Lots of people are continuing to feel the pinch because of the cost of living crisis. Do you know what help is available?
Christmas time can often cause money worries and, if you are already facing financial hardship, the festive season can feel a bit overwhelming.
To ease some of this pressure, we have put together some bitesize information about the support and services that Ealing Council offers its residents.
Councillor Steve Donnelly, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for an inclusive economy, said: “As well as checking what support you might be eligible for from the council, there are lots of other resources available too, you just need to know where to look. I hope this information provides a good starting block to help residents with any financial pressures over the Christmas period and it remains a time that can be enjoyed.”
Find support close to home
The borough’s community and voluntary groups offer a wide range of vital support from cooking classes to debt advice. The Community Support Directory brings this information together to enable people to access local support, such as help with food, mental health and other care needs. It provides information to help cushion people who are impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
If you are struggling, talk to us. If you are falling behind on your payments, speak to us and we can work with you to find a solution. Call the number on your bill or contact the council. You can also get help at one of 4 community hubs. Or call the Ealing Together helpline on 020 8825 7170.
Thousands of residents have already felt the benefits of the council’s community hubs, which can be found in Acton, Northolt, Southall and Ealing libraries.
Free school meals
All primary school children who go to state schools in London, are entitled to free school meals for the whole of this academic year.
The Mayor of London has provided funding to ensure that children of primary school age are entitled to a free nutritious school meal, a saving to families of about £440 across the year.
While all primary school children will receive their free school meal automatically, it’s still really important to register them in case they are eligible for extra funding from the government. This is worth £1,300 per year per eligible pupil to a school. It’s simple to do and confidential, and it also means that families of eligible children will receive supermarket food vouchers during school holidays and free access to the Holiday Activities and Food sessions.
Find out if you are eligible for your child to receive free school meals or re-register on the council’s website.
The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme provides a free programme of out-of-school activities in the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays. Children and young people in receipt of benefits-related free school meals are able to go along and participate in a wide range of fun activities and also receive a nutritious meal.
Did you know there are now twice as many foodbanks in the UK as there are McDonald’s restaurants?
Foodbanks are in high demand but you need a unique code and vouchers to use them, and to get those you need to be referred. The most common types of referrals to foodbanks come from job centres, housing charities like Acton Homeless Concern and EASE, a local community development charity.
But, Ealing Foodbank actually has more than 200 referral partners, including schools, local charities, health visitors and the council’s local welfare assistance service. There is also a national freephone hardship number if none of these apply to you, which you can call 0808 208 2138 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).