Hardship Advice and Support for Residents

The council recognises that many residents are currently struggling with the rising cost of living. 

It is important that people know what help is available to them and how they can access it, so we have produced the list below.

We hope you find it useful.

"Help for Households" campaign and toolkit

The Cabinet Office has recently launched the ‘Help for Households’ campaign which explains the different government schemes available to help with the cost of living, including one-off payments as well as existing benefits and schemes. These schemes have now been brought onto one Cost of Living Support website at https://costoflivingsupport.campaign.gov.uk/

Energy Bill Support

Households which have not yet received their £400 energy bills support may now be eligible to apply via the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding. This includes certain park home residents and partially or wholly self-funded care home residents. Click here for more information or enter "Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically" into the search bar on the gov.uk website or an internet search engine.

Updated Government factsheet

The government produces a cost of living factsheet detailing the range of support packages that they have put in place.  Click here for more details, including information on energy bills support and the new cost of living payment for some eligible people.

Money Navigator Tool

If you are in financial difficulty access money and debt guidance for free via Money Helper UK's Money Navigator Tool at https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/money-troubles/coronavirus/money-navigator-tool It can provide guidance based upon individual circumstances and help you find support in your area.

It offers a wide range of information, including:

  • What issues individuals need to deal with first
  • Ways of staying on top of bills
  • How to find extra support
  • Where to get extra help

Worrying about Money? leaflet

Are you worrying about money? Financial advice and support is available locally if you are struggling to make ends meet. Click here to find out more about the steps you can take to get help.

Fuel Debt Advice

The Warm Home Discount Scheme has been extended until 2026, with the rebate remaining at £150. Go to www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme for more information.

Ofgem is Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.It works to protect energy consumers, especially vulnerable people, by ensuring they are treated fairly and benefit from a cleaner, greener environment. Energy advice for households is available on the Ofgem website

The Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation working to address the climate emergency. Its website provides advice about how to make your home more energy efficient, reduce your carbon emissions and lower your energy bills.

NEA s a national fuel poverty charity, working to ensure that everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is warm and safe at home. Click here for more information.

Locally, advice and help with fuel - including help for eligible residents to access the Fuel Bank - can be obtained from Advice@Hart on (01429) 748010 and Hartlepool Citizens Advice on (01429) 408401.   

Household Support Fund

The household support fund is provided by the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver support to Hartlepool’s most vulnerable households.

In 2023/24, the council has been allocated £1.9 million to provide support to low income and vulnerable households who may be struggling with their energy and food costs, or who need other essential household items. Funding covers the period between 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024 Click here to go to our dedicated Household Support Fund web page for more information about the help availabler.

Universal Credit 

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you are on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

Click here for further details.

Local Council Tax Support

You may be able to claim Local Council Tax Support if you, or another adult in your home, is on a low income or is either in or out of work. The amount of help you receive will depend on your income. There are also Council Tax reductions available - for example, if you are the only person in your household over 18-years-old, if a member of your family is disabled or severely mentally impaired or your partner now lives in a nursing home. Discounts will depend on your individual circumstances. Remember, you must keep us up to date if your circumstances change. Apply online here

Payment of your Council Tax can be made at anytime using our automated payment line 0300 1230703 or on line by clicking here 

If you have difficulties paying your bill, talk to us by calling (01429) 284166 or emailing recovery@hartlepool.gov.uk We may be able to agree an alternative payment plan, highlight benefits you may be entitled to or sign post you to debt advice. Do not delay.

Free School Meals

You may be eligible to claim for Free School Meals if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit and your child is a registered pupil at a school, or if below compulsory school age receiving full time education, or if part time, receiving education before and after the lunch break. Click here or call (01429) 284188 for more information and to apply.

Discretionary Housing Payment

Local authorities have discretion to award a Discretionary Housing Payment to a person who is entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit and who, in the opinion of the authority, requires some short-term further financial assistance to help with their housing costs or to move to more affordable accommodation.

Welfare Support 

Welfare Support is a limited discretionary fund, managed by Hartlepool Borough Council. It aims to provide financially vulnerable residents with low-level benefit advice, and ensure residents are getting all the help they are entitled to. It also offers support to vulnerable people settling back into the community.

Click here for more information and to apply for help.

Food Support

There are lots of places offering free or low cost food support. For more information check out the leaflet produced by Hartlepool Food Partnership.  If you need access to the The Trussell Trust Foodbank please contact the Welfare Support Team on (01429) 806895 for more information.

The Bread and Butter Thing

This initiative operates across Hartlepool, offering residents the chance to buy low-cost shopping  at a range of locations.

For more information go to Members — Bread and Butter Thing

Healthy Start

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, the Healthy Start scheme can help you:

  • buy healthy foods like milk or fruit
  • get free vitamins

You need to be claiming certain benefits to qualify. If you’re pregnant and under 18 you can claim even if you do not receive any benefits. Check out the following web page for more information.

Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

Help with School Uniform

Every child has the right to affordable school uniform.  

Hartlepool Borough Council has teamed up with colleagues in the voluntary sector to provide a recycled school uniform scheme. Uniform is donated by schools and families who no longer need it and this is shared with Hartlepool ReLoved Clothing.

The items range from skirts, dresses and trousers to polo shirts, blazers and sports kit. It covers boys and girls of all ages, from nursery right up to secondary and all the different schools. Hartlepool ReLoved Clothing also offers a large range of indoor and outdoor clothing for all age groups to help the whole family. Clothes are free or you can make donation if able to.

Families are also encouraged to donate their spare uniform. Have your children grown out of something quickly? Make a difference and donate it to another child! Please make sure donations are clean and of a good quality – every child wants to look smart in their uniform.

Where to go:

Hartlepool ReLoved Clothing - Greenbank, Waldon Street, Stranton, Hartlepool TS24 7QT. Tuesday and Thursdays, 10am – 2pm.

The council also runs a small fund donated by the late Elizabeth Trowsdale Norman and her family. Elizabeth, who passed away aged 104, was born and lived in Hartlepool for half of her life before moving to North Yorkshire.

Elizabeth Trowsdale Norman

Elizabeth Trowsdale Norman

Elizabeth was passionate about education, particularly access to education for girls. She passed her 11+ exam, but was unable to attend grammar school because her family could not afford to support her.

Elizabeth’s family helped create a fund to support school uniform and essential school supplies to those suffering financial hardship. Preference is given to applicants from Hartlepool’s Victoria Ward, which is where Elizabeth was born and where she lived while she was at school. Call Hartlepool Borough Council's Welfare Support Team on (01429) 806895 to apply.

Energy Efficiency Schemes

Sustainable Warmth Scheme

The Sustainable Warmth Scheme is a government initiative which Hartlepool Borough Council was success in securing funding from to help homes across the borough to become greener while reducing fuel bills. The scheme is targeted to upgrade low-income, privately owned homes to improve the EPC rating with a range of energy saving measures, to reduce (or offset rising) heating costs, making homes warmer and improve the residents general health and wellbeing.   

Some of the potential home improvements could include:

  • Solar Panels
  • Hybrid Heating System
  • Air Source Heat Pump

To find out if you are eligible and to apply please click here. For information and advice on energy efficiency schemes contact the Council at energy.efficiency@hartlepool.gov.uk.

Boiler Upgrade Grant Scheme

The Government recently launched a Boiler Upgrade Grant Scheme. More information is available by clicking here

Anglian Water

Anglian Water can provide help for residents paying their bills dependent on their circumstances. Details of the support available are provided here

West View Advice and Resource Centre

Click here for more information about the range of help and support it is able to provide

Citizens Advice

Click here for more information about the help on offer.


Turn2Us is a national charity providing practical help to people who are struggling financially. Their website includes a benefits calculator to check your benefit entitlement.

Hartlepool Financial Inclusion Partnership

This is a network of organisations working hard to support financial inclusion in Hartlepool. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Food and Fuel Fairs

Monthly Food and Fuel Fairs are taking place throughout 2023 in key community venues. Designed to offer a warm and welcoming space where residents can meet, chat, have a cuppa and a bite to eat, the events are supported by key local organisations such as West View Advice and Resource Centre, Citizens Advice and Hartlepool Food Network. Email darren.leighton@jrht.org.uk for details of the next fair near to you.