Cost of living support

Information and advice to support with food, energy and money.

This page has lots of information that can help with the current cost of living and fuel costs increase. Click on each section to see more information on that subject.

Cost of living

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't cover all your rent, check to see if you can make a claim for a discretionary housing payment.

You might also be able to get some Council tax support or a reduction on your council tax.

Information relating to Council Tax Refunds.

The Welfare Support Scheme provides B&NES residents with short-term, emergency help with living costs.

Check if you can increase your income from Citizens Advice includes useful information around benefits, pay, deductions from your wages, tax and much more.

Water bills

You can request help to pay for your water bill:

Bristol Water

Wessex Water


Find out what you might be entitled to with the free benefits calculator.

Have a look at the Council's benefit page for information on Housing benefit, Council tax benefit or reductions and other relevant benefits information. 

Take the quick Clean Slate’s Future Proof Finance Quiz 

Citizens Advice have advisers available to help - call 0808 278 7897 (9.30am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday)

If you are turned down for a benefit, seek advice on whether to challenge the decision. Many benefit decisions are overturned, and organisations like Citizens Advice can offer advice about challenges.

If your benefit award is partially successful, seek advice before challenging as this can lead to awards being reduced as well as increasing or staying the same.

Social tariffs are discounted broadband and mobile deals for people on certain benefits. People receiving benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support can ask broadband firms to check their eligibility for social tariffs, sometimes called 'essential' or 'basic' broadband by providers. Apply for most tariffs online or contact your provider to ask to switch.

Energy costs

The Bath & North East Somerset Energy at Home Scheme aims to help residents improve the energy performance of their homes by providing information on energy related home improvements, financial assistance schemes and signposting to suitable installers and contractors.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol have advisers who cover B&NES and there’s good advice on their website to help reduce fuel bills, access the priority services register and more. Visit pop-up stall on the first Wednesday of every month, 11am  -  2pm, top of the stairs in The Podium, outside Bath Central Library.

Contact your energy supplier if you are struggling to pay for energy or think you may get into difficulty – if you already have energy debts, some larger suppliers offer grants to help pay this off.

Find your energy network operator, who can tell you who your energy supplier is, if you're unsure or just don't know.

If you can’t get a grant from your supplier, check if you can get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust (0121 348 7797). These grants are available to anyone - you don’t have to be a British Gas customer.

The Priority Services Register ensures energy suppliers and network operators provide extra support to vulnerable energy customers, including, but not limited to, people who have reached state pension age, have a disability or long-term medical or mental health condition, are pregnant or have young children. The support available varies by supplier and by an individual’s circumstances. Check Ofgem whether you are eligible, what help you can get and how to register.

Citizens Advice have very comprehensive resources around energy supply including getting a better energy deal, making a complaint, problems with energy bills or supply and moving home.

Control Your Home gives simple guidance and useful tips on how heating controls can help to reduce energy bills.

If you're thinking of doing things differently at home to bring down the price of energy bills, it's important to remember to do so safely. Avon Fire & Rescue Service offer these useful tips on keeping safe and warm during cold weather.


Quids in - Doomsday Cupboard

Managing meals on a limited budget

BBC Meals for £1 per portion - recipe inspiration

Find food options

Live Well B&NES hosts details of all the places you can get food support

B&NES Food Finder provides a list of food banks, food clubs and pantries across our area. 

Olio is a food sharing app, connecting local people with each other and with local businesses so surplus food (plus other stuff from furniture to clothing to toiletries) can be shared, not thrown away.

Healthy Start

If you're at least ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old, you might be able to get free vitamins and help to buy healthy food and milk with the Healthy Start card. 

If you are eligible, you can apply online or call 0300 330 7010 (8.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday) or email

Benefit related Free School Meals

If you meet the eligibility criteria listed on B&NES free school meal page you may be entitled to benefit related free school meals.
Check your eligibility to benefit related free school meals.

Holiday activities and food programme (HAF)

If your child is eligible for benefit related Free School Meals, they will receive information from their school about the Holiday, Activities and Food programme which runs during school holidays. Find out more on our Holiday, Activities and Food pages.

Debt advice

There are a number of local and national organisations that can help you with debt, have a look on Live Well B&NES for details.

Stop Loan Sharks provide confidential advice and support to anyone who has been or is at risk of becoming a victim of illegal money lending. They also investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders. Safely report a Loan Shark online or via telephone.

Pension credit

Find out if you’re eligible and how much you could get using the Pension Credit calculator. You can apply online or call 0800 99 1234

An award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with housing costs, Council Tax, heating bills and, for those aged 75 or over, a free TV licence

People who have an income or savings may still qualify for Pension Credit

If you are entitled you might also be able to get additional amounts within Pension Credit. For example, if you receive other benefits for a disability or caring responsibilities.

Find out your State Pension age, your Pension Credit qualifying age and when you'll be eligible for free bus travel.

Money Helper have very comprehensive guides around pensions and retirement all in on place.

Help with family costs including Childcare

A Sure Start Maternity Grant is a one-off payment to help with the costs of having a new baby.

You can find details about getting help with the cost of childcare and other related information on our Children and Families section of Live Well B&NES.

The Nest Project aims to provide free clothing and equipment for children aged 0-5 living in B&NES.

Small Stuff Baby Bank in Radstock offers free 0-5 year old clothing and essentials for families who need them.

The Uniform Cupboard free school uniform stall takes place regularly at Freedom House, Lower Bristol Road in Bath, offering good quality second hand school uniform, coats and other items to those who need it.

SKiP can help referred families by providing school uniform, shoes, bags and other equipment, when available.

Many schools have a way of passing on 'pre-loved' and outgrown uniform to other families. Ask at your individual school.

Help if you’re experiencing illness or disability

Information about benefits and accessible funding can be found on our Benefits and Funding page.

There are a number of benefits that are not means tested:

The assessment considers the way that your health conditions affect your daily living and mobility needs.

Receiving these benefits may increase entitlement to other benefits such as Pension Credit, Council Tax Support

Seek advice if you are already claiming a disability benefit such as DLA for adults, as your award will stop if you claim PIP instead

If you’re too unwell to work, you may be entitled to New Style Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit with Limited Capability for Work or Work Related Activity

If you or any member of your household is disabled, you may qualify for a reduction in your Council Tax.


B&NES Carers Centre are able to offer practical support, advice and guidance to carers. 

If you are a carer, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance and/or an extra amount called the ‘carer element’ within Universal Credit

It is recognise that long-term care has a major impact on many people's lives. If this applies to you or someone in your household, you may be able to reduce the amount of Council Tax payable by you, or by the person you care for. Have a look at the Council Tax and long-term care webpage.

Help with prescription and dental treatment charges

If you have a low income, the NHS Low Income Scheme could help you pay for:

  • NHS prescription charges
  • NHS dental treatment charges
  • the cost of sight tests, glasses and contact lenses
  • the cost of travelling to receive NHS treatment
  • NHS wigs and fabric supports (check with your hospital for their arrangements for supplying NHS wigs)

How much help you get depends on your weekly income and necessary outgoings, plus any savings or investments you have at the time you apply.

Money and Mental Health

Bath Mind have a page dedicated to Money and Mental Health.

You can also find related information on the Mental Health and Money Advice website. 

Find out where to get urgent help for mental health.

If after exploring the above information you feel you need additional cost of living support, you can contact the Community Wellbeing Hub, who will be able to refer you to their partners offering a range of specialist skills and knowledge. You can contact the Community Wellbeing Hub, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm on 0300 247 0050.