This year might feel more difficult than previous years but there us support available to help you through the holidays and into 2023.
Here are some useful things to know:
If You or Someone You Know Needs Emergency Housing
If you’re worried about becoming homeless, contact Citizens Advice Southwark. They can make the necessary referral to either Council or a local charity which specializes in housing and homelessness.
If you’re worried about someone you’ve seen sleeping rough, you can connect them with local services that can support them through StreetLink .
If you’re at risk of sleeping rough, you could get a place to stay in a hostel, night shelter, refuge or bed and breakfast
How to Get Help From a Foodbank
If you’re struggling to afford food, you might be able to help from a food bank. You’ll need a referral from a local community organization like a school, doctors or an advice agency. You can find your local food bank and more information on the Trussell Trust website. It’s important to check their opening times as these might change over the holidays.
Citizens Advice Southwark Opening Times
The opening times for Citizens Advice Southwark have changed for the festive period. While the phone lines will stay open as usual, please check the opening times before you make a journey to see an advisor in person. Our opening times can be viewed here .
If You are Struggling to Pay Your Utility Bills
With the cost of living rising, you might be struggling to afford your bills. But don’t feel alone, there are options available and local organizations can help you to make sense of it.
Check what help you can get from Southwark Council and make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to.
If you are unsure, get in touch with Citizens Advice Southwark and they will be able to help you.
The list of other local organizations in Southwark can be found here
Topping Up Your Pre-Payment Meter
If you need to top up your meter, make sure you check opening times for your top up point as most shops and Post Offices will close on Christmas Day and bank holidays.
If you can’t afford to top up your meter you can get temporary credit .
Your supplier might add this to your meter automatically when you run out of credit, or you might have to contact them and ask. You can check your supplier’s website to find out how to get temporary credit.
Getting Help with the Cost of Living
If you don’t have enough money to live on, you might be able to get help to afford essentials like bills and food. This includes the Household Support Fund and cost of living payments. You should check if you can claim benefits — you might be able to do this even if you have a job. You can find information on available support here.
If Your Child Gets Free School Meals
If your child is eligible for free school meals, they’ll also qualify for the Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF) .You have to apply before each holiday. Contact Southwark Council to find out how to apply. Some cafes and shops like ASDA and Tesco’s cafes are also offering cheap or free meals for children over the school holidays.
How to Work Out Your Budget
January is a good time to start budgeting. Budgeting tools online can help you understand what you’re earning and spending, and where you might be able to cut costs. You might get paid from work or benefits on a different day in December so remember to adjust your budget so you have enough money to cover all your expenses. If you think you’ll struggle to cover costs, make sure to check if you’re getting all the benefits that you are entitled to. You can check here
Get to Know the Charities and Organizations Which Can Support You
We have published all relevant charities and organizations on our Get Support page.
Other useful contact information
Samaritans – call 116 123 (24 hours a day) if you are feeling alone, hopeless and need someone to talk to
National Domestic Helpline – 0808 2000 247 (24 hours a day)
Shout – text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 (24 hours a day) if you urgently need support with your mental health