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Information for Families: Signposting Package to support the Winter Grant 2020

Many families are finding themselves in situations that they could not have imagined previously. If you are a family in need of some support at this time, whether this is due to a one off crisis, or an ongoing situation that you need some help with, please do not suffer alone! There is help available for you.  Here is a list of services that are available to families.

Direct Contact: You can contact the services yourself, you do not need to be referred by a professional.

Referral: Speak to a professional you are working with such as a school, to support you with a referral to a service.




Financial support and assistance:


Winter Grant:

Support for families for food and warmth this winter.

Children on free school meals, and children who are eligible and attending a nursery will have vouchers provided directly through these settings.


If you do not meet this criteria you may still be able to access this grant.

Children registered at a School or Nursery will receive their vouchers through these settings.


If your children are not registered at a setting, or you do not meet the criteria referral is via a professional such as a FISS worker, Health visitor, social worker etc.


Speak with a professional who is working with your family to support you with a referral.

Citizens Advice:


Help available while our drop-in services are closed.


We are still here to help:


You can contact us direct, or someone who is supporting you can refer you.


Debt & Money worries, Benefits & Income maximisation, Universal Credit, Employment & Redundancy, Housing, Immigration, Energy advice, Legal issues and much more


Citizens Advice Help To Claim Universal Credit

0800 1448444


Citizens Advice self-referrals for financial support



Direct Email – General public can contact us via the form on our website


Referral - We accept referrals from local and national statutory bodies and Voluntary Sector partner agencies. To make a referral by email:


Call Citizens Advice direct by phone

  • 0808 2787813     Swindon Advice line
  • 0800 1448 444 Help to Claim Universal Credit
  • 0800 3161 442 Consumer Helpline
  • All calls are free from mobiles or landlines


Public website

Available to all - for people who can self-help/ navigate (updated daily)

Coronavirus Page

Universal Credit Help to Claim service (includes online chat)


Swindon Borough Council – Emergency Assistance Fund

The emergency assistance fund provides emergency assistance to Swindon residents who need it.


Direct Contact: Tel: 01793 445500

Food, furniture, white goods, practical support and emergency assistance.



Salvation Army

Helping people desperately in need

Emergency assistance includes supporting -

People who are homeless

Families in need


People suffering illness

Those with benefit delays

Direct Contact via your local church or centre

Swindon Citadel (Old Town) - 01793 513788

Booth House Homelessness Service - 01793 401830

Gorse Hill Church - 01793 436928

Gloucester House Homelessness Service (Highworth) Tel: 01793 762365

Bags of Hope – Gorse Hill Baptist Church

Helping families where it is a struggle to make ends meet. Bags include lots of food and fun activities for children of all ages. Contact them directly.

Direct Contact via

Referral: Speak with a professional who is working with your family to support you with a referral.

Swindon Scrap store

have several different projects to help those on low income including food parcels:


Direct Contact:


Live Well:

The live well team @ SBC, have volunteers called local heroes who can do one off jobs such as putting shelves up, curtain poles etc. If you need a one off DIY job just email and outline the job needed, why a volunteer is needed and any risk with visiting the property. Obviously, they can’t guarantee they will have someone but if they have a volunteer available they will allocate them.


Direct Contact at:


Referral: Speak with a professional who is working with your family to support you with a referral.



Healthy Start Vouchers

(food/milk vouchers for under 4 yr olds)

Childcare information

Childcare Choices:

Government help with childcare costs for parents. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support

Calculators for child maintenance and childcare


Child Maintenance information



Child maintenance options leaflet




Swindon Housing:

You can apply for a council home online;

Before you make a bid, you must first apply for council housing; you will be accepted onto the housing register if your application is successful.

We allocate housing according to the urgency of the applicant's need. We operate a choice-based letting system- this allows you to browse available properties every week and identify ones that are suitable. You can then put in a 'bid' for that property.

Home Swapper: The easiest way to swap your social home.

Home Bid: Apply for council housing, make a bid for suitable properties, and explore other housing options and solutions.



Direct contact:







Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs),

for people who need financial help with rental costs:


Details from:

Claiming Discretionary Housing Payments - GOV.UK

Walk-in Service Wat Tyler:  Is currently closed due to Covid 19, but online help and telephone support is still available.

For emergency housing needs, rough sleepers support, and for those at risk of becoming homeless.



Direct contact:

Tel: 01793 445500


For emergency cases, call 01793 445503 at any time of the day or night



Applying for Council Tax Support

Direct contact via the website:

Shelter housing advice


Direct contact:


Tel: 03445151430

Support with household utility bills (Water, Electric, Broadband etc)


Government agrees measures with energy industry to support vulnerable people through COVID-19

Proposals agreed to ensure vulnerable customers who may fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self-isolation

Direct contact:

Utilities support and information


Direct contact:

Warm Home Discount Scheme:

You could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2020 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

Direct contact:


Thames Water

Customer Assistance fund matches payments made by customer to reduce debt faster.  Also applications can be made for a grant for white goods such as cooker, washing machine etc.


Direct contact:


Applying for reduced water rates for those on low incomes / benefits

Direct contact:

Water Sure and Water Sure Plus schemes: We want to help as many customers as possible when it comes to managing their water bill. The WaterSure and WaterSure plus schemes assist customers who are either on a low income or are on a water meter and use lots of water due to factors such as having a large family or having a water-dependent medical condition.


Direct contact:


Virgin Media Broadand

Virgin Media have a special rate for basic broadband for those in receipt of benefits:

Direct contact:

NEA –National Energy Action

NEA’s WASH Advice Service is a free support service providing advice to householders in England and Wales on their energy bills and keeping warm and safe in their home. They can also help with benefits advice and income maximisation

Direct contact:

Energy Advice – 0800 3047159

Benefits Advice – 0800 1388218

Universal Credit:

How to claim


Universal Credit Service Centre



Employment and benefit support / understanding Universal Credit


Citizens Advice Help To Claim Universal Credit

0800 1448444


Direct contact:

Tel: 0800 3285644


Christians Against Poverty:

Struggling with debt or unemployment?

Need some help breaking free from habits or learning new life skills?

CAP is a charity who work with individuals in debt by going through their paperwork with them, creating a budget, and speaking with creditors on the individual’s behalf. It is a free service and individuals can phone themselves.

CAP also run CAP Job Clubs and CAP Life Skills (both also free). These are 8 week courses that help people into work and to develop life skills (how to budget, eat well etc.), respectively



Direct contact:


Tel: 0800 328 0006


Wiltshire Law Centre:

We currently provide free and confidential legal advice and representation in Welfare Benefits, Housing Law, Employment and Debt. If you need advice in any of these areas we can help subject to current eligibility. We operate in the same way as any solicitors firm in the high street, in that we employ advisors to provide high quality professional legal services. However, our expertise lies with solving everyday problems, which come under the general heading of ‘social welfare law’.


Direct contact:


Turn2 Us:

Benefits and grants advice service.

Money Advice Service:

The Money Advice Service are an independent service, set up by government to help people make the most of their money, they give free, unbiased money advice to everyone across the UK– online, over the phone and face to face.

Direct contact:



Step Change:

If you’re worrying about money, talk to us.

We can help you find the right solution.

Direct contact:


COVID 19: Support for those who are self-isolating, are vulnerable and those who are unable to go out.


If you are worried about going out, being able to top up your meters and could be using more power than normal because you are home. You should first ask friends and family to help, but if you have no one able to help your utility provider can help:

If you contact the number below, your supplier will send 2 weeks of power to you or similar.

BRITISH GAS If you're unable to do this, and you haven't got anyone to help you, please call 0330 100 0303 Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm and we'll help you.

EDF Call 0330 200 5110 We also operate a friendly, non-disconnection policy on most meters. So if you run out of credit after 6pm your electricity will not go off until 9am the next day. This operates from 6pm to 9am Monday to Friday, 6pm on Saturday and any time on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, until 9am the next day

EON If your meter falls below 50p of emergency credit for electricity, or if you're off supply for gas, you need to contact us and we will send an engineer to your home. It's important to remember that any credit we issue will need to be repaid in order to reinstate customers' energy supply. 0345 052 000

* For electricity customers, where the meter is outside your property, we'll put enough credit on the meter to ensure you remain on-supply throughout your self-isolation period.

* Where the meter is inside, we'll leave a meter key at your doorstep, make contact with you, and check the key works before leaving the property.

* For gas customers, where the meter is outside, we'll supply a maximum of £5 credit (this an industry restriction) and will also send a card in the post containing extra credit.

* Where the meter is inside, we'll still attend the property and supply a maximum of £5 credit and send a card in the post with additional credit

N POWER Call 0800 073 3000 No further details on the website.

SCOTTISH POWER Please call us on 0800 027 0072.

SSE call us on 0345 600 2006 (Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday: 9am-6pm; Sunday: 9am-5pm) so we can work out how to help. Our call centre might be busier than usual, but bear with us. Once you're through we'll review your individual situation and talk you through the options.


I know this isn't all suppliers but it's the main big ones. The others should have something similar in place as Ofgen have said they should.


Domestic Abuse Support:


Alcohol and Substance Misuse:

Support for families experiencing alcohol or substance misuse.  Christmas can always be a tricky time

Direct contact:



DV support numbers : The Refuge

Call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day


Swindon’s Refuge for free and confidential advice, available 24 hours a day

Direct contact or by referral:

Tel: 0808 2000 247.

Tel: 01793 610610 

Make Yourself Heard - The ‘Silent Solution’ system

The ‘Silent Solution’ system enables a 999 caller to inform the police that they are in a genuine emergency without having to speak to the operator.

If you need help urgently, but if you are too scared or unable to make a noise or speak, you can:

1.            Dial 999

2.            Listen to the questions from the 999 operator

3.            Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can

4.            If prompted by the call operator, press 55. This lets the operator know it's a genuine emergency and you'll be put through to the police.