Everyone is being hit with the rising cost of living at the moment. But for some families, even doing everything right, it’s becoming increasingly hard to make ends meet.
That’s why it's so important that people are claiming the support they're entitled to. There is actually so much help out there, both locally and nationally, but it can be hard to know where to look.
I’ve made this webpage to point people in the right direction. As ever, if you can’t find the support you’re looking for here then please do email me and I’ll see what I can do to help.
Just like with covid, we’re determined to support people through these difficult times. That’s why we’ve announced billions of pounds of support through various schemes to help families through the winter and beyond.
Most of this support you’ll receive automatically, like cost-of-living payments, increases to benefits and the state pension, and capping the price you’re paying for energy.
But there’s lots more government support out there, and this one-shop-stop webpage is the best place to look.
Local - Maidstone
- Maidstone Borough Council have a webpage packed full of information about support with the cost of living – including grants, energy saving advice, and getting a reduction on your Council Tax bill. Follow this link to find out more.
- Maidstone Borough Council also have a dedicated welfare team who can help make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to – you can email them at Welfare.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maidstone Citizens Advice offer free confidential advice on everything from debt to housing – you can contact them here.
- Maidstone Salvation Army run a foodbank in the town on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as offering more general support. More details are here.
- Involve Kent are a charity running a number of free activities locally, boosting health and helping people become more involved in their community. They also offer more general advice, and more information can be found here.
- Culpepper Charity was founded in the 17th century to help the people of Harrietsham with their financial needs. If you live in the village they may be able to help - there's more information on a document at the bottom of this page.
Local - Swale
- Swale Borough Council have a page where local people can access support through the Government’s Household Support Fund – click here for more
- Their team is also very happy to support residents with benefit advice and can be contacted here.
- Citizens Advice Swale offer free confidential advice on everything from debt to housing - by phone, email or at a drop-in session at their Faversham office. Click here for up to date opening times.
- Age UK Faversham & Sittingbourne offers lots of free services for older people and their carers here.
- West Faversham Community Association have a specialist team on hand to help with all kinds of difficulties, as well so much else. Find out about everything going on there here.
- Children and Families have a Fuel and Water Home advisor who can issue Fuel Bank Vouchers and other support - click here.
- Faversham Foodbank helps local people in crisis, and you can get vouchers through several local partners – find out how to be referred here.
- The same goes for Swale Family Foodbank here.
- Faversham Umbrella is a café in the town where people can access all kinds of brilliant support – find out more here.
- Kent County Council also have a page dedicated to supporting people with the cost of living which you can find here
- There’s more info about the some of the services they’re providing here
- And they also have a hub dedicated to benefits and financial support which you can find here.
There are countless other national and local bodies out there offering support – far too many for me to name here, but I’ll just mention a few:
- If you’re struggling with your energy bills, it’s definitely worth talking to your energy provider. Suppliers have to work with you to agree on a payment plan you can afford under Ofgem rules, and also have hardship funds you might be able to access – this Ofgem page has more info.
- Some energy providers are also free insulation and boiler grants which you can find info on here.
- Money Helper is a government backed scheme giving free impartial advice right the way across your finances - from debt, to mortgage, to pensions. Access them here.
- National Energy Action’s WASH Advice Service is a free support service about energy bills and keeping warm and safe in your home.
- Breathing Space is a government scheme where you can get up to 60 days' respite from interest, fees, and court action to give you time to deal with your debts. More info here.
- Please please reach out if you could do with some support with your mental health this winter. Mind have a great directory of the services available here.
Grants for charities and local organisations
Finally, if you’re a charity or local organisation looking for funding to help people locally, both Maidstone and Swale Borough Council have funds you can apply to.
You can apply to Maidstone’s here
And Swale’s here
Please also find some other handy attachments below.