As part of the nationwide efforts to recover following the pandemic, Southampton City Council has been provided with funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF).
This funding has been distributed to all councils across England, who know their local areas best and how to directly help those who need it most. This is including for example, support to meet daily needs such as food, clothing, utilities and essentials.
More information about the fund and the national picture can be found in the Government Household Support Fund announcement.
What is the fund?
The government recently announced a new Household Support Fund (HSF). This has been provided to councils to support those most in need this winter with food, prepay energy and other essential items.
Am I eligible?
The Fund aims to support Southampton residents who are on a low income and facing financial hardship.
We must make sure that all applications are made legitimately. If you falsely declare your circumstances, provide a false statement or provide false evidence in support of your application, you may have committed an offence under the Fraud Act 2006.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and financial irregularity. All suspicions of fraud relating to this scheme will be referred to Hampshire Constabulary.
How can I apply?
There are two ways in which support can be requested. A professional’s referral that will be made on your behalf and a self-referral.
A self-referral is for those without any involvement with a professional or organisation. This will be a limited offer of support and can be made directly via our online form.
You may be asked to provide evidence of your circumstances and personal details in order for us to check against our records.
You can submit a self-referral for one-off support with:
- Prepay gas and electricity
Before you fill in this form
You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself five minutes to fill it in.
We aim to respond within 10 working days.
Please note: If your application is accepted, and you requested that your vouchers be posted to you, please allow additional time for your vouchers to be delivered by Royal Mail. This is due to the relative delays in postage at this time of the year.
If you have concerns around this please request that any vouchers are delivered electronically. Thank you for your patience.
If you need help to complete the self-referral form (for example, you do not have online access or need language support) you can call Southampton City Council on 023 9401 6642 (9am – 2pm, Monday to Friday).
If you have a lead professional working or supporting you or your household, you should discuss with them about a referral through the professionals referral route. Professionals could be a Southampton School, Social Worker, Youth Offending Service, Family Engagement Worker or community organisation.
If successful, this could be for:
- Prepay gas and electricity
- Essential kitchen equipment
- Other essentials (warm clothing and bedding)
- Referrals to further support and advice
How will I receive support?
All applications will be reviewed by our team who will contact you to inform you of the outcome.
They will look at the information in your application to see what support you need. If your application is successful, your award will be made by e-voucher. You will need to go online to convert this into a gift card. This can be used in most of the major and local supermarkets including Tesco’s, Morrison’s, Sainsburys, ASDA and ALDI. Vouchers will also be provided for prepayment gas and electric.
If you are not able to access this digitally or have access to printing, we may be able to post these directly to you.
Can I be referred/apply more than once?
Yes, this may be possible if you are being referred by a professional or agency. Each referral will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by our dedicated team in Southampton City Council who have oversight of all referrals and will consider previous referrals when reviewing your application.
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What other support is available?
Household bills SHOW
- The Environment Centre can help with advice on how to cut your energy costs and make your home warmer
- Visit the government’s website for help heating your home, including information on a discount to reduce your electricity bill for winter, cold weather payments and winter fuel payments
- British Gas Energy Trust provides grants for customers in utility bill arrears, irrespective of energy company
- WaterSure allows you to have your water bills capped if you are on certain benefits
- Southern Water provides support if you are struggling with water bills
Housing costs or council tax SHOW
Other costs SHOW
- Healthy Start Vouchers – if you receive certain benefits and are pregnant or have a child under the age of four
- Free School Meals – if you meet the income criteria and have a school-aged child
- Bereavement Support Payment – if you are on a low income and your husband, wife or civil partner has died in the last 21 months
- Funeral Expenses Payment – if you are on a low income and are responsible for arranging someone’s funeral
- Use a free online benefits calculator on the Turn 2 Us website or on the Entitled To website
- If you are over pension age, there is useful information on Age UK
- Visit our benefits and welfare pages for more information about universal credit, housing benefit and council tax support
- Contact Citizens Advice for help applying for Universal Credit
- If you have been impacted by the Benefit Cap, please email us or call 07917 557149
Managing debt SHOW
- Citizens Advice Southampton can advise and support you with money and debt queries
- Frontline Debt and Christians Against Poverty provide free and confidential debt help
- You can also get debt advice online at any time of day from StepChange and National Debtline
- The Welfare Rights & Money Advice team can help you with benefits, budgeting and debt advice if you are a council tenant
Money and income SHOW
- Check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to
- Visit the Money Advice Service for tips and tricks to save money when shopping
- Impartial advice can also be found on Money Saving Expert
- If you’re regularly paying bank charges or overdraft fees, or if you’ve been refused a current account, you might need a basic bank account which can help you to avoid most of these charges
- Find out if you are eligible for Help to Save, a government scheme which pays a bonus to savers who qualify
- Before you think about borrowing money, make sure you know how much it will cost you to pay it back. Avoid expensive options such as payday loans; you can use this guide to look for alternatives to payday loans
- If you are concerned you have borrowed money from a ‘loan shark’ please contact Stop Loan Sharks