The cost of living is on the rise, which can affect all aspects of your finances, including energy bills, grocery bills, and take-home pay. We're offering a helping hand to make your money go further.

To make sure you get all the support and help that you're entitled to, we have put together lots of information and advice from what you're entitled to, how to become more energy efficient, reducing food waste, and information about local food support projects.

You can also find out about low-cost activities across the district.

In addition, the government has launched a Cost of Living campaign giving information about the financial support package that is rolling out nationally, including help with bills. You can find out more about what you are eligible to receive.

Money

Am I entitled to any benefits?

Complete a benefits check to see if more money help is available with your everyday living and housing costs. This could include:

  • Universal Credit

  • Disability and Carers benefits

  • Pension Credit

  • help with childcare costs

  • working from home allowance.

You can find links to a number of free benefits calculators on the Gov.uk website.

Other help you can apply for:

  • Council Tax Support - Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to receive support with your Council Tax.

  • Discretionary Housing Payments - If you rent your home and claim Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, then Discretionary Housing Payments can provide help with rent or housing costs. Apply online.

  • Healthy Start - If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to help to buy healthy food and milk. Visit the Healthy Start website for more information.

  • prescriptions/dental care/glasses - Check your eligibility for free help on the NHS website.

  • free school meals - Check if your child can get free school meals on the Gov.uk website.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund (HSF) has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food and household energy bills.

Support is offered in five ways:

  • support for pensioners who are struggling financially

  • through trusted partners

  • Cambridgeshire Holiday Voucher Scheme (CHVS)

  • Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme

  • support with food and household energy.

Food

Food banks can help with short-term food needs. We support several food banks in the district where customers are provided with free produce that would otherwise go to landfill. Find your nearest food bank.

For long-term needs, why not think about setting yourself a weekly food budget and plan your meals in advance so nothing goes to waste? You can also try online shopping, so you only buy what you need for the week. Check how long you can store your food and read the use-by dates to ensure that you’re only buying ingredients that you need without them going to waste. Some foods can also be stored in the freezer so read the labels.

Waste

Our 'Zero Waste' initiative and projects helps residents across the district to look for alternatives to products, services or waste streams. We have a number of projects that we support from refill shops to community fridges and much more. View the full list.

Energy Saving

Your energy provider sends out lots of information on how to save energy with your fuel bills and will often give details of financial help towards fitting insulation or replacing a boiler. You can find independent advice on energy efficient measures and available grants from the Energy Saving Trust.

There are a number of ways you can save energy in your home:

  • cavity wall insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to save energy and can save you up to £150 a year on your fuel bills

  • loft insulation prevents approximately 30% of your home’s heat from escaping through the roof

  • lag your hot water pipes and tanks to stop heat escaping

  • keep out cold draughts by fitting draught proofing to external doors and windows

  • improve your heating controls by installing a programmer, room thermostat(s) and individual thermostatic radiator valves

  • turning down your room thermostat by just 1°C could save you up to 10% on your heating bills

  • set your hot water cylinder thermostat to 60°C, which is adequate for bathing and washing

  • always turn off lights when leaving a room and don't leave electrical appliances on standby

  • unplug mobile phone and other chargers when you're not using them

  • energy saving light bulbs and LED lights last much longer than ordinary bulbs and help reduce your fuel bills

  • when buying new appliances check the energy label and reduce your running costs by choosing a model that's at least A or B rated.

Find out other ways in which you can save energy in your home.

Financial support for energy bills

Warm Home Discount - increasing from £140 to £150 this Winter (22/23)

Households on means tested benefits with high energy use may be eligible for a one off £150 payment from their energy supplier every winter. The £150 is not paid to the applicant but taken off their electricity bill sometime between September and March.

Applications must be made directly to the energy supplier annually, except for those on Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit) who should receive this automatically.

Energy Bills rebate - £150

A £150 one off payment between April and September 2022 for households in council tax bands A to D, known as the Council Tax Rebate. If you pay by direct debit, the payment should automatically be paid into your account.

If you pay by other means you will have to contact your local authority to arrange payment to you.

Energy Bills Support Scheme - £400 discount

Energy bills discount due to come in from October is being doubled from £200 to £400. Households will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills from October onwards. The discount is credited directly to their account/prepay meter.

Cost of living support

The government announced additional support for households on certain benefits - full information can be found on Cost of living support factsheet.

Winter fuel payment - from £250 to £600

Automatic payment of up to £300 for people aged 66+ as at September 2022. Payments are made automatically in November and December. Winter Fuel Payment.

Cold weather payment

This is paid for periods of very cold weather lasting 7 days or more between 1 November and 31 March for people on specific eligible benefits. View more information.

Activities

One Leisure Concessionary Scheme - Enables people to access a number of activities at its One Leisure Facilities at a discounted price, weekdays before 4.30pm and all weekend, including: gym sessions, fitness classes and public swimming. View information and apply here.

Healthy You - Funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, is here to provide information and support to Huntingdonshire residents who want to be more physically active and live a healthier lifestyle. We run a range of free activities funded through the Healthy You project. Find out about classes near you.

There are a number of free country parks, nature reserves and play areas in the district.

Other useful information