Cost of living support

There are a wide variety of support schemes and organisations in North Yorkshire which may be able to help or advise if you are struggling to pay for essentials.

The North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund

This provides emergency financial support to those unable to meet essential living costs, such as energy bills or food. The North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund (NYLAF) can also make awards in kind, such as supplying basic necessities or household goods such as a fridge. Find out about the Local Assistance Fund.

Warm and Well North Yorkshire

People can also apply for hardship funding, or help with minor repairs to make their homes warmer under this scheme. Contact Warm and Well on 01609 767555 or email wnw@northyorkslca.org.uk. Find more information on the Warm and Well North Yorkshire website.

Council tax reduction and support scheme

If you are on a low income or claim benefits you can apply for a reduction in the council tax you pay. Find more information on our council tax reduction scheme page

There is also a range of national support available on the Help for Households section of the government website and the cost of living support section of the government's website. The Money Helper website has information on managing your money and planning a budget.

Advice on money, debt or benefit entitlement

Citizen's Advice North Yorkshire

Citizen’s Advice North Yorkshire provide free, confidential and impartial advice to help people find a way forward with whatever problems they face, including money and benefits. You can get advice in person, over the phone, on a web chat or by email by contacting Citizen’s Advice North Yorkshire direct.

Libraries

Libraries are another source of support with books and resources on personal finances, budgeting and debt.

Pension credits

If you are of state pension age, you could be entitled to a pension top up. Many people are missing out on unclaimed pension credits and you may be able to access support, even if you have savings, own your own home or have a private pension. You can find out more on the government's web page about claiming pension credit.

Benefits

You can find out about benefits including universal credit and a link to check what benefits you might be entitled to on our benefits page.

StepChange - debt advice

The charity StepChange offer free debt advice to help you deal with your debt and find a solution. Their online debt advice service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you would prefer to speak to someone, you can call StepChange on 0800 138 1111 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 2pm.

Turn2us - financial support

Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial need to access welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial support. They offer help online, over the phone and face to face through their partner organisations. Find out more on the Turn2Us website or you can call their helpline on 0808 802 2000 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Turn2us are experiencing a high volume of calls so please use their website if you can.

Housing support

On our Housing and Homelessness page, you can find information on homelessness, the allocation of social housing, housing grants available, and information to help people struggling with mortgage payments. We can check your eligibility for Housing Benefit, and help with applications for Discretionary Housing Payments if you are struggling to pay your rent. Find out more on our money, benefit advice and support page.

Children and families

Free school meals

Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are automatically entitled to free school meals, but parents and carers who are eligible for certain financial support may also be able to obtain free school meals for children at primary or secondary school. Read more information on qualifying for free school meals and how to apply.

FEAST holiday clubs

For help in the summer holidays, the Holiday Activity and Food programme, known locally as FEAST, will be providing a wide range of activities for children and young people in North Yorkshire. The activities are free to children on benefits-related free school meals and include a hot meal or packed lunch each day. Read more information about FEAST holiday clubs on the North Yorkshire Together website.

If you want to contact the FEAST team directly, please email hello@northyorkshiretogether.co.uk.

Help with childcare

Government funding is available to support childcare costs, including tax-free childcare which is for all working families with children under 12 years old (or under 17 for children with a disability).

  • some two-year-old children are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, depending on income and the receipt of certain benefits - see if you qualify for 15 hours of free childcare for two-year-olds
  • children are automatically eligible for 15 hours of universal funding for up to 38 weeks per year the term after their third birthday - you do not need to apply for this, but you need to discuss and arrange this with your childcare provider
  • in addition to the universal 15 hours of government funding, some families may be entitled to claim an extra 15 hours of childcare per week, bringing the total to 30 hours - this is known as Extended Entitlement government funding
  • see further information on accessing support with your childcare costs, including tax credit, tax free childcare and government funding
  • libraries offer a range of free events and activities for children and families - contact your local library to see what is on offer

Healthy Start scheme

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, you may be entitled to NHS support to help you buy healthy food and milk. Find out more about the Healthy Start scheme on the NHS website.

The Family Fund

The Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising children and young people with disabilities or who are seriously ill. A range of grants are available which can cover essential items such as fridges, washing machines and clothing, as well as computers and sensory toys. Find out more from The Family Fund website.

Healthy Schools and Early Years in North Yorkshire

Healthy Schools and Early Years in North Yorkshire have a range of information, advice and guidance available for parents, including cost saving and waste tips. Find out more on the Healthy Schools and Early Years in North Yorkshire website.

Uniform banks

Several locally-based uniform banks may be able to support you with access to second-hand uniforms. Please ask your nursery/school about any schemes in your area.

Energy

North Yorkshire Home Efficiency Fund

The North Yorkshire Home Efficiency Fund is offering a range of fully-funded energy-saving home improvements to eligible homeowners in the Scarborough, Ryedale and Hambleton areas. Properties could receive improvements including insulation, solar panels, air source heat pumps and high heat retention electric storage heaters, depending on property suitability. To qualify, residents must have a household income of £30,000 or less, or receive means-tested benefits. Find out how to apply from our schemes and grants page.

Warm Homes Discount

Check if you are eligible for a Warm Homes Discount of £150 over the winter period - details are available on the Warm Homes discount scheme on the government website.

Yorkshire Energy Doctor

Yorkshire Energy Doctor works with households to try and reduce energy costs and to try and ensure that people can afford to live in a warm home - for more information see the Yorkshire Energy Doctor website.

Keeping the elderly warm during winter

There is helpful information on our winter health for older people page including tips for staying warm, more cost efficient and safe ways to heat your home, and details on how to claim winter fuel allowance.

Home Upgrade Grant Phase 2

Apply for the Home Upgrade Grant Phase 2 (HUG2), a grant to help those homes not on mains gas become more energy efficient.

Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born before 25 September 1957 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’. Most eligible people get the payment automatically.

Cold Weather Payment

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you are getting certain other benefits. You will get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. Find out more on the UK Government Cold Weather Payment website.

Collective energy switching

If you are in the former Ryedale or Scarborough local authority areas, you can register to take part in an energy auction as part of the nationwide Big Community Switch. Find out about collective energy switching in the Scarborough and Ryedale areas.

Priority Services Register

Contact your water and power suppliers to see if you can be on the Priority Services Register.

Food

Food banks

The Trussell Trust runs food banks in several towns in North Yorkshire. You will generally need a voucher from a local referral agency to access their help. Find out if there is a food bank near you and how you can get help on the Trussell Trust website.

Find food banks run by some other organisations on The Independent Food Aid Network website.

Community fridges

Increasing numbers of communities have set up community fridges to give people access to food which might otherwise go to waste. These are generally open to anyone to use without any need for a referral. The Hubbub Foundation website lists some community fridges and your local Community Support Organisation may have information about other local free fridges or pantries in the area.

Staying healthy and safe this winter

We have prepared advice and guidance to help you look after yourself and others during the colder winter months.

Find this information on our 'keep well and warm this winter' page.

Help to connect to and use the internet

Free public Wi-Fi

20 towns across the county have a free and secure public Wi-Fi network. These networks, which are friendly Wi-Fi accredited, provide you with unlimited access to the internet. You can see the list of towns in the county offering free internet access and how to connect on our free public Wi-Fi page.

Our libraries have over 300 computers available to use and the first 60 minutes is free, each day. Find out more about library computers. Libraries also offer free Wi-Fi.

Reboot scheme

Our Reboot initiative involves distributing unwanted laptops, tablets and other devices that have been donated. To access the scheme you need a referral from a local voluntary sector organisation, a school, the county council’s Early Help or Living Well team, or a faith group. Referrals can be made on the Reboot website.

The scheme is designed to help:

  • children to access online school lessons or homework
  • families with no, or limited, access to the internet
  • vulnerable people who may be socially isolated
  • older people to enable them to stay in touch with services, friends and family

Digital support

The Good Things Foundation provides free data and refurbished digital devices to those in need, find out more on the Good Things Foundation website.

Find out what digital support and equipment is available in your community on the North Yorkshire Connect website.

Reduced broadband bills for those on low incomes

Broadband bills can be reduced for low-income households through social tariffs. Run by the Department of Work and Pensions, internet service providers can check, with your permission, whether you receive a relevant benefit and are therefore eligible for extra financial support. Please contact your broadband provider to see if they are participating or look at the Ofgem website to keep up to date with the latest information.

Transport

Liftshare

You can reduce the cost of commuting and help reduce carbon emissions by signing up for Liftshare for free. The scheme matches up people making the same car journey and allows them to split the cost of their commute by sharing a lift. Find out more on the Liftshare website.

Bus passes

You can also find information about bus passes for disabled people or older people of pensionable age in our bus passes section.

Community based support including Warm Welcome Spaces

North Yorkshire Connect

North Yorkshire Connect is our online directory for North Yorkshire, providing information about the diverse range of community groups and services in the county.

Support at your local library

Staff or volunteers at your local library will be pleased to see you and you will be able to sit down and read a newspaper or book, use the computers, or find out what is happening in your area. They are good places for young people to do homework or revision. Find out more in our local libraries section.

You may be eligible for our free home library service if you cannot visit the library or carry books because of ill health or disability, or if you are a carer. Audiobooks, CDs or DVDs can also be delivered via the service.

Warm Welcome Space

If you are looking for a Warm Welcome Space during winter or would like to register your venue as a Warm Welcome Space find out more on the Warm Welcome Space website.

If you are a local organisation looking to set up a Warm Welcome space, the UK Health Security Agency have published a review and toolkit to support its development.

Support for community and voluntary groups

Cost of Living Crisis Fund

The Two Ridings Community Foundation has established a Cost of Living Crisis Fund to support local community and voluntary groups who are dealing with Cost of Living challenges in their communities - find out more on the cost of living crisis fund on the Two Ridings website.

Community emergency planning

Preparing for emergencies in your community or local parish in advance can really help. Check the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum website for advice on the creation of community emergency plans and further information on what to do in an emergency.