Cost of living

The rising cost of living pressures can affect any one at any time. If you, or someone you know in West Suffolk Council are struggling financially at this time, there is support and advice out there that can help.

West Suffolk Council recognises the burden this is putting on communities and businesses. On this page you will find advice and information on where you can find help.

Financial support and advice

Suffolk Support and Advice Service: Suffolk Advice and Support Service (SASS) is a free phoneline and is available to support vulnerable people in our communities (who do not have a network of family or friends to call upon), to access emergency support such as:

  • emergency food and medicine deliveries, if you are self-isolating
  • befriending schemes
  • support with basic care needs
  • debt and money advice

Freephone 0800 068 3131 available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS): Can assist families and individuals who are experiencing financial hardship. Local organisations can submit an application on behalf of the family or individual who can then access support and financial help with:

  • household furniture and white goods
  • fuel vouchers (electricity and gas top-ups)
  • supermarket vouchers, and
  • contributions towards increasing costs during the winter months.

Household Support Fund (HSF): A Government funded scheme and is currently available until the end of September 2022. The fund can assist with rent, service charges and furniture costs. For further advice and support please call 01284 763233.

It cannot, however, be used to help with people’s mortgage payments. If you are experiencing difficulties paying your mortgage, please contact your mortgage provider for further help and advice or the council’s Housing Options Team - visit our Housing pages.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP): Help for people who are in receipt of Housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit. It can be used as a top up for rent shortfall, deposits, rent in advance, to assist people affected by a benefit cap, or as a spare room subsidy. DHP cannot be used to help pay a mortgage, Council Tax, or gas and electricity costs.

For more on how to apply visit Calculate and apply for Housing benefit

Surviving Winter Scheme: Support is available through the Suffolk Community Foundation Surviving Winter Scheme to support those who are in fuel poverty. If you meet the eligibility criteria you will receive a contribution towards your gas, electricity or oil heating costs.

The process to access support is simple and quick, with eligibility based on the household or individual's circumstances, including:

  • income and savings
  • debt or arrears on an energy bill
  • disabilities and long-term health conditions.

The programme is administered centrally for Suffolk by Ipswich's Citizens Advice. For further information please call the Surviving Winter Helpline on 01473 298634, or apply online through Citizens Advice - Surviving Winter

Winter Fuel Payments: If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. Payments are made automatically in November and December. For further support and advice see GOV.UK - Winter Fuel Payment

Cold weather payment: This is paid for periods of very cold weather lasting seven days or more between 1 November and 31 March for people on specific eligible benefits. For further support and advice see GOV.UK - Cold Weather Payment

West Suffolk Council Support

  • Housing support and homelessness prevention: For advice on housing and support available to you visit our Housing pages
  • Anglia Revenue Partnership: For advice on council tax, benefits and money management: Anglia Revenues Partnership (ARP)
  • Home assistance grants: For advice on what grants and support are available to you for your home: Housing grants

General support and advice

  • Citizen Advice: Support is available Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3.30pm on 0808 278 7868. West Suffolk Citizen Advice can offer support and help on benefits, debt, employment, housing, rising energy costs and consumer concerns: Citizens Advice West Suffolk
  • Reach Haverhill: Support is available Monday to Friday 2pm to 5pm on 01440 268 003. Reach can offer a range of support including money advice, emergency food, household starter packs and general welfare advice: Reach Haverhill
  • Realise Futures: Offers support and guidance for those with a learning disability or autism on housing, benefits, debt, bills and letters. Walk in advice and guidance available through West Suffolk for more details visit the website: Realise Futures - Learning, coaching and advice
  • Anglia Care Trust: Support on money and employment advice is available to any one by contacting 01473 622888 or visiting their website Anglia Care Trust
  • Warm Homes Suffolk: A project designed to help vulnerable people and families make their homes cheaper to heat. For more information, visit Warm Homes Suffolk

Food banks

There are a number of foodbanks throughout West Suffolk, for further details on how to access the foodbanks please visit their website:

National support