Find out what support is available to help you and your family get through the cost-of-living crisis.
This factsheet provides our school’s families with the help available locally. We have added links and addresses/phone numbers to help
Let us know if you’re in financial difficulty
At St Joseph’s Catholic High School, we know that many families are going through a tough time and as a school we want to do everything we can to help you and your child. If you’re struggling with your finances, please get in touch to let us know, as there may be things we can suggest which will help.
Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Family Hub
Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB)
You don’t have to be a UK citizen to get support from your local CAB, you just need to be
a resident of the local area. The CAB can help you with:
- Getting benefits or organising other financial support
- Accessing support for essential costs (food, bills, rent)
Visit the Citizens Advice website or contact your local branch to book an appointment. Your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau is found at -Town Hall, Oxford St, Workington, CA14, tel. 01900 604735
Check you’re paying the right amount of tax
Make sure you’re on the right tax code. If you aren’t, you might be due a refund. Use the Money Saving Expert Tax codes: free tax calculator to check yours – MSE (moneysavingexpert.com) free tax code calculator to find out.
Claim any benefits you’re entitled to
Use one of these benefits calculators to determine whether there are any benefits you could be claiming:
- Checking benefit entitlement – Turn2us
- Better Off Calculator from Policy in Practice
- Housing and support options for migrant families | Compas (nrpfnetwork.org.uk) – use this calculator if you are a migrant family, or if you have no recourse to public funds (meaning you’re not entitled to the majority of welfare benefits)
You may be able to get benefits paid early if you need cash urgently – this is known as ‘a short-term benefit advance’. You will need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) office at Simon House 197 199, Vulcan’s Lane, Workington, Tel- 09456043719 who would be handling your claim.
Check you’ve received all the government’s cost-of-living payments
The government’s Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) are available for those receiving certain benefits or tax credits. You don’t need to apply for these – if you’re eligible the money should go straight into your account. You could also read this PDF for more help and information about cost-of-living issues Cost of Living Booklet (cumberland.gov.uk)
If you think you’re due a payment but haven’t received one, r Report a missing Cost of Living Payment – GOV.UK (dwp.gov.uk) to the government.
Be aware of scams! If you receive any emails, texts or phone calls asking you to fill in an application form or asking for your bank details to receive a cost-of-living payment, do not talk to them or send a reply. Get more information on cost of living scams on the Money saving Expert’ s website Warning: Three cost of living scams to watch out for as fraudsters try to exploit the crisis (moneysavingexpert.com)
Find out what help you can get with your energy bills
Take a look at these resources from the British Gas Energy Trust – Independent advice and support – British Gas and here from the Money saving expert offer advice on saving money on bills Gas, Electric & Water Guides – MoneySavingExpert
Check if your child is entitled to free school meals (FSM)
If your child is eligible for FSM you need to get them registered. This will allow them to get a free meal at school and, as a school, we’ll get extra funding (known as the pupil premium) to support your child’s learning.
Go to Cumberland Council Free school meals and clothing vouchers | Cumberland Councilto check if your child is eligible. If they are, or if you’re not sure, you can go to the link below for more information where you can sign up for the Citizen’s portal and therefore apply for FSM and clothing grants Apply for free school meals and clothing vouchers | Cumbria County Council (cumberland.gov.uk)
See what other support you can get from your local authority
For more information about what is available from Cumberland Council please go to the link below and it will sign post you to a range of options that might be able to help you.
Local authorities have many schemes that you might be eligible for, including:
- The Holiday Activity and Food Programme for CC link is here Cumbria’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme | Cumberland Council– this explains what access there is to food and activities over the school holidays. Note that if your child is eligible for free school meals (see above), they’ll also qualify for this programme
- Help with transport to school is here School Transport | Cumberland Council
- Help with uniform can be found here Apply for free school meals and clothing vouchers | Cumbria County Council (cumberland.gov.uk) However in school we do collect and redistribute all items of school uniform. If you would like to access to this please get in touch with your child’s Head of Year at school. Hospice at Home in Workington also stocks second hand uniform where you can pop in and browse.
- Welfare – Mental health and wellbeing | Cumbria County Council (cumberland.gov.uk) with help with Mental Health and Wellbeing
Get free or low-cost food
If you’re worried about not having enough food to feed your family, you’re not alone. There are
a number of places offering support.
- At school we currently offer a free hot buttered bagel in the mornings, and free fresh fruit is available every day for all students to help themselves to.
- If you have a child under 4, and meet the eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to Healthy Start School Vouchers How to apply – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)
- There are many foodbanks in your local area including Workington, Maryport, Cockermouth and many others, click here for more information Centres | North Lakes Foodbank | Cumbria (thefoodbank.org.uk)
- You could also try the Trussell Trust North Lakes Foodbank – The Trussell Trust , or your Community Fridge top tips Tips for change | Hubbub Foundation
- Use food waste apps and websites like Olio – Your Local Sharing App (olioapp.com) (for free food and household items from your local community)
- Get more tips on free and cheap meals from here Seven tips for cooking cheap healthy meals – Which? News or here Budget dinner recipes | BBC Good Food
Free hygiene products
- We have free sanitary ware available from our pastoral office in school, and also the local Food banks may offer free toiletries and sanitary products. Check with your local food bank to see what’s available Centres | North Lakes Foodbank | Cumbria (thefoodbank.org.uk)
- Find the cheapest disposable sanitary products on Sanitary Saver
Replace or repair household items at a low cost or for free
Check if you can get broken household goods replaced or repaired by your local community.
- Get free household goods on Freecycle: West Lakes UK Group
- Get help with DIY repairs at a Repair Café such as this one in Keswick Keswick Repair Cafe | Keswick | Facebook and you can get things stitched and repaired at Repair Station | Make Your Gear Last Longer | Alpkit
Find a warm space to beat the chill
Some community spaces open their doors to provide a safe and warm space for a few hours. Many also offer hot drinks and WiFi.
Many warm spaces are available locally, including the Oval Centre, Workington, and Kings Church in Cockermouth.
Find a warm space on:
- Warm Welcome Find a Warm Welcome Space Today
- Warm Spaces Warm Spaces
- Also, this link might be able to help you ensure your house is as warm and cosy as possible Affordable Warmth (allerdale.gov.uk) through the Sustainable Warmth Cumbria scheme. Alternatively you might find the information on the Winter Warmth scheme useful to apply for in this link Welfare – help with housing and heating | Cumberland Council
Contact StepChange Debt Charity – Free Expert Debt Advice. for debt advice
Contact Home – Shelter England if you’re having issues related to housing
Contact the Homepage | The Salvation Army for emergency assistance
See if you’re eligible for grants turn to Fighting UK Poverty – Turn2us
Single parents can get support from Home | Gingerbread