Financial Hardship

Find out about the different support services for Suffolk residents and information for professionals.

Suffolk Advice and Support Service

 

Suffolk Advice and Support Service logoSuffolk Advice and Support Service (SASS) is a free phoneline and is available to support vulnerable people in our communities (who do not have a network of family or friends to call upon), to access emergency support such as:

  • emergency food and medicine deliveries, if you are self-isolating
  • befriending schemes
  • support with basic care needs
  • debt/money advice

The telephone number is freephone 0800 068 3131 and is staffed from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

You will be asked to indicate what you need help with. Your call will then be routed to an appropriate organisation in your local area who can support you or signpost where appropriate. This may include uploading your details onto the Warm Handover digital platform that member organisations can use to send referrals in a secure way. Read more about the Warm Handover platform below.

Debt/money advice queries will be answered by specialist debt advisors on-hand to assist.

Support will continue to be provided to families and individuals through the existing Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS). The scheme helps those experiencing financial Hardship, whereby local organisations across Suffolk can submit an application for support, on behalf of an individual or family. The LWAS can help with household furniture and white goods, fuel vouchers (electricity and gas top-ups), supermarket vouchers, and contributions towards increasing costs during the winter months.

Applications on your behalf can be made by our trusted gateway partner organisations only. Members of the public that wish to apply for this support should contact a gateway partner, who will assess your circumstances and submit an application for you (you cannot directly refer yourself). To find a gateway partner in your area who can support you with an application, please contact one of our trusted partners.

For further information:

How to access support:

  1. Local Welfare Assistance Scheme
    Support will continue to be provided to families and individuals through the existing Local Welfare Assistance Scheme (LWAS). The scheme helps those experiencing financial hardship, whereby local organisations across Suffolk can submit an application for support, on behalf of an individual or family. The LWAS can help with household furniture and white goods, fuel vouchers (electricity and gas top-ups), supermarket vouchers and contributions towards increasing costs during the winter months.
    Applications on your behalf can be made by our trusted gateway partner organisations only. Members of the public that wish to apply for this support should contact a gateway partner, who will assess your circumstances and submit an application for you (you cannot directly refer yourself). To find a gateway partner in your area who can support you with an application, please contact one of our trusted partners.

  2. Suffolk Community Foundation Household Support Grant
    Voluntary organisations can apply for funding which they can use to provide pro-active help and support to alleviate hardship for families and individuals across Suffolk. Grants awarded to these organisations may be used towards the costs of food, energy, water and other essential living needs. If you are a Voluntary Organisation and wish to apply for this grant, you can find out more on the Suffolk Community Foundation Household Support Grant webpage.

  3. Surviving Winter
    Support is available through the Suffolk Community Foundation Surviving Winter Scheme to support those who are in fuel poverty. Those who are eligible for support will receive a contribution towards their gas/electricity or oil heating costs. The process to access support is simple and quick, with eligibility based on the household or individuals circumstances, including:
    - Income and savings
    - Debt or arrears on an energy bill
    - Disabilities and long-term health conditions
    The programme is administered centrally for Suffolk by Ipswich's Citizens Advice. If you need support, you can call the Surviving Winter Helpline on 01473 298634, or apply online through the Citizens Advice Website.

  4. Support for children during school holidays
    Families who are eligible for free school meals will be contacted directly by their school if they are eligible for support for the school holiday periods covering October half term, Christmas, February half term and Easter. Further information will be available from your school on what support is being offered.
    Where a child is eligible for income related free school meals, families will be contacted directly by their child's school regarding supermarket voucher grants of £15 per week, available to them during the school holiday from October 2021 up to and including Easter 2022.
    Where a child is not eligible for free school meals because they are not attending a state funded school, a family can seek support directly from the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme - for more information please click on the drop-down box above.
  5. Proactively contacting SCC service users
    Suffolk County Council will be proactively contacting customers that receive support from some SCC services. Letters will be sent out directly to those customers ONLY, offering them financial support towards food, energy, water bills or other essential costs. Customers in receipt of this letter will be asked to complete a short, online form in order to apply for this funding. Applications will be reviewed and customers will be contacted to inform them of the outcome of their application.

  6. Warm Homes, Healthy Lives
    Warm Homes Healthy People will be using Household Support funding to deliver the following:
    - Supporting those who have recently been discharged from hospital, and those at risk in the community with hot meals
    - Providing households in hardship with emergency boiler repairs (up to £500)
    - Supporting people to keep warm this winter (with hats, gloves, and blankets)
    - Everyone receiving support will also be offered onward signposting and referrals to other organisations to help meet their needs

    If you or someone you know needs support with any of the above, please call 03456 037686 or email whhp@eastsuffolk.gov.uk

  7. Housing Support via District and Borough Councils
    If you need further help with housing support, it is recommended that you discuss your circumstances with your local Housing Needs Team so they can help identify what options may be available to you and the support required. Please note, as part of the Household Support Fund the team are unable to support with mortgage assistance. To contact your local housing team, please visit:
    - East Suffolk Council
    - Ipswich Borough Council
    - Mid Suffolk and Babergh Councils
    - West Suffolk Council

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a continued increase in the use of food banks across Suffolk. The network has supplied enough food, on average, to feed 3,738 people per week.

From the data collected by the FareShare Scheme we have seen an increase of 238% in the amount of food being given to families across Suffolk over the past 12 months. We predict that demand will increase further as national policies and schemes change.

The independent network of food banks is being supported via the Collaborative Communities Board and have received additional food and non-food items to support their own provision.

Whilst the need to ensure they have sufficient supplies to meet the needs of their local communities is paramount; further work is being developed with the food banks to better understand the dependencies and complexities of food bank usage.

Find a food bank that accepts self referrals.

Suffolk InfoLink provides information about a wide range of organisations across Suffolk.

Information is grouped into four key areas:

  • Help for adults about local advice services and organisations to help you live independently
  • Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health information, advice, and support services
  • Suffolk Local Offer for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)
  • Families and Community directory of childcare, local groups, organisations, and activities

Visit Suffolk InfoLink
    

The Warm Handover enables fast referrals between support organisations, enabling those finding themselves facing difficulties due to COVID-19 to get access to the support they need quickly.

The Warm Handover is being extended to include more support organisations that are members of the Suffolk Advice and Support Service.

Check out the list of organisations who are signed up to the warm handover scheme.

The Suffolk Information Partnership manages this secure, online referral process to support those in need to help them access services that they may not be able to on their own.

If the individual would like to be referred to another organisation in the Scheme, or the practitioner feels it is in their best interests, their personal details and support needs can be safely and swiftly passed on to other partner organisations who will get in touch with the client to offer support. The process, which means that the client only needs to tell their story once, is underpinned by an Information Sharing Agreement that outlines the responsibilities of each partner and a Privacy Statement.

Please note that the referral form is only for use by organisations and is not for the public. If you wish to refer yourself or a family member to a service offered by the partners in the scheme, please contact the most appropriate organisation listed on the Partners' page.

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