Cost of living support

The rise in the cost of living is adding further pressure to household finances.

We want to make sure that our residents know about the local support available.

You'll find details for some of the many local organisations that offer free help and advice on this page.

Help from the government

You'll find information on help for households which includes housing, childcare and transport costs.

Visit the Help for Households website on gov.uk to find out about help available from the UK government

Benefits, Council Tax and council housing rent

Benefits

Our benefits department handles Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. We also have information on claiming Universal Credit on our benefits pages.

Visit our benefits pages for more information.

Phone 01903 737753

Email revenues.benefits@arun.gov.uk

Council Tax

Contact our Council Tax department to find out what help is available to pay your Council Tax.

Visit our Council Tax pages for more information.

Phone 01903 737752

Email revenues.benefits@arun.gov.uk

Rent

If you're a council tenant and are worried about paying your rent, please contact us as soon as possible.

Phone 01903 737850

Email rent.arrears@arun.gov.uk

Benefits calculators

Use these free, independent benefits calculators to find out what help you may be entitled to.

turn2us

Betteroffcalculator

EntitledTo

Debt and money worries

Debt

If you're worried about debt, there are lots of organisations that can officer advice and help. Visit our debt advice page to find out about what help is available

Beware of loan sharks

Loan sharks are illegal money lenders who often charge very high interest on loans.

If you have borrowed from a loan shark or are worried about someone else, Stop Loan Sharks can help and keep you safe

Stop Loan Sharks investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders and provides support for borrowers in the UK. 

Credit unions

Loans from credit unions are much cheaper, safe and easy to access, and there are no hidden charges or penalties. Our local credit union is Boom Community Bank.

Boom Community Bank is like a high street bank in that it lends to borrowers, looks after money for savers and provides current accounts; however, it does not operate to make a profit.

Boom’s purpose is to help its customers build financial resilience by providing accessible financial services with an emphasis on regular savings, even for those who borrow.

Boom Community Bank pledges fair, transparent loan pricing and is committed to responsible lending principles. Visit Boom’s website for more information on loans, savings, and current accounts.

Other advice

Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice have great information on how to maximise your income.

Energy and utility bills

Warm Homes Discount Scheme

Please note this scheme will reopen again in October 2023.

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter 2023 to 2024 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.

You may get a discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.

Find more information on the Warm Homes Discount Scheme on gov.uk

Age UK

Contact Age UK's advisers for information on how to save energy, keep warm and help with heating costs.

Phone 0800 019 1310

Email info@ageukwsbh.org.uk

Citizens Advice Energy Team

This service is provided by Arun & Chichester Citizens Advice and is available to everyone living in Arun. If you need energy advice or assistance with paying your bills, call the energy line.

Phone 01243 974063 (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, local call rates apply)

Cheaper broadband and phone packages

Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband. You can find out more about social tariffs by visiting the Ofcom website.

Water bills

Both Portsmouth Water and Southern Water are currently offering payment schemes and discounts.

Help with my bills | Portsmouth Water

What if I can’t pay my bill? (southernwater.co.uk)

Contact your supplier

Always contact your supplier if you're struggling to pay your energy or utility bills. They may be able to offer support.

Early Help Service 

The Early Help Service help families across West Sussex who need extra support in their own homes and in the community tackle problems before they become difficult to reverse. This includes crisis support – such as emergency access to food and utilities.

Phone 01403 229900

Food and groceries

There are a number of local organisations that provide help with food and groceries, and not all need referrals.

Littlehampton Community Fridge

St James’ Church Hall, 1 East Ham Road, Littlehampton BN17 7AN

Anyone may take five items per adult per day (plus bread). It costs nothing, all the food is rescued and needs a home to stop it being wasted.

Opening times: Monday: 11am to 12pm

Wednesday: 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Thursday: 10.30am to 11.30am

Friday: 11am to 12pm

Saturday: 10.30am to 12pm

Phone 0300 030 9376

Email littlehamptoncommunityfridge@faredivide.org.uk

St Peter and St Paul's Pantry

Rustington Church Hall, 77 The Street, Rustington, BN16 3NL

A space where people can top up their food supplies - no referral needed. Fresh, frozen and long life - a mixture of donations and surplus from businesses.

Opening times:

First Wednesday of the month: 4pm to 6pm

Second Wednesday of the month: 8.30am to 10am

Third Wednesday of the month:  4pm to 6pm

Fourth and fifth Wednesday of the month: 10am to 12pm

Bognor Community Pantry

Bognor Community Pantry is located inside EcoSwap, High Street PO21 1EG.

The Community Pantry, a friendly space that helps to stop food waste.

Provides non-perishable and fresh produce, essentials, frozen and chilled items.

No referral necessary.

Opening Times:

Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm

Contact details:

07561 379988

hello@ecoswap.org.uk

Bognor Community Pantry | Bognor Regis | Facebook

Bognor Regis Foodbank

Argyle Hall, Argyle Road, Bognor, PO21 1DY

Bognor Regis Foodbank provides food parcels and support to anyone who is facing a financial crisis and has little or no money. A referral is needed to access the foodbank.

They going to trial a new food distribution session to help accommodate their rising number of clients, especially people who are working during our normal opening hours. These will be 5.30pm-7.30pm on Fridays, starting on 3rd February and running through until 28th April 2023.

Opening times

Tuesday and Fridays 10am to 2.30pm

Phone 0344 4771171 to speak to Arun and Chichester Citizens Advice for referral voucher information.

Bognor Regis Foodbank | Helping Local People in Crisis

Jeneses Food Bank, Bognor Regis

Jeneses Community Centre, 45 Linden Road, Bognor Regis PO21 2AS

Provides non-perishable and fresh produce, essentials, frozen and chilled items including meat and fish, and pastries, cakes and bread.

No referral is necessary.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm

Facebook.com/jenesescommunitycentre

Littlehampton District Foodbank

Rear hall - Littlehampton United Church, 1 High Street, Littlehampton BN17 5EG

Littlehampton District Foodbank works with local agencies that can issue you with the required foodbank voucher. They include Citizens Advice, Turning Tides, Mind, Safe In Sussex, HomeStart, SSAFA, housing support officers, children’s centres, health visitors and social services.

Opening times: Tuesdays and Fridays 1pm to 3pm for those with appointments to collect a parcel.

littlehamptondistrict.foodbank.org.uk

Email info@littlehamptondistrict.foodbank.org.uk

Phone 07925 862289

The Household Support Fund

The government has announced the continuation of the Household Support Fund, to provide support between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024. West Sussex County Council have been allocated funding by the Department of Work and Pensions to support residents in need across the county.

Contact WSCC to check if you are eligible for support or if you have an urgent need.

Examples of an urgent need would be if you are going to run out of food, medicine or essential supplies within the next three days.

Phone 03302 227980

Online WSCC Household Support Fund

Further information on the government’s response to the cost of living is available on GOV.UK.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

You could get £150 off your electricity bill for winter under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

The money is not paid to you - it’s a one-off discount on your electricity bill, between October and March.

You may be able to get a discount on your gas bill instead if your supplier provides you with both gas and electricity. Contact your supplier to find out.

Find out more information, eligibility and how to apply at Warm Home Discount Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Arun Warm Spaces Small Grants Fund

We supported many 'Warm Spaces' in Arun last year, to help residents keep warm throughout the winter. Feedback from attendees is that these spaces not only provided a place to keep warm and seek advice but that they also prevented loneliness or were a place to just to keep in touch. The cost of living crisis has meant that many people have felt more isolated from social interaction and these spaces keep people connected.

Details of successful applicants to this year's fund will be posted here soon.

You can find local warm spaces on warmwelcome.uk 

TV Licence

Help with your TV Licence

The Simple Payment Plan was created for those in financial difficulty.

Qualifying customers can choose from either a fortnightly or monthly payment plan that spreads the cost of a TV Licence over 12 months, this means you make smaller payments more frequently, helping you to better manage your finances.

TV Licensing accepts referrals to the Simple Payment Plan from not-for-profit organisations such as charities as:

  • Citizens Advice – visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau or go to adviceguide.org.uk (England and Wales) or call West Sussex helpline on 01903 251982
  • National Debtline – if you live in England call 0808 808 4000 or go to their website for advice and information.
  • StepChange Debt Charity (formerly the Consumer Credit Counselling Service) Phone 08001 381111

You can read more information about the simple payment plan on the TV Licencing website.

There are other TV licence concessions, which you might be eligible for depending on your circumstances. There are concessions available for:

Disability energy support

Scope the charity for disabled people, have a disability energy support service where they provide free energy and water advice. 

They cover the following topics:

  • managing energy and water debt
  • changing your meter
  • energy and water efficiency
  • accessing benefits, grants, and trusts
  • contacting or complaining to your supplier
  • understanding your gas and electricity bills
  • understanding how to use your heating systems
  • support registering with the Priority Services Register 

This service is open to any disabled person or households where one or more disabled people live in England and Wales. 

For more information visit the Scope disability energy support web page.