing Options - advice on the different types of housing available, and how to access repairs, aids, and adaptations.
  • Local Services - advising on the support, groups, activities, and concessions available locally.

What help is available:

  • Information guides and factsheets are available, covering a wide variety of topics affecting older people and those who care for them.
  • Support is still being provided via the Telephone. Please call us on 01228 536673, Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm.
  • A home visit can be arranged, following the completion of a telephone risk assessment and prior agreement from the Information and Advice Team Manager.
  • Face to Face Drop-in Sessions will be held weekly -Tuesdays between 10am and 2pm at Eden Sight Support, 1 Mostyn Hall/Friargate, Penrith CA11 7XR
    Wednesdays between 10am and 2pm at 20 Spencer Street, Carlisle, CA1 1BG.
  • Outreach sessions will also be available throughout the districts and events will be advertised, via social media.


Help with health


Community Pharmacy Think Pharmacy First Service

This winter, there are a number of factors affecting healthcare, where community pharmacy can support. These include issues in cost-of-living, healthcare capacity and health inequalities. As a result, there is an urgent need to promote use of community pharmacy for minor illness to the wider population, including access to medicines free of charge for vulnerable groups. This has two aims:

  • To increase use of community pharmacies for minor ailments
  • To increase uptake of Think Pharmacy First for vulnerable people

Pharmacies across Cumbria have always been able to offer free advice, when attending the pharmacy also be aware of the THINK PHARMACY FIRST service which is available if you or your child has a minor illness.

This service can offer advice and treatment on a range of minor health problems including:

  • Digestive disorders - indigestion, heartburn, constipation and diarrhoea
  •  Pain and inflammation
  • Eye symptoms - conjunctivitis - over 1 years old, hayfever
  • Infections - thread worms and our great friend - the head lice
  • Coughs, colds, flu and sore throats
  • Fever, earache, coughs and colds, nappy rash
  • Skin problems - hayfever, acne, eczema, bites and stings.

If you are registered with a GP practice across North Cumbria or the North East, the majority of pharmacies in these areas can offer this service. 

Just walk in to get advice and support from our pharmacy teams, and if you do not pay for your prescriptions, the pharmacist will be able to provide you with some medicines for minor illness free of charge. 

If you have any questions, please ask your community pharmacy teams for more information.

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