This information is from the Oxfordshire County Council’s web page on help with rising living costs.
If you’re not sure where to go for the support you need, two online directories can help find out what’s available and you can also telephone for advice.
For information related to children, young people and families: Family Information Service (alternatively call 01865 323332).
For support options for adults click on: Live Well Oxfordshire or call 01235 859410
Both of these directories have extensive information on cost of living and money matters including help with child-care costs, carers support and debt advice. Connections are also listed to organisations that can support with mental health, domestic violence, addiction, loneliness and isolation and a whole range of other support needs.
You can also speak to your local library. The team can help by pointing you in the right direction. Contact your local library to find out more.
- A new Oxfordshire Resident Support Scheme has also been launched. From 1 June 2023, residents experiencing severe financial hardship or who have suffered a crisis may be eligible additional financial or practical help.
- Further payments are being made to those residents who missed out on the government’s cost of living payments as they receive support through housing benefit rather than Universal Credit. If this applies to you, you will have received a letter from the County Council.
- Children and young people in early years settings, schools and colleges will continue to receive free school meal equivalent support ahead of school holiday periods. This discretionary scheme is currently funded at the rate of £15 per holiday week per eligible child or young person and typically comes in the form of a supermarket voucher or digital equivalent.
Those eligible in schools or colleges are those lower income families also eligible for means-tested free school meals or in the case of early years.
In early years, those eligible attend participating providers and are in receipt of two-year-old funded places or those three and four-year-old children who attract Early Years Pupil Premium.
For further information you should contact your child’s school or nursery directly.
- Funding has been set aside for additional council tax support and to increase the availability of discretionary housing payments. Contact your local city or district council at the link below if you think you may be eligible
The district and city councils have the details of local organisations that can provide practical support and advice on money matters, housing, living costs and mental health.
- Cherwell District Council
- Oxford City Council
- South Oxfordshire District Council
- Vale of White Horse District Council
- West Oxfordshire District Council
There are also a number of national or countywide options to explore.
There is a range of support available nationally, find out more about it on the government’s Cost of Living Hub
An estimated £15bn of benefits are believed to go unclaimed each year. Use a free benefits calculator to find out what you could be entitled to. Or contact Citizens Advice Oxfordshire or other advisory services for one-to-one help to do this. Advisory services can also help with planning your budgeting and debt advice if things are tough.
Through the NHS there is a range of support to help people access health services such as support with travel costs and financial support for people on low incomes. Find out more on the NHS website.
Money Helper is a government-backed service that provides free, confidential and impartial help on a range of finance-related issues including benefits, savings, pensions and work.
If you can’t pay your energy bills now, contact your energy supplier. Further information about the help available with energy bills can be found on gov.uk.
Some broadband providers offer cheaper packages for those who receive certain government benefits. These are known as social tariffs. Ofcom has a list of broadband providers who offer these packages. You should always check with your existing provider before starting any new contracts to make sure there are no charges for stopping your existing contract.
Many water companies run hardship schemes or fund independent charitable trusts which can help you pay your bills.
If your child is eligible for free school meals, you will also be able to get equivalent support during the school holidays. Activities and events will be available for 4 to 11-year-olds during the Christmas holidays. Your school or early years setting should be in touch directly but if not, please contact them.
If you’re at least ten weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old, you might be able to get free vitamins and Healthy Start vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk.
The Oxfordshire food access map allows you to search for community food services such as food banks, community larders, and food projects.
Most food banks need a referral to access them - this can come from many groups - a doctor, housing association, local council, charity, the council.
Larders and fridges do not work on a referral basis and give either low-cost or free food which otherwise would go to waste.
You may be eligible for a fully funded energy efficiency update to your home. Check if you’re eligible to apply.
There are grants and schemes available designed to help you make essential repairs and improve the comfort, safety and security of your home.
With the Better Housing, Better Health service you’ll get practical advice on saving energy and accessing grants and financial support. This is a free service, supported by Oxfordshire County Council, which could save you money, make your living space more comfortable, reduce stress and improve your health.
As part of the council’s Covenant Duty, we are required to ensure that our policies and services are equal and accessible for Armed Forces personnel, their families and reservists. Find out about our tailored support for the military.