Date: 29th July
The cost of living crisis is affecting many of us in ways that we might not have imagined. Just when we were seeing the light from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the cost of living, whether that might be rent, utility bills, energy, fuel or even the very basics of food has become far more expensive.
Unfortunately, as many of you will know, there is no easy pill or single method that makes the increased costs disappear. While it is true there is Government support out there, the reality is that for some, it does not negate the sharp costs we’re all incurring.
As a charity which works to play its part in reducing the impact of homelessness, at Harbour Housing, we understand just how tough things are right now. Not just the financial impact, but mental impact too. There’s nothing worse than doing all you can to get through the month but fear it isn’t or won’t be enough in the near future.
We know that there are some of you reading this who might not know what to do if you can’t afford your bills or, worse, if you’re threatened with losing your home – not least as particularly in Cornwall, where we’re based, there’s also an acute housing crisis with a shortage of rental properties causing the few that are available to demand increasingly unaffordable rents.
So we’ve put together a little guide of where you can get help if you’re struggling with the cost of living crisis. While it isn’t a comprehensive list, we hope it will help. If there’s a brilliant service you think we’ve missed, please contact us and we’ll be sure to add it to our list. We should add that our list is just to show you what services and help there is out there – it does not constitute any form of endorsement or represent financial advice; for financial advice it is always best to go to a professional advisor.
Citizens Advice – The Citizens Advice Bureau is a long established charity with branches across the country. They’re able to provide advice on a vast number of issues and can offer comprehensive advice and signposting when it comes to Debt and Money. Visit their Cost of Living page here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/get-help-with-the-cost-of-living/
Turn2Us – Turn2Us is a website where you can check what benefits (such as Universal Credit), grants or financial support schemes are open to you. You can visit it here: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
Cornwall Council – Cornwall Council can provide a number of discretionary support packages and assistance with bills such as Council Tax. You can find more details on their cost of living page at https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/people-and-communities/support-for-residents-struggling-with-the-cost-of-living/
Cornwall Housing – The Cornwall Housing website can help you if you’re facing homelessness. This ranges from early interventions to help prevent homelessness to what you need to do if you’re facing homelessness. Find out more here: https://www.cornwallhousing.org.uk/find-a-home/the-housing-options-service/
Government Website – The UK Government have set up a ‘Help for Households’ website detailing the various support available during the cost-of-living crisis. It covers income support, help with your bills, help with childcare costs, housing support, help with transport costs and help finding work. It also covers discounts and offers available from businesses. It is available at https://costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk/
Money Saving Expert – The Money Saving Expert website, set up and chaired by Martin Lewis offers frequent advice with ways to save money on bills and where to access help. It also features a weekly email newsletter from Martin Lewis himself, detailing the latest ways to get help with saving money and the latest offers available. You can visit the MSE website at https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/
Stepchange – Stepchange is a debt charity which offers free expert debt advice. It can also act in an advocacy capacity, to help you manage your debts and help you liaise with creditors where appropriate. Their website is https://www.stepchange.org/
National Energy Action – National Energy Action is a website where you can access advice and support if you’re struggling to heat your home. You can find out more on the ‘get help’ section of their website here: https://www.nea.org.uk/get-help/
Fuelbank Foundation – The Fuel Bank Foundation website has information on the schemes available to help if you’re in fuel debt or need support in any way. You can get help at their website here: https://www.fuelbankfoundation.org/individuals/
Cooking on a Bootstrap – The Cooking on a Bootstrap website, run by poverty campaigner and chef Jack Monroe, features a vast quantity of free recipes for nutritious meals which can be cooked on a budget. You can visit the website here: https://cookingonabootstrap.com/category/recipes-food/
The Trussell Trust – The Trussell Trust runs the UK’s largest network of foodbanks across the United Kingdom, including here in Cornwall. Find your local foodbank and how you can access it here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
DISC (Newquay) – DISC (Drop in and Share Centre) is a community group we work closely with here at Harbour Housing. Run by a team of volunteers led by Monique Collins, it provides access to nutritious meals, food and support at the time you need it most. https://www.facebook.com/DiscNewquay
CHAOS Group – CHAOS are an organisation where it’s probably easier to list the things they don’t do. They run a food box scheme, in addition to a volunteer led food growing initiative, run larders and work with other charities to help people in need. You can find out more about all the things they do here: https://linktr.ee/CHAOSLocal
If you are currently in a crisis, please call the Cornwall Mental Health Crisis Hotline on 0800 038 5300 or if you’ve been given a crisis line number to use in an emergency, call it.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 999.
The Samaritans – The Samaritans are available to talk to, regardless of what you’re going through from any phone for free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a reply within 24 hours or to talk to them, call 116 123.
Shout – Shout is a confidential 24/7 text support service and is available if you’re struggling to cope and need mental health support. Text 85258 or visit https://giveusashout.org/ .
CALM – The campaign against living miserably (CALM) is a service specifically for men. It is open seven days a week from 5pm to midnight and available on their website https://www.thecalmzone.net/
Papyrus – Papyrus is a service for people under 35. Call 0800 068 4141 or text 07786 209697. Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Evenings 7pm to 10pm. Weekends 2pm to 5pm. Visit their website at https://www.papyrus-uk.org/