The rising cost of living is affecting everybody across Somerset in a variety of different ways. We want to support those most affected, including those who may have not faced financial challenge in their lives before.

Throughout these pages, you can find useful websites, community organisations, advice and guidance to help you through the rising cost of living. If you need help, contact us or one of the organisations in this guide. There’s advice, support and information available across Somerset.

The pressures around the cost of living can also affect our mental health and wellbeing, making us feel stressed, anxious, or low. It’s important to look after your wellbeing and there are local organisations that can provide help and support.

Local support

Local support information

Somerset Local Household Support Fund

Are you struggling with bills? Support is available with the Somerset Household Support Fund. It is designed to provide short-term urgent financial help to Somerset residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as buying food, paying for energy and water bills and other essential household items such as beds and white goods.

Local support from the Centre for Sustainable Energy

You can reduce your energy bills by making your home more energy efficient. This will be particularly important as winter approaches. Visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy website for home energy advice.

To get in touch with them, phone 0800 082 2234 or visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy Contact us page.

Local ‘Surviving Winter’ Appeal

The Somerset Community Foundation has launched its ‘Surviving Winter’ appeal. This will help to support elderly residents who are struggling to heat their homes this winter.

Somerset’s Local Warm Welcome Initiative

Somerset Council is supporting the rollout of “Warm Welcome” spaces across Somerset. As temperatures fall this winter and energy bills skyrocket, these venues will provide places where people can find warmth, company, and support.

Spaces are or will shortly be open thanks to work carried out by Spark Somerset and Somerset Community Foundation to help fund some of the venue costs, map the venues and support providers with setting up where needed.

These spaces are free to use, and open to anyone who wants somewhere warm and welcoming to go. The venues include Somerset Council libraries, village halls, churches and café and will provide a warm and friendly environment where people can socialise, stay warm and access support and information that they may need.

To find a space near you visit the XMAP Public Map.

Local Food Support

The cost of your weekly shop has never been so high – for many, making ends meet is a real struggle, but for anyone who is struggling to buy their own food there is help available.

A series of food banks and food pantries are operating across Somerset. Find your local support in the XMAP Public Map.

Somerset Local Crisis Fund

The Somerset Crisis Fund from the Community Council for Somerset allows Community Agents to access funds to pay for things to get people out of crisis and help make their lives instantly better. This is not cash donations given to individuals.

Somerset Local Financial Well-being Project

Somerset Financial Well-being Project is an initiative funded by Somerset Council. It brings together four not-for-profit credit unions operating throughout Somerset and the wider South-West region, and a number of local and national respected charities and community groups.

It offers free financial well-being information, free community events and free training to anyone who lives or works in Somerset. To find out more, visit Westcountry Savings and Loans.

Local Community Council for Somerset

The Community Council for Somerset will put you in touch with your Village and Community Agent who provide confidential, practical community-based solutions for people in Somerset.

For more information, visit the Somerset village and community agents website. Or, phone 01823 331222.

Citizens Advice Somerset – Local Money Advice Team

Talking about your money is a very private matter and we understand this.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation financially or are struggling to make ends meet, then you are not alone, money worries are more common than you think. To find out more, visit the Citizen Advice Somerset – Specialised Services page.

Local Village Agents Talking Cafes

Talking Cafes provide a local place you can pop into, for advice and support from your local Village Agent on anything that is worrying you, or if you just want a friendly chat.

National support

National Support information

National energy bills support scheme

The government will give every household in the country a discount of £400 off their electricity bill, via the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

This discount will be automatically applied to your energy account over 6 months.

The National Energy Price Guarantee

The government has set out decisive action to support people and businesses with their energy bills and tackle the root causes of the issues in the UK energy market through increased supply – ensuring the country is not left in the same position again.

More information can be found on the GOV.UK Energy Price Guarantee website.

National Cold Weather Payment

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you are getting certain benefits. This scheme is expected to reopen in November 2022.

The Winter Fuel Payment is usually paid automatically in November or December if you are eligible.

National support with interest payments on mortgages or loans

If you are a homeowner on qualifying benefits, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on your mortgage or loans you have taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home.

For more information, visit GOV.UK Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

National Cost of Living Payments

Households on means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, Pension Credit and Tax Credits, will receive a payment of £650 this year.

This will be made automatically in two instalments, one in summer and another in autumn.

To check if you are eligible, visit the Cost of living support factsheet.

Staying well

This Autumn and Winter we expect to see both flu and Covid viruses circulating. With the UK experiencing its first flu season since 2019, the population will have less immunity than previous flu seasons. The best way to protect ourselves our friends and our families, is by taking up all the vaccinations that we are eligible for.

Free Autumn Covid-19 Vaccination

The Autumn Booster vaccination programme began on 5 September 2022, focusing first on delivering the vaccination to care home residents and people who are housebound.

Appointments are now available to anyone who is:

  • Age 50 or over
  • Pregnant
  • Immunosuppressed
  • Health and Social Care Worker
  • Carer (paid or unpaid)

Vaccinations are currently by appointment only. The NHS will be inviting all eligible people to come forward but anyone who falls into the groups listed above can book online via the NHS website, or phone 119.

In order to receive the Autumn Booster, people must have already received the full course of previous vaccinations (1st, 2nd dose and initial booster) with the last vaccination being 91 days or more prior.

Find out more information on our COVID-19 vaccination programme page.

Support for Carers

Support for Carers information

Somerset Carers

Caring for another person is very rewarding but can be overwhelming and lonely at times. You can receive support from Somerset Carers for free if you are over 18 and you look after someone in an ‘unpaid’ caring capacity (not employed or self-employed as a Carer).

To find out more, visit Free support and information for Carers just like you – Somerset Carers.

Carer’s Allowance

You could get £69.70 a week if you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and the person you care for gets certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for.

To check if you are eligible, visit Carer’s Allowance.

Disability Cost of Living Payments (Carers)

Individuals on disability benefits will receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport.

This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means-tested benefits.

To check if you are eligible, visit the Cost of living support factsheet.

Support for people living with a disability

Support for people living with a disability information

Disability Cost of Living Payments

Individuals on disability benefits will receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport.

This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means-tested benefits. To check if you are eligible, visit the Cost of living support factsheet.

Disability Benefits for autistic adults

Some benefits are paid to meet basic living costs, some are paid for specific expenses such as rent, and other benefits are paid if you meet certain criteria such as being in full-time work.

Find out more at National Autistic Society – Benefits for autistic adults.

Cost of living advice for people with learning disabilities
Concessionary bus passes (Disability)

If you live in England and you have a disability, then you may be eligible for a concessionary bus pass. Apply for a concessionary bus pass.

Support for families

Support for families information

Food Support for Families

We want to make sure no child or adult in Somerset goes hungry. Our aim is to meet the immediate need for food and work with families to address their needs.

To find out more, visit Food support for families in Somerset.

Help with family childcare costs

You may be eligible for funding to help with your childcare costs.  Funding is available for 2- to 4-year-olds if you meet the eligibility criteria.  Find out about the various funding options and whether your child is eligible.

Claim Healthy Start family vouchers

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be able to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

To find out more, visit Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start).

Happy Healthy Holidays – Somerset Families

Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership will be running their Happy Healthy Holidays programme across Somerset between 19-23 December.

Funding has been made available by Somerset Council to enable local groups to provide holiday activities including food to children eligible for free school meals in Somerset.

To find out more, visit Happy Healthy Holiday Programme.

Get help with family maternity costs

You could claim a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child.

To find out more, visit Sure Start Maternity Grant.

Family Fund

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

To find out more, visit Family Fund.

Support for older people

Support for older people information

Age UK Somerset – Support

Age UK Somerset provides an independent, confidential and free welfare benefits service for older people. They offer advice on benefits for people receiving the State Pension.

To find out more, visit Age UK Somerset – Help with Benefits.

Pension Credit for those on low income

You could get extra money to help with your living costs if you are over State Pension age and on a low income, even if you have savings or own your own home.

Check if you are eligible for a Pension Credit.

Winter Fuel Payments and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment

In the winter months pensioners can get between £100 and £300 to help pay heating bills.

This winter, they will also receive an extra £300 Pensioner Cost of Living Payment per household, which will be paid as an automatic top-up to the Winter Fuel Payment.

Check if you are eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment.

Concessionary bus passes

Apply for a concessionary bus pass.

Additional help and support

Additional help and support information

Benefits Calculator

You can use an independent, free and anonymous benefits calculator to check what you could be entitled to. This will give you an estimate of:

  • the benefits you could get
  • how much your benefit payments could be
  • how your benefits will be affected if you start work or increase your hours
  • how your benefits will be affected if your circumstances change – for example, if you have a child or move in with your partner
Free NHS Prescriptions

You may be able to get free NHS prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and help with other NHS costs.

Use the NHS tool to see what help you could get.

Mental Health Support

If you are an adult living in Somerset and experiencing difficulties with your mental health, we are here to help. Open Mental Health offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that anyone struggling with poor mental health can access the right support at the right time.

Mindline is a confidential listening service which provides a safe place to talk if you, or someone you know, is in distress. You can phone Mindline on 01823 276 892 or freephone 0800 138 1692, the helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Rehab Recovery is a website to help bring together people who have been affected by addiction and mental health issues.

Last reviewed: March 21, 2024 by Helly

Next review due: September 21, 2024

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