Food or energy in a crisis

We are currently experiencing high levels of demand and we are processing applications as quickly as possible. We are unable to provide individual updates relating to your application, but we will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Our Household Support Fund winter energy support scheme is now open to eligible applicants. Applications will close on 29 February 2024, or once the funds have been allocated - whichever is earlier. The fund will operate on a first come, first served basis.

If you are in a crisis and need assistance now, refer to the other places to get support section below.

About our service

If you've experienced an unforeseeable, short-term crisis or you're facing exceptional pressures because of an emergency, we may be able to offer you:

  • supermarket vouchers (to buy food, toiletries and nappies)
  • gas or electric fuel vouchers (prepayment meters only).

We are a discretionary service, so will only be able to support you if you are in an unforeseeable, short-term crisis.

To apply for support, you must:

We cannot help if you are in financial difficulty because:

  • you've had to pay regular bills, debts or household outgoings (for example birthdays, Christmas or school uniforms)
  • your benefits have been stopped because of a Department for Work and Pensions sanction
  • of the rise in the cost of living. Find cost of living support.

If you meet the above criteria, we may be able to help each household up to 3 times in a rolling 12 month period. We will not help for the same reason more than once.

To complete the application you will need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • details of anyone who lives in your house, including their National Insurance number(s)
  • details of your household income (any income paid to you and any other adults who live with you including benefit payments and income from employment).

We will ask for evidence of your benefits and savings, and may also ask for things like:

  • proof of any reasons you give for needing help (such as unusual expenses) through receipts or screenshots of your online or mobile banking, showing the transactions
  • proof of your earnings if you are working
  • anything else relevant to the circumstances detailed on your application form.

To ask for our help:

Once you've applied, we'll assess your application and confirm whether we can offer support. We'll also send you some information about organisations that may be able to help you to manage your financial crisis long-term.

If we can't help, we'll explain why and direct you to other organisations who may be able to support you.

Appeal a decision

If we have declined your application within the last 7 days and you feel the decision should be reviewed, you can appeal in the following ways:

If you have an account

Log in and appeal against a declined application

If you don't have an account

Appeal against a declined application using our online form

If we cannot offer help or you need more help, our cost of living support pages can help you to find advice and support.

You can:

  • check if you are eligible for any benefits
  • get advice about how to reduce energy use and who to contact for help paying bills
  • use our help and support finder to find help available with food, Council Tax, clothing, childcare and much more.