People across the country are facing increased pressures on their household income due to rising energy costs and food bills. In Worcester, there is a range of help, advice and support available to residents.
Tips and advice on saving energy
A range of advice, tips and support for saving energy in your home is available from Act on Energy, including grants for increasing energy efficiency in your home.
The government has published energy-saving advice as part of the Help for Households Campaign.
Advice available includes:
- Reducing boiler flow temperature
- Turning down radiators not in use
- Draft-proofing windows and doors
Are you at risk of losing your home?
If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the City Council can provide you with high quality advice and assistance to help you to make informed choices about your housing options.
The City Council believes that homelessness can be prevented in the majority, if not all, cases.
Are there more benefits available to you than you realise?
If you pay Council Tax or rent in Worcester, or if you are of State Retirement Pension age, you may qualify for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.
Find out more these and other events, and see if your claim can be backdated.
Council Tax rebate
In response to rising energy bills, a £150 Council Tax rebate is being paid to all homes in Council Tax bands A-D. Worcester residents paying by Direct Debit will have already received this rebate, while others will be sent a voucher.
If you are receiving Council Tax Support, live in a home in bands E-H, or are responsible for paying energy bills despite not being the Council Tax payer, you may still qualify for a £150 rebate.
Having trouble paying your Council Tax?
Contact the City Council on 03004 560560 immediately to seek help and advice. Even if you're not entitled to any discounts, it might be possible for a special arrangement to be made. Remember - the sooner you discuss your problem, the more easily it can be resolved.
Cost of living payments
The Department for Work and Pensions is making cost of living payments to people who receive Universal Credit or certain other benefits; to pensioners; and to people who receive certain disability benefits.
You can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).
Help for Households campaign
The Government is making a range of support available to assist with energy bills; benefits; childcare, household and transport cots; internet and phone costs; finding work and more.
Discounts are also available with a range of retailers and services, including Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Marks & Spencer, Amazon and more.
The Money Navigator tool from Money Helper UK provides free access money and debt guidance, based on individual circumstances.
There is information on:
- what issues people need to deal with first
- ways of staying on top of bills
- how to find extra support
- where to get extra help
Low-income homes can qualify for a Green Homes Grant from the City Council. This can pay for energy efficiency measures such as energy-efficient electric storage heaters, solar panels, insulation and draught proofing.
Free school meals
Many children in Worcester have received free meal vouchers throughout the school holidays, from either Worcestershire County Council or Worcester City Council. The City Council is committed to support this initiative until March 2024, if no other funding is forthcoming.
All students who attend school in Worcester and are registered for the Pupil Premium will qualify for support from this scheme. Any parents who have not received details about claiming their vouchers before the end of term should contact their children's school.
Worcester City Council is extending this offer to people aged 16-18 who are in education until March 2024. Students should contact their college to claim their voucher.
The City Council is using Household Support Fund money, provided by the Department for Work and Pension, to fund this scheme.
Discretionary Welfare Assistance Scheme
This scheme supports vulnerable low-income Worcester households in crisis who need assistance with the cost of food or white goods, carpets and energy-efficiency measures. It has recently been expanded to help single people and couples, as well as families.
Help available can include providing fridge freezers and/or washing machines, carpets, draught excluders, energy-saving lightbulbs and other items to save energy, as well as food and energy vouchers.
You cannot apply directly to this scheme – a supporting agency or organisation must apply on your behalf. This could be a support worker, care worker, health professional, children's centre, local charity, housing or homelessness support service.
Part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, Worcester Foodbank provides food, travel vouchers and essential items such as toiletries and school uniforms to residents who are referred to them. Most of the food is contributed by the public, but current demand means they need to top up donations.
A £100,000 donation from the City Council’s Household Support Fund means that the Foodbank can bulk purchase food and essentials items from April to March 2024.
For more information visit the Worcester Foodbank website or call 0808 2082138 for free.
Age UK Worcester and Malvern District
Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills can distribute cash and vouchers to those most in need. Eligible applicants are people over 66 who are eligible for attendance allowance, who are on a low income (less than £18,000p/a), or who are just above the pension credit criteria.
Find out more on the Age UK website or call 01905 724294.
Libraries, community centres and other locations in Worcester are being opened up as warm hubs in Worcester, to help people to keep warm this winter. People are invited to use these spaces to relax, work, chat and meet. Grab a free hot drink, charge devices and use the Wi-Fi.
If you need advice in person, you can call in at the Citizen Advice Bureau in The Hopmarket on a Tuesday or Thursday, 9.30am-midday.
Alternatively, call Worcester City Council’s customer services team on 01905 722233, or call in to see them in the Guildhall 9am - 4pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, or 9.30am - 4pm Wednesday.