Cost of Living Crisis
Halton’s social supermarkets are open to all, offering reduced priced food and household items:
- Queens Pantry: Queens Avenue, Ditton, WA8 8GR (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm)
- The Route Café: Grenfell House, 116 Widnes Road, Widnes, WA8 6AX (Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm)
- Community Pantry: Palacefields Community Centre, WA7 2UA (Weds, 10am-12 noon)
- Halton Royal British Legion: British Legion, Castle Road, Runcorn, WA7 2BE (Tues, Weds & Fri, 1-2pm)
The Community Shop offers reduced price food and household items. To access the shop you must receive some form of benefit. Join for free by visiting https://www.companyshopgroup.co.uk/Profile/CommunityMember
Location & opening times: Priory House, Northway, Palacefields, Runcorn, WA7 2FS (Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sat 8am-3pm).
Free School Meals
All children in Reception Class, Year 1 and Year 2 are entitled to receive a free school meal under the Universal Free School Meal entitlement.
Free school meals may also be available for your child if you receive means tested benefits. Find out more and apply for free school meals here.
Local food banks
If you are struggling to get enough food due to hardship, you can be issued a voucher for use at a local food bank. Vouchers can be issued for 3 days’ worth of food.
You need to be issued with a voucher from a referral agent to be able to use one of the food banks.
To find out more on how to use local foodbanks, visit one of the following:
- Widnes: How to Get Help | Widnes Foodbank or Contact Us | Widnes Foodbank
- Runcorn: How to get help | Runcorn District Foodbank
Discretionary Support In urgent need, you can also apply to the Council’s discretionary support team who may be able to help with food and emergency support. Telephone 0800 952 0016 (Freephone from landlines) or e-mail Support@halton.gov.uk. Open 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4:30pm on a Friday.
Heating and Energy
Please find details below of a range of organisations and schemes that may be able to help to lower the cost of energy bills and provide emergency help.
Energy Projects Plus (EPP)
EPP’s Save Energy Advice Line provides free and impartial help and advice on reducing your energy bills and keeping warm at home – including managing fuel debt and help with broken heating systems. They can also help you identify and apply for suitable support schemes that you may be eligible for (e.g. replacement white goods or fuel vouchers).
Call 0800 043 0151 or visit epplus.org.uk for details
Cheshire Green Doctor (operated by Groundwork Cheshire)
Call free on 0330 1740 863 or email Greendoctor.CLM@groundwork.org.uk
If you live in privately rented accommodation or own your own home, Cheshire Green Doctor can help you with finding the best energy tariff, installing energy saving measures and more.
British Gas Energy Trust
If you’re struggling with money and energy debt, you are not alone. British Gas Energy Trust support families and individuals who are struggling to pay their bills across England no matter which energy company you are with: http://www.britishgasenergytrust.org.uk/
Citizens Advice Bureau - Halton
Visit walk-in receptions from 10-2pm on weekdays:
- Runcorn: Unit 1-2, Orchard Walk, Runcorn Shopping City, WA7 2BS
- Widnes: Unit 3, Victoria Building, Lugsdale Road, WA8 6DJ (N.B office closed on Wednesdays)
Free confidential advice on a range of issues, including benefits, financial/debt advice and help to pay energy bills.
Local housing associations will be able to provide support on money, benefits, cost-of-living, wellbeing, or housing and tenancy related issues, including emergency support:
- Halton Housing: help and support page and contact information
- Plus Dane:general support, cost-of-living support and contact information
- Riverside Housing:information & support page and contact information
- Weaver Vale Housing Trust: money/rent/income support page and support and wellbeing service
Contact your landlord if you have any concerns. Your landlord must ensure your heating system is safe and in good working order.
Halton's Environmental Protection Team can advise if your landlord is unable/unwilling to fulfil their obligations. Call 0303 333 4300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Home heating and energy efficiency support
You may be eligible to apply for various support schemes which help to heat homes more efficiently and reduce energy bills.
- Sustainable Warmth Fund: home energy improvement installations, including insulation, double-glazing or alternative heating systems.
- Solar panel group-buying scheme to help households to cut their energy costs and reduce their carbon emissions. Halton residents can register their interest, without any obligation.
- ECO4 Flexible Eligibility scheme: this is a referral scheme which provides energy efficiency improvements for private tenure households on low incomes, who are living in energy inefficient homes. Contact Energy Projects Plus or Citizens Advice Bureau (details above) or your energy provider or GP may also refer you.
Affordable warmth is the ability to heat your home to a satisfactory level without having to economise on other essential outgoings and bills. Having a warm home is important for health. If you find you have to switch off your heating to save money or are struggling with fuel debt, unreliable heating systems and a cold home, there is help available.
You may also be entitled to money to help you heat your home or make it more energy efficient.
For more information on eligibility or support to apply, contact us on 0303 333 4300 or complete our Affordable Warmth referral form.
The websites below have some useful tips on everyday things you can do to save money on energy bills or improve the energy efficiency of your home.
(N.B. These links take you to external sites. Halton Borough Council is not responsible for the content on these pages)
- Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy at home & Measures to help reduce home heat loss
- Plus Dane Housing energy saving tips for your home
- The United Utilitieswebsite also has helpful advice on ways to save water and money. It also provides information on water meters, which might also help you reduce your water bills.
- The Get Water Fitwebsite helps you to compare your water usage, suggests ways you could save water and has free water saving products available for you to order.
Crisis or emergency help
For urgent need you can apply to the Council’s discretionary support team who may be able to help with emergency vouchers for food/energy and other items.
The team can issue awards for two types of need, to people who require short term emergency support and to people who require community support to establish or maintain a home independently in the community.
To apply for emergency support or community support call the Discretionary Support Team from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4:30pm on a Friday on 0800 952 0016 which is a Freephone number from landlines. Alternatively - email Discretionary.Support@halton.gov.uk.
Help with money worries and mental health
Money and mental health are often linked. Having poor mental health can make managing money more difficult and problems with debt and money can impact your mental health. To find out more visit:
- Money Saving Expert Mental health guide
- Mind Money and Mental health
- Mental Health and Money Advice
- The Money Navigator Tool is designed to help people who have seen their finances impacted by Covid-19
- Mental Health and Money Advice toolkit is a resource to help you understand, manage and improve your mental and financial health
Helplines and online support
- Citizens Advice Halton Freephone Advice line 08082 787 956 or 0151 257 2449 (this is a call back service)
- Money Advice Service 0800 138 7777
- StepChange Debt Charity 0800 138 1111
- Money Navigator Tool: if you are in financial difficulty you can access money and debt guidance for free from Money Helper UK. There is information on: what issues individuals need to deal with first; ways of staying on top of bills; how to find extra support; where to get extra help
Need to speak to someone in person?
- Visit your local Citizens Advice for help with debt and money citizens advice
Support if you live in Halton
- Halton Borough Councils Welfare Rights Service provides advice, information and representation on all aspects of Welfare Benefits and debt problems to residents of Halton Welfare Rights Service
- Citizens Advice Halton provide support with debt and problems with Housing and rent Halton CAB
- Nightstop Communities Northwest CIC - Comprehensive mental health support service with highly experienced counsellors with variety of specialisms inclusive of SEN
- Feeling anxious, worried or overwhelmed? Text REACH to 85258 for free confidential text support 24/7
- Financial advice and support is available check out Halton’s Worried about Money leaflet for details
Please visit the Halton Mental Health Infopoint for further information on local services.