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Emergency support: Help with the cost-of-living

If you’re worried about being able to afford the increased cost-of-living, you’re not alone.

From skyrocketing bills to the sting of inflation at the checkout, everyday essentials are fast becoming luxuries. With soaring prices, it’s no wonder many families, retirees and young professionals are feeling concerned about their financial future.

Whilst there are some things you can do to help your money go further, like budgeting or applying for government schemes, there may be times when you find yourself needing a little extra help. So, whether you’re facing fuel bill anxiety, food insecurity or even the threat of eviction, there’s a lot of emergency support available to help keep you afloat.

In this cost-of-living support guide, we’ve outlined some of the emergency aids available to help you navigate this crisis.

If you can’t afford food

Nobody should go hungry and if you’re struggling to put food on the table, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Whether it’s a warm meal today or long-term support, there’s a network of food banks available across the country. Most food banks operate on a referral basis to offer emergency supplies for those who need it most.

You can get a referral from a range of places including:

  • GPs and health visitors
  • Support workers
  • Local councils
  • Social workers
  • Local charities, such as Citizens Advice
  • The police
  • Your child’s school.

Whilst there are local foodbanks in most towns, the Trussell Trust is a national charity aiming to stop UK hunger. The charity provides a minimum of three days’ emergency food in addition to support and advice to help people better their financial situation. You can find out more about food vouchers and the referral process on the Trussell Trust’s website (External)

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills

Rising energy prices are hitting households hard, making it tough to keep the lights on and the heating humming. If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills or top up your pre-payment meter, reach out to your energy supplier straight away. You’ll find their number on your bill or statement. They may be able to help with:

  • Emergency credit: A temporary top-up to keep your essentials powered.
  • An affordable repayment plan: Spreading out the costs over a longer period, easing the monthly burden.

If your account is already in arrears, try not to panic. Explain the situation to your supplier and they may be able to help find a solution. Additionally, resources like the Fuel Bank Foundation’s website (External) offer invaluable advice on managing your energy accounts.

If you can’t pay your rent

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, it’s important to contact your landlord or letting agency quickly. Although they don’t have to help, most will be reasonable and may agree to put a plan in place so you can pay what you owe at a rate you can afford. After all, we’re all living through the same cost-of-living crisis.

However, be honest with yourself about your current situation. Is this a short-term blip or a long-term affordability issue? If the reality is you can no longer afford that property, then speak to your landlord about releasing you from your tenancy early so you can downsize into a more affordable home sooner.

You can access information and support with the cost-of-living through the government’s Help for Households (External) initiative. There’s also information available on the Citizens Advice website (External) to help you if you’re struggling to pay your rent.

If you can’t pay your mortgage

Homeownership is a significant milestone in a person’s life. After investing so much time and money into your home, it can be devastating to find yourself in this situation. If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, you need to speak to your mortgage lender as soon as possible. Open communication is key.

Repossession is always a last resort, and they’ll work with you to find a way forward which might include arranging a new payment plan or changing the way you make payments. They may even allow you to pay back your mortgage over a longer period to make your monthly payments more affordable.

Beyond your lender, resources such as the StepChange website (External) provide more information about your options if you’re struggling with mortgage repayments, along with access to a free debt advice helpline. You can also find more advice and support through the government’s Help for Households website (External).

If the cost-of-living is affecting your mental health

Worrying about money can impact your mental health, and poor mental health can make managing your money more challenging. Mind’s website (External)has more information about looking after yourself, along with resources to access should you need them. The Samaritans are also available, providing free, 24-hour support by calling 116 123.


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