Help with the rising cost of living

This page has information about services you can get, from advice hubs and discounts to financial and practical support, if you are struggling to pay for the essentials such as rent, food, fuel, clothes, furniture, debt and more. 

If you need further information on any of the below information, you can contact the Welfare Rights Service

  • Benefits

    Benefits support residents in our borough on low incomes and those with specific needs. This can range from benefits for people who need regular care or attention because of disabilities to unemployment benefits.

    Take a look at our factsheets on benefits provided by the Welfare Rights Service.

    Universal Credit

    If you are not already claiming any benefits, you might qualify for Universal Credit. You can get advice if you are unsure whether you should be claiming, or whether Universal Credit will be right for you.

    If you are already receiving benefits, it is worth checking if you are receiving the correct amount.

    Look at our online calculator

  • Free money, debt and benefits support at Advice Hubs

    The Council has rolled out of three advice hubs at community centres in Greenwich Peninsula, Eltham and Glyndon that will offer residents the chance to get free face-to-face welfare benefits and debt advice, at weekly drop-in sessions.

    This is on top of additional advice hubs and centres already on offer.

    Find out where to get the support you need on our website

    Debt Free London

    Get 24/7 confidential support and advice from Debt Free London. They offer services around debt, saving and budgeting.

    Whether you need advice on rent arrears, council tax, utility bills, credit cards or loan debt, advisors will be on hand night or day.

    Visit the Debt Free London website

    Charitable grants through Turn2Us

    The registered charity helps people living in poverty in the UK. Turn2us also provides information and support allowing residents to find grants they may be entitled to.

    Charitable grants do not have to be paid back. Many charitable funds will help people who have No Recourse to Public Funds - and cannot claim welfare benefits.

    Take a look at the grant calculator on Turn2Us

  • Financial housing support

    You may qualify for help with rent through the benefits system. Anyone can claim benefits - including homeowners and private tenants.

    Discretionary housing payment

    If your rent is not met in full by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and you have a temporary situation which makes it difficult to pay your rent, you can apply for extra help in the form of discretionary housing payments (DHP).

    Anyone can apply for a DHP, including homes owners and private tenants, but you have to already be a recipient of benefits to be eligible.

    Find out if you are eligible for DHP and how to apply

    Risk of homelessness

    If you are homeless or worried about becoming homeless, contact the Housing Inclusion team as soon as you can. You can often avoid becoming homeless if you act quickly and get the right help.

    Ways we can help prevent you from becoming homeless include:

    • helping you avoid being evicted by a private landlord
    • negotiating with your lender if you're a homeowner
    • advising you on finding somewhere else to live

    Get help if you're worried about homelessness

    Help with council tax

    You could be entitled to a reduction of your council tax bill, for example, if you are on a low income, live alone or share your home with someone who is not your partner and who cannot help you pay rent or council tax.

    Find out if your liability is correct

    Council tax discount - people in detention

    Discounts will be given to some eligible detainees; however, this discount will not apply if a person is in police custody before their first court appearance or if they are detained for non-payment of council tax or a fine.

    To find out if you are entitled to a discount visit our website.

    Breathing Space - help with rent or mortgage arrears

    To access Breathing Space, you need to speak to a debt advisor. The scheme can help people struggling with debt, including rent or mortgage arrears. Support includes freezing payment demands and legal action while you get free debt advice.

    It could also stop or delay eviction for rent arrears or mortgage repossession whilst you are seeking help. It is sometimes called the debt respite scheme.

    Find out how to get support with debt or rent arrears

    How to deal with mortgage arrears

    Shelter has shared advice on how to deal with mortgage arrears. This includes steps on how to increase your income, reduce your outgoings and how to set up an agreement plan with your lender should you need to go down this route.

    Find out if the advice can help you by visiting the Shelter website

  • Council Tax Rebate of £150 for council bands A to D

    Households in England in council tax bands A to D will receive £150 from their Council from April 2022 as part of the Government's Energy Bills Rebate.

    If you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, apply for the money to be sent to your bank, or to be credited to your council tax account

    Discretionary Council Tax Rebate for eligible homes in council bands E to H

    The Discretionary Council Tax Rebate is a one-off payment to eligible homes in council tax bands E to H to help with rising energy costs. It is part of the Government's Energy Bills Rebate scheme.

    If you get Council Tax Support in bands E to H, you will receive a payment of £150. If you do not get Council Tax Support and live in band E, you will receive a payment of £65.

    If you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, apply for the money to be sent to your bank.

    Stay Warm Stay Safe

    Being able to afford to heat your home can be a real worry, but there's help available. The Council provides extra services and support for residents who may be at risk during cold weather.

    Residents who are over 60, caring for a young or vulnerable person or having problems paying their winter fuel bills could be eligible for support from Stay Warm Stay Safe.

    Check if you are eligible and how to apply

    Big London Energy Switch

    A cooperative energy switching scheme that allows youto see whether you can get a better deal on gas and electricity. The cooperative may get lower prices from energy suppliers because it has more purchasing power. This is available to all residents.

    Sign up on the Big London Energy Switch website

    South East London Community Energy Co-op

    Keep warm and well at home for less with customised free energy advice at a local cafe.

    South East London Community Energy (SELCE) is a local not-for-profit registered society for the benefit of the Community.

    Learn more and get advice on their website

    Water Sure and WaterHelp schemes

    Thames Water launched WaterSure and WaterHelp schemes to lighten the load on households in need of extra support. This includes low-income households, households with large families and those who have a water-dependent medical condition.

    Find our more on the Thames Water website

    Warm Home Discount

    The Warm Home Discount is a grant which the Government funds for eligible residents, towards electricity bills. You can apply for this directly through your supplier, giving eligible homes £140 off their electricity bill for winter 2021 to 2022.

    Learn more about the grant on Gov.uk

  • Food banks through Live Well

    If you are concerned about not being able to afford food or utility bills and would like advice on the help available to you, you can contact Live Well Greenwich.

    They can refer you to food banks if you need food bank vouchers. Live Well provides information on a wide range of issues that impact your health and wellbeing, including debt and finance, work and training, housing and social isolation.

    Visit the Live Well website

    Free School Meals

    If you receive a qualifying benefit and you have a child in primary or secondary school, you may be able to get free school meals, school clothing grants or school journey grants for your child.

    Free School Meals eligiblity and application

    Healthy Start

    If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food, milk and vitamins to promote good health.

    If you're eligible, you'll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops.

    Find out if you are eligible and how to apply

    Holiday Meals

    Free meals are available throughout the school holidays for any child that needs one.

    Available at libraries and adventure play centres, there is no need sign up - just turn up and tuck in.

    Find your nearest location for holiday meals

    Low-cost fruit and vegetables

    Low-cost fruit and vegetable stalls within some local children's centres may be helpful for families struggling with affording nutritious ingredients. Check with your local centre to see if this is available.

    Take a look at our directory of children's centres

    Cookery clubs

    Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency (GCDA) runs several five-week Cookery Clubs each year throughout the borough in community venues and online that are open to all.

    All the ingredients and equipment are included, and participants who attend at least 4 of the 5 weeks will receive a recipe book to help them continue their journey at home.

    Find out more about cooking with Good Food in Greenwich

    Community kitchen

    Residents can get access to free monthly community meals rotating around the borough at different community centres.

    Find out more about Good Food in Greenwich Community Kitchen

  • Broadband and phone packages

    Many internet and mobile phone providers offer social tariffs, this means you may qualify for reduced bills when it comes to your broadband and phone contracts.

    Information is available on Ofcom

    Travel

    You may be eligible for free or discounted travel through Transport for London Services.

    You can find out more on the TFL website

  • Help with prescription costs

    Help can be available towards the cost of prescriptions through a pre-payment certificate, which can save you money if you regularly need to buy prescriptions.

    More information is available on the NHS website

    Low income support for health needs

    Households on a low income may also qualify for the NHS Low Income Scheme, which can contribute towards the costs of various health needs.

    More information can be found on the NHS website

    Stop smoking

    If you would like more disposable income by quitting smoking, you can get support and information about local stop smoking drop-in centres, stop smoking medications and e-cigarettes.

    Call the Live Well Greenwich Stop Smoking Service free on 0800 470 4831 or texting 'QUIT' to 60060

    Visit the Live Well Greenwich website for support in quitting

  • Families Information Service

    The Families Information Service offers help and advice on issues that affect you and your family. The free service is open to anyone in Royal Greenwich with children up to the age of 19 (or up to 25 for families with disabled young people).

    You can get information about educations, early years, school services, children with disabilities, benefits and work.

    Find out how the Families Information Service can support you

    Young mothers

    Having a child when you are young does not mean you cannot continue your education or are not able to receive support from the Council.

    See resources available including childcare and education

    Free early learning

    Free early learning places are available in Royal Greenwich for some two-year-old and all three and four-year-old children.

    Find out what support you can have for two year olds

    Find out what support you can have for three and four year olds

    Get help finding childcare

    The Families Information Service can offer advice on identifying financial support to help with the cost of childcare while you study, train or work.

    You can find out if you are eligible for financial support for childcare costs by using the GOV.UK calculator

    Contact the team, and find additional resources from the Families Information Service

    Children's centres

    There are 23 children's centres around the borough that offer free or low-cost activities for children under five years old, parents, carers and their families.

    Find cheap or free activities at your local children's centre

    Tax Free Childcare

    You can get up to £500 every three months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every three months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).

    If you get Tax Free Childcare, you'll set up an online childcare account for your child. For every £8 you pay into this account, the Government will pay in £2 to use to pay your provider.

    You can get Tax Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you're eligible for both.

    Check if you are eligible on the Gov.uk website

    Clothing and school trip grants

    If you receive a qualifying benefit and you have a child in primary or secondary school, you may be able to school clothing grants or school journey grants for your child.

    Check to see if you are eligible and apply

  • Emergency support scheme

    The emergency support scheme was set up by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to provide discretionary support to local residents in tough times, for example, after a house fire or flood.

    They are intended to help with one-off needs rather than ongoing expenses.

    Learn more about the Emergency Support Scheme

    Community Support Awards

    Community Support Awards are usually provision of basic household items and furniture.

    Find out if you are eligible and how to apply here

    Furniture for free or at affordable prices

    If you do not qualify for a Community Support Award, shown above, you may be able to find some more cost-effective solutions to furnishing your home.

    Free furniture can be found on FreeCycle.org - which is all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free.

    Find your nearest charity shop

    Home improvement grants for homeowners

    You may be eligible for help with the cost of repairs or home improvements if:

    • you are in receipt of an income related benefit or guaranteed pension credit
    • and you or someone living in your household is aged 60 or over, or has a disability, or a long-term illness.

    Grants of up to £5,000 are available to meet the cost of major repairs and essential improvements to your home.

    Find out more about home improvement grants

  • Holiday Fun Fridays

    Free fun activities every Friday throughout the summer holidays in General Gordon Square, Woolwich, from 10am - 4pm

    When: Every Friday from 29 July to 26 August

    Events including Holiday Fun Fridays can be found on our website

    Holiday Food and Fun

    Free activities and healthy food for school aged children and young people (aged 4 to 16-years-old) eligible for Free School Meals (details further down) during the Easter, summer and winter school holidays from 2022-2024.

    Find out more about Holiday Food and Fun

    Adventure play centres

    Adventure play centres are free and provide a fun, safe environment for children to play, under the supervision of qualified, experienced play leaders.

    Find an adventure play centre

    Young Greenwich

    Young Greenwich is Royal Greenwich's youth support service, which offers local children and young people between eight and 19 (up to 25 for people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities), the opportunity to attend youth hubs and take part in free or affordable activities, trips and classes in a fun, safe and welcoming environment outside of school.

    Find out about Young Greenwich

    Leisure and gym membership with Better

    You can get a 50% discounted membership at GLL if you work or study in Royal Greenwich and receiving one of the following:

    • Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit
    • Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit
    • Severe Disablement Allowance, Carers Allowance
    • Senior Citizens (60+ years) or Full Time Students

    Join Better at a reduce rate.

    Greenwich One Card

    It combines your library, leisure centre and local discounts cards in one.

    Membership gives you access to a wide range of discounts on products and services at participating local businesses, shops, cafes and restaurants.

    Get your OneCard now

  • Love Food Hate Waste

    Love Food Hate Waste raises awareness on reducing food waste and help us make better food choices. Some small, practical everyday adjustments in the home can help us reduce food waste, which results in spending less.

    Find tips you can put into action to reduce your costs.

    Library of things

    You can borrow a range of useful products from hoovers, to pasta makers and sewing machines. Whatever you may need for your projects and adventures, instead of buying items to keep, you can rent them from Library of things.

    Find out prices and items available to collect in Woolwich.

  • If you think you are experiencing mental illness, the first step is to visit your GP. You may then be referred to the Oxleas NHS Trust who may arrange for you to see a psychiatrist.

    Once your problem has been diagnosed, a care programme will be developed based on your needs.

    Visit our website for more information on mental health services for adults, young people and children.

    Support through Mind

    Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day-to-day life, making things that others might not think about a bit more difficult.

    Mind have put together tips and guides to help you cope with everyday things like money, work, university and more.

    You can also access free counselling at Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind.

    Support through Samaritans

    Struggling to cope with everyday life doesn't look or feel the same in everyone. We can't generalise about how it'll make you feel or act.

    To find out how the Samaritans can help you, visit their website

  • Advocacy Now

    Advocacy Now helps people have a voice, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need across Royal Greenwich.

    Taking their side, promoting social inclusion, equality and social justice the service is available to all adults from 18 upwards who feel that they need support to make their voice heard in decisions affecting their lives.

    Visit the Advocacy Now website if you need support

    Greenwich Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

    A local charity offering free information, advice and casework to people who live in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

    CAB can help with a wide range of problems, including debt, housing, benefits, employment, family issues, discrimination, consumer complaints and many more.

    The council funds CAB to offer debt advice. Book your appointment and seek support on their website

  • Legal aid can help pay for some or all of your legal costs.

    You may be able to get legal aid if you're on a low income and your problem is serious. For example, you could get legal aid if you're at risk of losing your home or you or your family are at risk of abuse or serious harm such as domestic violence.

    For a complete breakdown on cases where you can apply for legal aid, visit the Law Soceity website.

    University of Greenwich Legal Advice Centre

    The university runs a free online law clinic called the Legal Advice Centre. This is run by the department of Law and Criminology offering advice, this means they cannot represent you or undertake casework on your behalf.

    Get advice on non-urgent legal matters by visiting their website

  • Benefit support and entitlements for people from Ukraine arriving in the UK

    Emergency regulations have been put in place so that you can get financial and employment support from the government - known in the UK as 'benefits' - immediately, without the usual residence or public funds restrictions. You can claim the full range of health benefits and social security benefits from day one of your arrival and are free to live and work in the UK for up to three years.

    You can find out what you are entitled to and reach out to the council online.

    NRPF

    A national network safeguarding the welfare of destitute families, adults and care leavers who are unable to access benefits due to their immigration status.

    To find out more about your rights and entitlements visit the NRPF Network website.

  • Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB)

    The Council's skills and employment broker can help you find a new job as well as providing free careers information. employment support and training.

    Find out how GLLaB can help you.

  • The Greenwich Domestic Violence and Abuse Service (GDVA)

    If you are a victim of domestic abuse, free and confidential support is available through GDVA.

    Call the advice line on 020 8317 8273 (Monday to Friday 9.00am - 6.00pm) for non-judgmental information and support.

    In an emergency, always call 999.

    Seek free and confidential advice from the GDVA website

    Her Centre

    The Her Centre also offers free and confidential advocacy, counselling, weekly drop-in services, advice and training for the survivors of gender-based violence.

    This includes domestic abuse, sexual abuse, young women's relationship abuse, health and wellbeing and more.

    The centre will also signpost those seeking support on legal issues or immigration. Find out how the Her Centre can help you.

If you need further information, you can contact the Welfare Rights Service