Resources

Free £100 cavity wall/loft insulation:
All British Gas dual fuel customers can get this (it used to be just those on benefits/pension). Register at www.bristishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation or call 0800 107 8486.
Quick supply’s limited!

Home repairs:
If you are elderly, disabled or low income, local home improvement agencies may help you to improve or adapt your home –e.g. clear guttering or assemble flat-pack furniture. See www.foundation.uk.com (www.careandrepair.org.uk in Wales) or call 0845 864 5210.

Holidays for the disabled:
Charity www.3hfund.org.uk’s grant scheme helps disabled adults and kids, and their family and carers, take a UK break.

Counselling Directory:
Provides a huge support network of counsellors, enabling visitors to find a counsellor close to them and appropriate for their needs. www.counselling-directory.org.uk

Gas and electricity arrears:
www.homehealthhelpline.org.uk or call 0800 336 699 for grant info and reduced tariffs with your company.

Government crisis loans:
You will need to repay, but they’re interest-free and can rescue you from a hole. It’s to help with emergencies, disaster or risk of serious damage to you or your family’s health. Apply via the Jobcentre. You needn’t be on benefits to apply for this fund.

Budgeting loans:
Like crisis loans, interest free, but these are only for befits recipients. They allow broader borrowing e.g. school uniforms, furnishings.

Help with water bills:
The Water-Sure scheme helps people struggling to pay meter bills due to high usage or low income. Each water company runs its own scheme, so call to ask.
Funds to help get work: If you’re claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, each Jobcentre Plus has an “advisor discretion fund” which can provide up to £300 in grants for things like transport, childcare or work clothes.

State pension top-up:
The state guarantees you at least £132.60 a week total income in retirement even though the pension’s only £97.65. If other income doesn’t take you there, the Pension Credit tops it up. 1 million plus eligible pensioners aren’t claiming. Go to www.pensionadvisory.org.uk or call 0845 601 2923.

Get a safer home:
Age UK run free ‘Handy Van’ home support for those over 60 with less than £20,000 savings. They fit security equipment, smoke alarms and new locks. Visit www.ageuk.org.uk or call 0845 026 1055.

Potpourri of low income cash:
Whether its furniture, decorating, holidays, bills or household expenses, a small charity somewhere is probably offering help - if you fit its financial, health or occupational bill. Charity www.turn2us.org.uk has an easy-to-use grant search for these or call 0808 802 2000.

Children/family costs:
Grants of £100-£300 are available from www.familyaction.org.uk (0207 241 7459) to help with clothing beds, electrical items etc for people in priority areas such as those with mental health, domestic abuse and sickness problems.

School uniforms and transport:
If you have kids and are on means-tested benefits eg income support or earn less £16,190, you could get help with school meals, uniforms and transport. More at www.direct.gov.uk or contact your local council.

Hidden cash for uni help:
Grants due to religion, location, job or even the pub parents drink at can be available. Try www.familyaction.org.uk’s database of educational trust funds and www.schoolarship-search.org.uk, plus www.studentcashpoint.co.uk for bursaries and funding.

Are you getting what you’re due?
Finally, do ensure you’re getting your full state befits. Charity www.turs2us.org.uk has a benefits check-up, or speak to your local citizens advice centre.