Help with the rising cost of living
We’ve created a guide: help at hand – cost of living support guide (PDF 2.8mb)
It covers support announced by the Council, Government and others – available now and additional support over the coming months.
This page outlines some of the support in the guide.
On this page:
This section contains support for:
- households on low incomes
- disabled residents
- council tenants and leaseholders
Support for everyone
You can claim a reduction of up to £80 a month on your Council Tax bill if you are experiencing financial difficulties or on a low income.
You can make a claim by visiting Council tax reduction claim, or call 0208 356 3399.
People claiming Universal Credit need to apply separately for council tax reduction.
This can help towards the costs of food, utilities, household items, travel, and phone and internet access for those who have suffered a sudden financial shock or face unexpected costs and require emergency help.
You must already be receiving Council Tax Reduction and still be in hardship to receive this payment. It is awarded on a case-by-case basis.
For advice and guidance, call 0208 356 3000 and ask to apply for discretionary crisis support. You can also find out more and apply at discretionary hardship scheme.
The Government has announced an Energy Price Guarantee limiting the amount a supplier can charge for a unit of energy. This means from 1 October a typical household will pay no more than £2,500 per year for the next two years.
This is in addition to the £400 payment households will receive under the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme. This will be credited to your energy bill, and will be paid from October onwards and spread over six months. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their account, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.
There is support available if you owe money to:
- credit card company
- family and friends
You can get independent advice that is focused on getting the best possible outcome for you.
You can speak to a completely independent organisation by visiting Money Helper or calling 0800 138 7777 for free, confidential advice.
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax and have difficulties managing debts, call us on 020 8356 3154.
We can help.
Get in touch whether you live:
- in a Council property
- in a social property
- with family and friends
- renting from a private landlord
If you are worried about losing your home, find out how we can help: see housing options and advice or call 020 8356 2929.
We know that the cost of living crisis has made it hard to make ends meet for thousands of families in Hackney.
We can help:
Support for households on low incomes
Households on means-tested benefits will have received the first of two cost of living payments from the Government totalling £650.
The first instalment of £326 was paid 3 July and the second instalment will be made by the Department of Work and Pensions in the autumn.
Those struggling with energy costs may have received additional support through Government funded grants aimed at helping those who:
- are on low income and not eligible for the £150 Council Tax rebate scheme
- have received the £150 rebate and are on low income.
We have been proactively contacting people on low incomes who may have been able to benefit from this scheme.
These help those experiencing difficulty with housing costs where their rent is not met in full by housing benefit or universal credit and they have a temporary situation which makes it difficult to pay their rent.
Apply by visiting discretionary housing payments.
The Mayor of London’s Warmer Homes programme provides free heating, insulation and ventilation improvements for low income Londoners who own their own homes or rent privately. Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available to eligible low income homeowners and private tenants, with funding amounts depending on your existing energy efficiency rating, your tenure and your current fuel type (i.e. gas, electricity, oil or LPG). Applicants need to provide information showing they are (or their tenant is) eligible and details about the property.
Apply by visiting the Mayor of London’s Warmer Homes.
- If you are receiving Council Tax reduction, you can claim an extra £30 cash payment when you apply for your £150 Council Tax rebate payment. See Council Tax rebate.
- If you receive Council Tax reduction and are still struggling with your Council Tax bill you may be eligible for a hardship payment.
In a crisis or emergency you may be eligible for help from the Hackney Discretionary Crisis Support Scheme. Awards are usually only made in exceptional circumstances.The scheme can help with furniture, white goods and essential items.
Support for disabled residents
If you are in receipt of disability benefits including Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance, you will receive an additional £150 in September. This is known as the Disability Cost of Living Payment.
Support for pensioners
All pension-age residents should be in receipt of the Winter Fuel Payment to help towards heating bills. You will get your payment automatically if you’re eligible and either get the State Pension or are in receipt of other social security benefits (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit). An additional £300 will be paid 4 in November and December to those receiving the benefit.
Visit GOV.UK’s Winter fuel payments or call 0800 731 0160.
If you are over the State Pension age and on a low income, this gives you extra support with your living and housing costs. If you receive Pension Credit you can also get other help, such as:
- housing benefit
- support for mortgage interest payments
- a Council Tax discount
- a free TV licence if you’re aged 75 or over
- help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments
- help with your heating costs through the Warm Home Discount Scheme
You can apply for Pension Credit up to four months before you reach the State Pension age. Eligible claims made after you reach state pension age will only be backdated by three months.
If you have already applied for your state pension you can apply for Pension Credits by visiting GOV.UK or by calling 0800 99 1234. Textphone: 0800 169 0133. Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 99 1234.
You can also get help with your application by calling us on 0208 356 3111. We are seeking to identify people who may be eligible for this so if you do receive a text from us it is not a scam. However, if you are concerned and want to check, please call us to check.
Support for Council tenants and leaseholders
If you are facing debt or rent arrears, do not be tempted to approach a loan shark or take a payday loan. Our staff can help Good to know 5 you manage your accounts and help and advise on benefits and dealing with debt.
If you are struggling, contact us as soon as possible, on 0208 356 3100.
The team works with Council tenants at risk of losing their tenancy or lease. Working with partners, they seek to help tenants keep their homes through early intervention. People are referred to the scheme for support. If you feel you benefit from their help speak to the professional advisor you are working with.
If you are not working with a professional but feel the team can help contact your local housing officer on email@example.com or 0208 356 3330.
The team supports Council tenants make the best use of the income and tackle their debt through developing tailored support plans or signposting them to other services who can help.
If you would like to be referred to the service, contact Income Services on 0208 356 3100.
Leaseholders having issues paying their service charges or major works bills or want to amend their payment plans should contact our Income Disputes Officers to discuss potential options.
You can contact Homeownership Services via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 356 2299.
Through this initiative the Council has worked with broadband providers to ensure packages are on offer to enable people on lower incomes to benefit from full fibre broadband. Once an estate is connected as part of the scheme, the providers will directly advertise broadband services to residents, who can choose whether or not they wish to take up any of the offers available.
Visit Better Broadband.
Support for businesses
See cost of living – support for businesses for more information.
Watch out for fake text messages or emails claiming to be from the Government, inviting you to apply for the £400 energy bill support. They’re a scam – the £400 will be paid automatically. You do not need to apply.
You can learn more by visiting watch out for scams.
LESS promotes energy sustainability and efficiency by giving advice, information and support to residents on their home energy use and carbon footprint. Their staff speak a range of languages so they are able to support Hackney’s multicultural communities. They can provide advice on:
- information on damp, mould and condensation
- information on ventilation
- energy top tips
- information on heating controls
- bill switching Contact LESS’ free line on 0800 915 3575
Switching to energy efficient light bulbs (one bulb can save up to £100 over its lifetime) or unplugging devices when not in use (except the fridge) can help reduce your bills.
Additionally, if you are on a low income, are over 60, have children under 16, a disability or a health condition, you may qualify for financial and other help to pay your bills from your energy suppliers. Contact LESS who can help you identify any grants that may be available to you.
If you pay your energy supplier directly – including through a prepayment meter – for your gas or electricity you have the right to switch suppliers. This could could help you get on the most cost-effective energy tariff for you and save you money. Often the new supplier deals with all the admin bits for you. You don’t need to worry about an interruption to your energy supply either. You may not even have to switch suppliers to get a better deal – you can call your current supplier and ask what other deals they can offer.
Vulnerable residents can sign up to this service with their energy company to ensure they get priority help and support if there is an issue if with their supply.
You can apply to sign up to this register by contacting your supplier or network operator. Information is available in a range of formats including braille, large print or different languages and more information can be found on the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets.
If you are a Hackney resident, you can call the Hackney energy advice line team on 0800 281 768 (Mon-Fri 9 am to 5 pm) for specialist advice, or you can also use the London Fuel Switch energy switch calculator on EnergyLinx.
British Gas offer support through their Energy Trust and have grants for customers of both British Gas and other suppliers.
There are two ways the E-On Next Energy Fund can help and support people. It can either help customers with help paying their bills or to replace broken electrical appliances.
OVO Energy offer a range of support.
You can call Thames Water on 0800 009 3652 between 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday or 8am to 1pm on Saturday.
Visit Thames Water.
If your total household income – including allowances and benefits (including Housing Benefit but excluding disability benefits) – is below £20,111 you could qualify, subject to eligibility checks. Over 6,000 Hackney households have so far qualified, receiving a 50% discount on their entire water bill.
As well as discount on bills, Thames Water offer other financial support schemes, including a:
- scheme to cap bills for those on a water meter who either have a water dependent medical condition or three or more children under 19
- Payment Matching scheme for those who may struggle to pay their older water debt
- Hardship Fund (courtesy of the Thames Water Trust Fund) that can help the most deprived households with white goods and other support
- range of payment plans if you are struggling to pay your current bills and / or in arrears
This is similar to the electricity priority service, this ensures priority help is given to customers with mobility and other challenges or a medical need for water, should there ever be a problem with their supply.
Information is available in a range of different ways including braille, large print or different languages and Thames Water also offer a doorstep password service if you are concerned about bogus callers
If you want a water meter contact Thames Water to see if one can be installed. It is not always possible to install water meters in all Hackney Council homes. If a water meter cannot be installed, you can request an Assessed Household Charge tariff. This will base your water bill on the average amount people in similar properties use
The Council no longer charges tenants through their rents for water and wastewater services on behalf of Thames Water.
This means that council tenants are now responsible for making payments for their water directly to Thames Water rather than to the Council.
The Healthy Start Scheme is an NHS scheme supporting people who are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, to help to buy healthy food and milk. If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops, with credits added to the card every four weeks. You can use your card to buy:
- plain liquid cow’s milk
- fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
- fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
- infant formula milk based on cow’s milk.
You can also use your card to collect Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding; vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to four years old.
You can check your eligibility and apply by emailing email@example.com, calling 0300 330 7010 or visit the NHS website.
The Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg Project helps families on low incomes to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
To be eligible families need to meet the criteria for the Healthy Start voucher scheme. Eligible families receive £3 of Rose Vouchers every week for each child, or £6 if the child is under one year old.
The vouchers can be obtained from local children’s centres and can be used at Ridley Road Market, single stalls at Hoxton and Well Street, and at the following greengrocers in N16 – Fresh & Fruity at 151 Stamford Hill, Just Ripe in Oldhill Street, and Getters in Dunsmure Road.
Those eligible can collect the vouchers from:
- Comet Children’s Centre, 20 Halcomb St, London N1 5RF
- Linden Children’s Centre, 86-92 Rectory Rd, London N16 7SH
- Lubavitch Children’s Centre, 1 Northfield Rd, London N16 5RL
- Minik Kardes Children’s Centre, Balls Pond Rd, London N1 4BW
- Oldhill Children’s Centre, Oldhill St, London N16 6LR
- Sebright Children’s Centre, Haggerston Park, Queensbridge Rd, London E2 8NP
- Thomas Fairchild Children’s Centre, Forston St, London N1 7HA
- Woodberry Down Children’s Centre, Springpark Dr, Woodberry Down, London N4 2NP.
For more information, call 01252 726 171 or visit their website.
Hackney Foodbank provides emergency food parcels to anyone going through a temporary crisis or those trapped in poverty. They offer practical, immediate relief and can connect you with local organisations who can help with any wider issues you are facing.
You can contact them on 0207 254 2464 (Monday- Friday 10am-2pm) to talk through your situation.
See Hackney Foodbank.
You can also call the Council’s prioritised emergency food poverty line on 0208 356 3111 as we are a referral agency for Hackney Foodbank.
There are a number of community food projects offering people access to healthy and affordable food or providing free meals for vulnerable people.
You can view a calendar of food projects and free meals in the help at hand – cost of living support guide (PDF 2.8mb)
Also, see Hackney Foodbank.
Hackney Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) supports a network of lunch clubs which are financially supported by Hackney Council.
See a list of all community lunch clubs in the help at hand – cost of living support guide (PDF 2.8mb)
The lunch clubs aim to improve the health and wellbeing of people aged 55 and over in Hackney and neighbouring boroughs. Their Lunch Clubs offer:
- nutritious healthy two course lunches at affordable prices (ranges from free of charge to £5)
- health and wellbeing sessions (e.g. nutritional advice from health professionals, massages)
- movement and fitness classes (chair-based exercise, Tai Chi, line dancing etc.)
- leisure activities (Bingo, Mah Jong, Backgammon/Tavla, Karaoke, discussions)
- local outings, walks and trips to the seaside
- advice and support services (e.g. signposting)
- some of the activities may incur a small additional charge to the meal
For general information about the Hackney Lunch Clubs programme, contact: Rachel King, Lunch Clubs Development Coordinator on 020 7923 1962 ext 8184 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Hackney CVS.
Kids eat free with one adult meal – when you purchase one adult meal costing over £4.99, you can get a child’s meal free. It applies only to children aged 16 and under and it excludes all café specials. Kids’ meals also include a piece of fruit and Tropicana Kids Orange or Apple drink or bottle of water. No end date has been announced for this deal.
Kids eat for £1 in the cafe – You can get a kids hot or cold meal for just £1 in Asda cafes. The Kids Eat for £1 deal is available all day long until 31st December 2022
Free sanitary products at Morrisons
If you are struggling with the cost of sanitary products you can go to any Morrisons customer service desk and ask for a package for ‘Sandy’ or a ‘period product pack’ to be given a free discreet envelope with sanitary products.
OLIO Phone App
This is a free mobile phone app connecting neighbours with each other and volunteers with businesses so that surplus food can be given away for free rather than being left to go off or be thrown away.
Bags of Taste Hackney
Want to learn how to cook easy and low-cost tasty recipes? Bags of Taste Hackney offers qualifying residents a free, delivered, ingredients bag and course materials, containing the food for 7 meals (3 recipes) and all materials required to participate in their 2-week course.
Call or text 07788 651 042 or email email@example.com
Shoreditch Trust’s Community Kitchen Free facilitated cook and eat groups
Group cook and eat sessions, bringing people together to prepare and eat a meal together, taking part in discussions and activities on nutrition and cooking topics.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07541 032639
Made in Hackney – Free Community Cooking Sessions
This local community food kitchen runs free community cooking classes accessible to everyone with ingredients provided and often there are leftovers to take home, as well as donated surplus fruit and veg. The classes provide an opportunity to meet other people in your community with themes including cooking on a budget, bread making, healthy baking and international cuisines. Classes are suitable for people of all abilities.
Visit the website or call 0208 442 4266
Free swimming in Hackney
Under 18s, over 60s, disabled people and their carers can swim for free across the borough, all year round at Britannia Leisure Centre, Clissold Leisure Centre and Kings Hall Leisure Centre. Disabled people and their carers can also swim for free at London Fields Lido.
Visit the Better website to learn more about free swimming in Hackney
It’s a programme of weekly and monthly walks around Hackney, delivered in partnership with the Ramblers. There are limited spaces on each walk and it’s based on a first come first served basis.
To register or check the walks available visit walks and walking groups or call 0208 356 4897.
Healthier Together Hackney
The programme offers weight management and physical activity to support people in achieving their personal goals of losing weight or becoming more active. To join, people need to be over 18 and either a Hackney resident or registered with a Hackney GP. They can be referred to the service by their consultant, GP, practice nurse or any other health or social care professional who will need to complete a referral form.
Contact us on 0203 903 7245 or HTHS@gll.org
The New Age Games Programme
New Age Games is a sport and physical activity programme for Hackney residents aged 50 and over. It can help you increase the amount of exercise you do and sustain it, contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
Check for the latest programme of activities by calling our prioritised support line on 0208 356 4897 or visit exercise for over 50’s.
Your Neighbourhood Mental Health Team is made up of different professionals who work together with you to think about the difficulties you have identified and would like support with.
We offer support with mental health, physical health and social care needs whilst taking into account your individual, cultural and spiritual needs. This might include psychological therapy, medication and/ or support in accessing community based organisations.
Your Neighbourhood Mental Health Team offers non-urgent support. Call 020 3222 8003 between Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or email elft.CHneighbourhoodMHteams@nhs.net to arrange a call back from our team in the next few days.
Call for help if you have an urgent medical problem and unsure of what to do – telephone 111
City & Hackney 24hr Crisis Line
For people of any age who requires urgent help with their mental health – telephone 0800 073 0006
Drop in for a cuppa in a safe and supportive space when struggling or not coping with life.
Open 6pm to 9pm, Monday to Friday; 12pm to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday – telephone 07393 762 366.
If you are 19+ and live in the borough you could benefit from one of the many courses.
Courses are run at various locations across the borough and by qualified and experienced teachers who will help you achieve your goals.
Family Friendly courses are also available where you and your children can learn new skills together.
Many of the courses are free.
See Hackney Opportunities or call 0208 356 5055 or email email@example.com
Hackney Works is a free employment support service helping Hackney residents to see what their job goals are, helping people with their CVs, job applications, interview preparation and finding suitable work placements, apprenticeships and employment.
Call 0208 356 5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Hackney Opportunities to:
- view current job opportunities in and around the borough
- register for support with job searches
- find out about training opportunities
See help at hand – cost of living support guide (PDF 2.8mb) to learn about ways you can help others in your community.
See help at hand – cost of living support guide (PDF 2.8mb) for a directory of helpful contacts.
If you need help getting support online call us on 0208 356 3111.
We’re open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.