Cost of living help, advice and support

Last Updated: 27 January 2023

Many of us are experiencing financial pressures as the cost of living is on the rise.

You may be feeling worried about your situation or find yourself in a position you have never experienced before. However please do not wait for the issue to get worse as there are various local organisations that can help support you.

Cumbria County Council have produced a Cost of Living Support public information leaflet (PDF 4MB / 8 pages)

It can be overwhelming to search through what help is available to find what you need. There is information below for South Lakeland residents on a range of helpful topics.

Help with finances

Our benefits advice team can help you check if you are able to claim benefits or increase your current rates depending on your situation.

Our Council Tax team can help those on low incomes or single occupiers apply for a council tax reduction. If you are struggling to meet your payments, please contact us as soon as possible so we can make an arrangement with you, taking into account your personal circumstances.

South Lakes Citizens Advice can offer support such as debt management plans and how to avoid losing your home.

Pennine Community Credit Union Ltd (PCCU) is an alternative to mainstream banks and payday loans aimed at helping its members manage money well, by providing fair loans and a simple way of saving. It is a not-for-profit organisation.

Age UK South Lakeland offers lots of services with a focus on older people including help with debt, housing and health support.

National Debtline and MoneyHelper can offer tailored, independent advice on how to make the most of your money.

Energy bills and energy efficiency

Cold to Cosy Homes service offers free energy-saving advice and equipment, along with referrals for a range of other support, to help you make your home warmer and more comfortable.

If you're struggling to pay your bill, always try to contact your supplier. It's much better to get ahead of the game than to risk not paying and it becoming a bigger problem. Many suppliers have support funds in place for people who can't afford to pay, and they're obliged to help you find a solution.

Some broadband providers offer low-cost broadband deals for customers on benefits: Ofcom: Cheaper broadband and phone packages. Contact your provider to see if you are eligible.


Food Clubs/FareShare

This is a bag of food available for a small fee where households can register to collect food weekly from a community building. Food often comes from Fare Share or local supermarkets. Other groups may offer a hot meal and donate any leftovers, or offer food parcels to families in need.

Below are a list of local groups where you can either register to receive support or offer to volunteer.

Food banks

These are free emergency food provisions for targeted households through direct referrals or through referral agencies such as Citizens Advice, social workers, and schools as appropriate.

Free school meals

Your child may be eligible for free school meals and school clothing vouchers. Cumbria County Council: Apply for free school meals and clothing vouchers.


  • Warm Spots are heated spaces such as libraries and village halls where you will get a warm welcome and a hot drink.
  • Sustainable Warmth Cumbria offers grants up to £25,000 to homeowners and landlords to retrofit your home with energy efficiency measures. Carlisle City Council: Sustainable Warmth Cumbria Grants provides further information on eligibility criteria and how to apply. Although Carlisle City Council are leading the scheme, South Lakeland residents can still apply directly to Carlisle
  • Cumbria Action for Sustainability: Cold to Cosy service offer free energy saving advice to homes in Cumbria for those that are eligible
  • Our Housing Options team can offer advice to prevent homelessness as well as support to those sleeping rough



  • BETTER leisure and fitness facilities in South Lakeland offer a range of discounts up to 50% for those who qualify