- What help is there?
- Breathing Space - Debt Support
- Financial Support if required to self-isolate and on low income
- Household Support Fund
- Surrey Crisis Fund
- Housing Benefit and Council Tax
- Winter energy bills funding and support
- Red Cross Hardship Fund
- Job Centres
- Social Care Direct Payments
- Universal Credit
- Citizens Advice
- Club4 school holiday support
If you're struggling financially – help is there
Some families may be struggling financially as a result of COVID. Differing groups of the community will have differing financial needs.
The latest Government guidance can be found here Coronavirus (COVID-19): Work and financial support - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Some grants have also been provided to Surrey County Council and District and Borough Councils to help fund various services where people might be struggling financially.
If you can't find the information you need from the list below. You can call the Surrey Community Helpline who will be happy to signpost you to the relevant local help and support that may be available to you.
Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008
Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm
SMS 0786 0053 465 for Deaf and hearing impaired residents only (Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm)
Breathing Space - Debt Support
The new Government scheme "Breathing Space" gives you temporary protection from most types of debt collection, while you work with a debt adviser to take action to get on top of your finances. You can be protected from creditors for 60 days, with most interest and penalty charges frozen and enforcement action halted. Certain types of payments including ongoing housing costs, utility bills and taxes will still need to be paid during this time. More information at Surrey County Council Breathing Space debt support.
Financial support for those on low income if asked to self-isolate or looking after a child who needs to self-isolate
If you're asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or you are looking after a child who needs to self-isolate and you're on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, you may be entitled to a payment of £500. This is provided via your local district or borough council under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.
More information about the scheme can be found on the Gov.uk web pages Test and Trace Support Scheme Financial Claiming.
Household Support Fund
Funding has been allocated via the Department of Work and Pensions to help those families who are struggling financially in Surrey. Financial assistance will be available for food, fuel, water and other essentials, and will be distributed via organisations within the county who become aware of those families that are in financial crisis.
How the fund will be allocated…
- The Council decided that £2m of the fund would be used to enable the continued provision of food vouchers to eligible children over the October half term, Christmas holidays and upto Easter 2022.
- A further £2.8m has been allocated to borough and district councils who will work alongside representatives from the voluntary, community and faith sector (VCF) to help the most vulnerable households in their area.
- Money has also been set aside to top up food banks, community fridges and food clubs.
- Surrey County Council's Surrey Crisis Fund will be further equipped to meet demand until the end of the financial year.
Website contact details for District and Borough support:-
Other Surrey Wide organisations that will be receiving funding to support residents:
- Surrey Care Association will actively support carers. Many carers cannot work due to obvious care duties and find themselves in situations of poverty.
- Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum will be utilising their minority ethnic network member organisations to reach those communities and vulnerable households that otherwise may not access forms of support.
- Transform Housing have single people living independently of all ages who are on universal credit and fall out of wider support available for families/children so they will further support these people using this fund.
- Surrey Community Action through their existing 'Fuel Poverty Project' will continue to support hundreds of people through their partners and networks Including foodbanks and National Energy Action groups.
Surrey Crisis Fund
The Surrey Crisis Fund is a discretionary fund run by Surrey County Council providing financial help to Surrey residents who have nowhere else to turn in an emergency or after a disaster. Depending on your circumstances which will be considered when you apply you could be eligible for some of the following support:-
- food and toiletries
- essential white goods and furniture; please note we do not provide replacement items
- certain utilities
- emergency travel costs (hospital appointments, job interviews, etc)
Help with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
If you need help with Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support please contact your local District and Borough Council their contact details can be found at Surrey County Council - Borough and District Councils (surreycc.gov.uk)
Help with winter energy bills
With rising fuel costs and changes in financial circumstances there is funding available to help with fuel bills. Some people are eligible for support from the Government through the winter fuel and cold weather payments. These should be paid to qualifying residents automatically. Information below or call 0800 7310160
Local support to stay warm
Surrey County Council work with organisations which provide information and advice to our residents on how to keep a home warm and direct residents to Government grants that may be available for heating and insulation measures and other types of installations to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
- Visit Action Surrey or call 0800 783 2505.
- Visit HEAT Project - Happy energy solutions
- Age UK Surrey provide information to help people stay safe, warm and well in the winter, including money saving tips and advice on benefits and grants, advocacy and counselling.
Red Cross Hardship Fund
The Red Cross Hardship Fund was created by the British Red Cross with their partner Aviva and the Aviva Foundation to help those most financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
If you require information regarding claiming benefits during this time please click through to the Department of Work and Pensions Benefits during COVID-19 web page.
Surrey Welfare Rights Unit (SWRU) website contains up to date information about benefits available. There is guidance for the self-employed .
Job centres will remain open and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.
Advice about how to access benefits and job centre appointments can be found on the Governments support for benefit claimants and businesses web page.
Social Care Direct Payments
If you receive Direct Payments for your social care provision for a personal assistant you should have received this letter from Adult Social Care.
Advice about Universal Credit can be found here. You can also call the Universal Credit helpline to get help making your claim online or if you need help applying for an advance payment.
Telephone 0800328 5644 or Textphone 0800 328 1344 (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).
Citizens Advice Service
Citizens Advice Service can help with enquiries about benefits and financial support. Their service is now completely online here at Citizens Advice Service
Or call Adviceline (England): 0800 144 8848. Relay UK - if you can't hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say: 18001 then 0800 144 8884
Surrey Family Information Service
Surrey Family Information Service has a list of organisations which are local and national charities that may be able to help individual families in need. You can find details of organisations that can offer financial help on the Surrey Family Information Service Financial Support web pages.
If you're struggling to put food on the table
Food banks and Community Fridges are there for people struggling financially to put food on the table. Visit the Surrey Information Point website for details on foodbanks and Community Fridges available in Surrey.
The Trussell Trust – There are over 1,200 food bank centres across the UK who provide a minimum of three days' emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis. Please visit their get help page.
Club4 school holiday support
Club4 is for children of school age who receive benefit-related free school meals. Part of the Marcus-Rashford inspired Holiday Activity and Food programme to keep children busy over the school holidays. The scheme offers parents a helping hand by giving children the chance to stay active and engaged alongside others of the same age. They also receive a healthy meal each day and it's all completely free.
These camps are run by trained local providers all over the county but places are limited however there are online activities to keep children entertained at home. To book a place at the next series of camps or to look at what is available online visit Club4 holiday activities in Surrey.