Coping with the Cost of Living

The increases in the cost of living are ever prevalent, but there are both local and national organisations that can provide help and support.

Cost of Living Payments

If you are claiming a low-income benefit and think that you are entitled to a Cost of Living Payment, you
don’t need to do anything. You’ll get the payments automatically. The first instalment of the £650 Cost of Living Payments will be paid automatically to eligible people, between 14 – 31 July. The remaining £324 will be paid in autumn. To find out more visit Cost of Living Payment .

Help for Households: a summary of government support.

General Articles

Cost of living: Why are things so hard for so many people? – BBC News

Citizens Advice Monthly Briefing on Cost of Living Crisis

The energy crisis: impact on charities | Harrison Clark Rickerbys (hcrlaw.com)

Guardian article – impact on single parents and their children 

Keeping Warm

Good Law Project

Regularly publishing ‘Empowered’ articles on different themes related to the cost-of-living support available and consumer rights.

The first article examines energy bill support and discounts.

The second article explains how to claim the benefits you’re entitled to.

The third article helps with understanding the rules on energy disconnection and prepayment meters.

Do you have a Nesta boiler?

Changing your boiler settings, could potentially cut gas use by 6-8% without changing room temperature. Nesta have launched a prototype tool to help optimise their heating: https://www.nesta.org.uk/project/optimising-boilers-reduce-household-emissions/how-to-optimise-your-boiler/

Transition town Milton Keynes

Local community group promoting local action for low-carbon living. Their website offers a range of ideas related to improving energy efficiency of households that could help with reducing costs.

SuperHomes scheme and newsletters: practical advice on keeping homes well-insulated and warm. 

Better Housing and Better Health

Offer impartial advice on reducing heating bills and keeping warm.

Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

Champion of consumer rights, his website provides a wealth of information on coping strategies and ways to reduce household bills.

National Energy Foundation, Warm Home Discount

Those who need it most can get £140 (inclusive of VAT) off their electricity bill in the winter (September – March). NEF also issues Emergency Energy Cards.

Citizens Advice Bureau

A round up of advice, including Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments and links to energy suppliers who offer grants to their customers. CAB also provides links to support if you’re struggling with living costs.

Superhomes

Advice on reducing domestic energy use, sign up to their newsletter for tips.

Money Advice, Budgeting and Funding

MK Money Lifeline

Offering free confidential money advice and resources to anyone in the Milton Keynes area. Their services are provided by a team of trained volunteers who give advice in accordance with the training provided by Community Money Advice.

Milton Keynes Council 

Extra financial help, including assistance with rent, council tax relief, and local welfare provision.

Household support fund | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Funding from the Council to help residents who are in financial difficulties and struggling to meet the cost of essential items including:

  • Food
  • Energy and water bills
  • Repair or purchase of essential household appliances
  • Servicing and repair of heating systems
  • School uniform or other essential clothing
  • Other essential living costs

Turn2Us

A national charity who offers assistance to those struggling financially.

Data Poverty: The Good Things Foundation

Supporting people with data connectivity.

Housing and Homelessness

Housing solutions and homelessness advice | Milton Keynes Council (milton-keynes.gov.uk)

Shelter

A national charity that helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, or the costs of housing, through  advice, support and legal services. They have a comprehensive resource bank on their website and a free emergency helpline, open Monday to Friday, 8am – 8pm and 9am – 5pm on weekends and bank holidays: 0808 800 4444. 

Winter Night Shelter

WNS support rough sleepers; people in emergency/temporary housing; people in need of support with tenancies and those at risk of homelessness.

Food and Cooking on a Budget

MK Melting Pot

MK Melting Pot aims to help young people, vulnerable families and individuals overcome hunger and integrate, empowering people from diverse cultures with new skills to overcome hardship. Some of their services include: Food Donations, Online Cooking, Employability & Training, Money Management and a Children Club. Contact details: phone – 01908 585537 email – mkmeltingpot@hotmail.com

MK Food Bank

The Food Bank Helpline: 0300 303 4933 or text HELP 07874 964505 open between 9:00am – 3:00pm, Monday – Friday. You can leave a message outside of these times.

FoodCycle

Beginning on the 4 November at the Old Bath House in Wolverton, a chance to enjoy a free, vegetarian 3 course meal in welcoming environment. No vouchers or referrals needed.

Trussell Trust

A charity that connects people to food banks and also offers an advice line

DREAMSAI – Food charity and Shri Shirdi Saibaba Temple Milton Keynes

Cooking Good – Healthy, Community Cooking (cooking-good.co.uk)

Healthy, low-cost meal suggestions and recipes.

Reducing Fuel Use

MK Connect

Innovative and responsive public transport.

MK Connect: Demand-responsive transport in Milton Keynes. – Via Transportation (ridewithvia.com)

Improving your cycling skills

Training courses – Milton Keynes (getaroundmk.org.uk)

Period Poverty

Girl Pack MK  – Girl Pack is for anyone who is in need of sanitary towels and underwear just so they can go to school or work (not means tested). Available in schools, community/children’s and family centres and local council offices all over MK. A list of venues can be found on their Facebook page.

Shopping

Charity shops are good places to find a bargain and a wide variety of stock. With the cost of living crisis leaving the people with less disposable income, second-hand shopping might be a good money-saving option. Just type in ‘charity shops near me’ into your search engine to find your local charity shops.

To see other vital services available in Milton Keynes, please visit our Signposting Channels page: communityactionmk.org/signposting-channels

Blog Post Strengthening Groups

Volunteer Opportunity of the Week: Repair Café

Today’s volunteer opportunity comes from the Repair Café, a local community initiative that promotes repair as an alternative to throwing things out.The café is held at The Old Bath House Community Centre. 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton MK12 5RL, on the second Saturday of the month.

Blog Post Mobilising Communities Strengthening Groups Volunteering