We know times are hard at the moment as day-to-day costs go up and will continue to do so for some time.
There is local support available to you if your financial situation has changed and you need help with household payments, debts or living costs.
Financial help and support
Help with paying rent
If you require support for any of our services and wish to speak to someone please call us on 01423 500600.
- if you feel your financial situation is affecting your ability to manage your tenancy or housing costs please contact our housing options team who can provide advice and assistance
- if you are of pension age or live in temporary or supported accommodation, you may be able to claim help with housing benefit
- if you receive some housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and are struggling to pay the remainder of your rent, we may be able to give you a temporary, extra rent top-up or assist with move-on costs to help you move somewhere cheaper
- if your income has changed, you can apply to have your council tax reduced. We can also review your monthly payments, spread them across 12 months, or arrange a payment holiday
- if you are a council tenant we can also assist with financial support including Council Tax rebate and Universal Credit as well as give support and ensure the smooth running of your tenancy
Help with living costs
- North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund provides emergency financial support to those unable to meet essential living costs, such as energy bills or food. They can also make awards in kind, such as supplying basic necessities or household goods such as a fridge
- Leeds Credit Union provide ethical savings, loan products and assistance in opening a bill paying account, helping to remove the stress of budgeting for living expenses
- if you are of working age and are on a low income or are out of work or cannot work, you can claim help with rent and living costs
- if you are in receipt of Universal Credit or other benefits, you may be able to get cheaper broadband and phone packages often called 'social tariffs'
- if you are struggling to pay your bills, we can provide help with managing debt, budgeting and other financial support
- for a comprehensive guide to the latest support available please visit the government website
- get local help from Warm and Well with high energy bills, switching to cheaper energy suppliers, grants, energy debt and energy efficiency as well as advice on keeping warm in the home
- get financial help with household energy costs and debts from the British Gas Energy Trust
- you may be able to get help with paying your water bills through Yorkshire Water Community Trust
- if there are more bedrooms than people in a household you could save money by installing a water meter as you only pay for what you use
- anyone on a prepayment meter who is struggling to top-up should contact their existing energy provider
- for simple advice and self-help on energy efficiency and reducing energy bills please visit Simple Energy Advice or Citizens Advice
- if you are a council tenant speak to your housing who can help provide advice on energy saving, and reading meters. Please call us on 01423 500600
Struggling to feed or clothe you and your family
Our local community providers are here to help you and your family if you find yourself in need of food, clothing or furniture. Please contact your nearest provider to find out how they can help you. All enquiries are dealt with in strict confidence.
Children and families
- children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are automatically entitled to free school meals. Parents and carers who are eligible for certain financial support may also be able to obtain free school meals for children in Years 3 to 6 at primary school or secondary school
- for help in the school holidays, FEAST provides activities for children and young people in North Yorkshire. The activities are free to children on benefits-related free school meals. A hot meal or packed lunch is included each day
- some two-year-old children are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, depending on income and the receipt of certain benefits
- after a third birthday children are automatically eligible for 15 hours of universal funding for up to 38 weeks per year. You do not need to apply for this, but you need to discuss and arrange this with your childcare provider. In addition to the universal 15 hours of government funding, some families may be entitled to claim an extra 15 hours of childcare per week, bringing the total to 30 hours
- funding is available to support childcare costs including tax free childcare which is for all working families with children under 12 years old (or under 17 for children with a disability). For further information on accessing support with your childcare costs, including tax credit, tax free childcare and government funding please visit the county council website
Other places you can go for independent financial support and advice
- advice on benefits, money management, employment, housing, social care, immigration and consumer issues is available from Citizens Advice website
- for help with debt please visit contact the National debt line
- Step Change provides free, impartial debt advice
- Turn2us: Check which means-tested benefits you may be entitled to, including tax credits, by visiting the Turn2us website
- get confidential advice on housing, welfare benefits and debt management by contacting Shelter
Improving your skills
- do you or does someone you know need help using technology, using a smartphone, tablet or computer or want to build confidence to do more online? If so, please contact Citizens Online and one of the team of trained digital champions will offer free, friendly, patient support over the phone
- have you ever thought about volunteering? It's a great way to gain new skills and confidence or experience for a CV, meet new people, develop new interests and get involved with your local community. There are many different and flexible ways you can volunteer to match your interests and availability
- adult learning and skills service offer a range of courses, whether you wish to improve your skills for work or your health and wellbeing or just learn a new skill
Wellbeing and mental health support
Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important. Please seek support to help you feel mentally stronger whether you call it stress, depression, fed up, sad, or just not yourself, it’s OK not to be OK. There is lots of local support to help you if you are struggling.
- the NHS has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing
- your GP is there to help if you’re feeling worried about your mental health
- North Yorkshire out-of-hours mental health support helpline provides mental health advice and support from 5pm to 8.30am weekdays and 24 hours at the weekend. Please contact 0333 0000 309 (calls are confidential and anonymous to anyone registered with a North Yorkshire GP)
- if you are struggling with your mental health and need someone please contact Harrogate Mind on 01423 503335 (available 8.30am to 5pm every week day)
- Samaritans are there for anyone who wants to talk about how they are feeling. It’s free to call 116 123 from a landline or mobile and they are available at any time.
- free advice and support for anyone under 19 is available from Childline.
- for support with anxiety please contact 03444 775774, text 07537 416 905 or visit the Anxiety UK website
- abuse isn't always physical abuse. It can also include controlling your finances and emotional abuse. If your partner hurts, harms or controls you, makes you feel anxious or afraid, IDAS can offer emotional and practical support
- if you are feeling suicidal please talk to someone now via the NHS line 0800 0516171
- if you or someone else is in immediate danger please call 999
Local community support
If you need support with little jobs such as help with shopping or need help with getting to an appointment or just want to talk to someone or be more active in your local community please contact one of the six community support hubs across the district who can help signpost you:
- Harrogate and surrounding villages (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm) contact 01423 813096 or visit: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Boroughbridge and surrounding villages (Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm) contact 01423 324504 or visit: email@example.com
- Knaresborough and surrounding villages (Monday to Sunday 8am to 8pm) contact 07593 882340 or visit: www.knaresboroughconnectors.org.uk
- Ripon and surrounding villages (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm) contact 01765 603631 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Masham and surrounding villages (Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm) contact 01765 680200 or email@example.com
- Pateley Bridge and surrounding villages (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday 10am to 1pm) contact 01423 714953 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If it's difficult to find out what's happening in your local area see the Where to Turn Directory for regular community activities, support groups and services provided by voluntary organisations across the Harrogate district.