You cannot get away from it, the cost of living crisis is affecting us all – some more than others. We have spoken to some of our families about it and asked if it was impacting them and the resounding answers were “Definitely” and “100%”.

Their main concerns were the price of petrol, the cost of the weekly supermarket shop and the electricity bills.  Some of them have had days where they haven’t been able to have any electricity.  Summer holiday treats for the children have had to be sacrificed in order to afford the essentials.  Our free Mum’s the Word Group in Woodley has been described as “a godsend” by one mum. And the Home-Start day trip to Buckleberry Farm was the only outing many families will have this summer.

So what else can be done?

If you are struggling to make ends meet there are ways to get support and we want to make sure you know about them. So here goes …

1. Local Welfare Provision.

People in a crisis or emergency can apply for help from the Local Welfare Provision in Wokingham Borough. Visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and  search “Local Welfare Provision” or call 0118 974 6000

2. Household Support Fund

Wokingham Borough Council were given money from Central Government to support households that are struggling, particularly those with children. Families in the borough with children who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals already receive support during the summer holidays and the Council has committed to providing support to these families during school holidays until the end of May next year, even if the funding from Central Government does not continue. Anyone needing support should contact the One Front Door on 0808 278 7958, 9-5, Mon-Fri.

3. Council Support Schemes

If you are on a low income or suddenly have no money, you may be eligible for housing benefit, council tax support and discretionary housing payments from the Council. Find out more at www.wokingham.gov.uk/benefits

There are also other schemes to help with things like finding employment, free school meals and more. Go to www.wokingham.gov.uk/local-support-hub

4. Maximise you income

If you are struggling and find your money just doesn’t go far enough, you can speak to an advisor at Citizens Advice Wokingham for free and confidential advice.

They can do a benefits check to make sure you aren’t missing out on things you may be eligible for, help you with your budgeting and refer you to further support.

  • Call 0808 278 7958
  • email contact citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk
  • or visit www.citizensadvicewokingham.org.uk

There are also some online tools you can use to chck what benefits you may be eligible for: www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

5. Debt Advice

Anyone can fall into debt. Free advice can help you find ways to manage you debt and reduce your monthly payments. The team at Citizens Advice can help – see contact details above.

Step Change is another charity that offers advice on debt matters. Call 0800 138 1111 or go to www.stepchange.org

6. Feeding your family

If you are on a low income, are pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be eligible for Healthy Start Vouchers to help buy fruit, vegetables and milk. You can apply online at www.healthystart.nhs.uk

Your children may also qualify for free school meals. Visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and search “free school meals” to find out more.

This is not an exhaustive list. It has been provided by Wokingham Borough Council to whom we are grateful. We hope it helps. For more advice and support please visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/local-suport-hub