When your personal circumstances or characteristics combine with other factors, like the effect of coronavirus on jobs and pay, this can create situations where you are less able to sort out problems that you didn’t have, or were in control of previously. You might now need professional help or advice that you have never needed before and this is true for lots of different sorts of people, for example: If you are caring for someone else, are on a low income, are recently bereaved or struggle with your mental wellbeing.
Through no fault of your own, you might be struggling to afford your bills; living in a cold, energy inefficient home; facing pressure sales tactics from companies; struggling to understand and act upon information or choices (such as getting the best deal) or lacking the confidence or ability to pursue a query or complaint. You may be worried about struggling to afford rent/mortgage payments; living in poor quality or overcrowded accommodation; threatened with homelessness or vulnerable to loan sharks/ high cost pay day loan providers.
To help you, below we have compiled a list of local sources of information and advice on a range of topics. You don’t have to be in crisis, or referred by a specialist to use these, they are all open to the general public and residents of Stafford Borough.
Gas, Electric and Water Bills
You can reduce your energy bills, get help with fuel bill debts, broken or inefficient heating systems with support from Warmer Homes Stafford. There is information on the following websites or call free to speak to an adviser.
Warmer Homes Stafford or telephone 0800 677 1785
Rent or Mortgage Payments
Speak to your lender directly if you’re struggling with your mortgage payments. Alternatively, you can access a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser or Mortgage Broker at Unbiased.
Homeowners might be able to get help towards interest payments on mortgage or loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home - Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).
If you’re struggling with your rent, you should speak to your landlord directly. If you rent a home from Stafford and Rural Homes please click the logo below to see what help and advice they offer.
If at risk of losing your home Citizens Advice Bureau will assist with housing related debt. Telephone operators can carry out an initial assessment and book appointments for housing advice contact: email@example.com for a call back within 3 days, 07736 929523 or 07736924929.
Housing Options toolkit for advice and information to help prevent homelessness.
Advice for Landlords if your tenant is having difficulty paying the rent.
Access to Food
Local Food Banks information and opening times.
Family Hub Assistance Grants are available until 31 March 2021, whilst funds are remaining for food and essential supplies.
Contact: Stafford’s Family Hub Coordinator - Fiona Beech, 07711 349553, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online forms and tools, including a calculator for Council Tax Support and Housing Benefit - Benefit service.
Job Support Scheme for employees who are asked to work less than their normal hours because their employer’s business is affected by coronavirus. The scheme will run from 1 November 2020 to 1 April 2021.
If you’re eligible, the government and your employer will pay some of your wages for the hours you’re not working.
Difficulties at work
ACAS is an independent public body who provide free and impartial advice to employers, employees and their representatives.
You can speak to a trained ACAS adviser for free and confidential advice about employment rights and your workplace problem.
Contact: 0300 123 1100 - Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
Building Better Opportunities in Stafford is a free programme for individuals looking to build their skills and confidence, gain new skills, get specialist financial advice and find employment.
Staffordshire County Council offer a benefits calculator which will help you find out what benefits you can claim. If you are affected by Coronavirus please go through the calculator to find out about your entitlements.
Universal Credit help to claim - you can contact a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser through their free Help to Claim phone service, they will assist with registration up to the first payment and complete benefit entitlement checks. Contact: 0800 144 8444.
Claim a payment of £500 if you are required to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace. From the 28 September 2020, individuals will be able to claim an in-work benefit if they cannot work from home and will lose money as a result.
New Era aims to end relationship abuse through a wide range of individual and group support for adults, children and young people for as long as they need it. 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, specialised help is available for all victims of domestic abuse in Staffordshire when they need it most. The service also provides a webchat facility.
Call 0300 303 3778 and speak to someone now.
Staffordshire Women's Aid, 0300 330 5959.
Drugs and alcohol - ReSolv.org or call 01785 817885
Sure Start Maternity Grant - is a one-off payment to help towards the cost of having a child.
- Finding free or affordable legal help - Citizens Advice
- Legal advisors - lawsociety.org.uk (search for legal advisers, sort by location and vocation, ensure the service is free before engaging).
- Citizens Advice consumer help or call 03444 111 444
- Coronavirus community help if you’re a community group, voluntary organisation or local charity looking for information on behalf of someone else, we will be hosting a series of webinars to provide you with more information on local services and how to refer people for help.
Webinar 1: Financial Hardship and Distress – 2 December 2020 at 10.00am
Sam Taylor and Hayley Smith - Stafford Borough Council
Martin Peake – Beat the Cold, Warmer Homes Stafford
Lisa Hitchcock or representative- Citizens Advice Bureau
Kully Manak - National Careers Service
Register for Webinar 1 - Zoom
Webinar 2: Mental Health and Wellbeing – 3 December 2020 at 10.00am
Danny Finch – Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust
Dan Gibbons – Re-Solv
Esther Bromley – Support Staffordshire
Sharon Whitchurch - Starfish Health and Wellbeing
Register for Webinar 2 - Zoom
Webinar 3: Sustainability and Capacity Building – 3 December at 2.00pm
Lucy Gratton – Staffordshire Connects
Anne Ross - Support Staffordshire
Lucy Cox – Staffordshire Council for Volunteer Youth Services
Sarah James - Staffordshire County Council, Doing Our Bit
Register for Webinar 3 - Zoom