Financial hardship help, advice and support

Last Updated: 24 June 2022

If you are finding it difficult to pay your bills there are a number of ways we might be able to help.

The government sponsored Money Advice Service can help you find support.

Cost of living support: Cumbria County Council provides information for residents affected by rising living costs.

We also work with a range of local organisations to help your money go further and reduce financial hardship in the district.


South Lakes Citizens Advice provide debt management plans and advice on how to avoid losing your home and how to get your finances back into shape.

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.

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.

The Piggy Bank, brings together some helpful advice and useful tips about moving home and managing money.

Age UK South Lakeland offers lots of services for people of any age including help with debt, housing and health support.


Healthy Start offers free vouchers every week to spend on milk, fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh dried and tinned pulses, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins. You qualify if you’re pregnant or have children under the age of four.

Citizens Advice can help with referrals for your closest food bank in South Lakeland.

Food Clubs/FareShare

Set price bag of food available from a community building where households can register to become members and pay a small fee for picking up food for a week. Food often comes from Fare Share or local supermarkets and other suppliers.

Ambleside Community Food Club & Café: Volunteers collect and receive donations of surplus food. Members of the Food Club have the option to collect a pre-packed bag of this food. Members can volunteer and donate items to contribute to the group. For more information please contact: Ambleside Parish Centre, Vicarage Road, Ambleside. Tel: 015394 34172. Email:

Sedbergh Food Club: This operates under Zero Waste Sedbergh and distributes surplus food to households in the Sedbergh community and surrounding area. A suggested donation of £3 per week will give you a share of the weekly Fareshare delivery (usually fresh fruit, veg, cooking sauces, snacks, pasta, bread). You can choose your own items, enjoy some refreshments and a sit down as well. Membership is through registration via You may be asked to go on a waiting list if membership is full. Every Thursday during term time, 2pm - 6:30pm, at Cornerstone Community Church, New Street, Sedbergh, LA10 5AF For more information call: 07833534710

Manna House: Homeless prevention charity providing food three times a week from Fareshare donations. Tel: 01539 725534. Email:

Kirkby Lonsdale Food Club: Working with Fareshare they provide members with a bag of food that would usually go to landfill. For £4 a week, sign up at Can also provide weekly food to help you get back on your feet for more information please email:

Ulverston Food Share: Community Food Share based at the Parish Centre, Church Walk. Pay As You Feel. Food Club Collection Fridays 4pm - 5.30pm £4 per bag with spaces currently available. Tel: 07949074822. Email:

Grange Community Food Share: Offer emergency food support such as food parcels and dry store restocks. As well as 2 weekly food clubs where you can come along and collect fresh surplus food. If you cannot collect the food box yourself then it can be delivered. For more information call: 07985 505415

Community Food Shares

Pantries/Cupboards/Fridges, places where food is available for people to collect free of charge or where people can leave surplus food for others to collect. Food comes from FareShare or local contacts with supermarkets and other supplies.

Kendal Food Share: 17 Drovers Drive, Kendal. Tel:

Waste into Wellbeing: Running ‘pay as you can’ food shares and community café for the latest information including opening times and venues: Follow us on or twitter/kendalpeoplescafe

Sedbergh Community Cupboard: Operates alongside Sedbergh Food Club on Thursday afternoons. Sedbergh Community Cupboard operates all year round, and if you cannot collect the food box yourself then it can be delivered to your door. Self-referrals can be made via the Sedbergh Community Cupboard page of the Zero Waste Sedbergh website. You can also register by phoning this number: 07833534710

Kirkbarrow Food Share: Enabled by Kirkbarrow Residents' Association - Two food sheds, that are unlocked throughout the day - 41 Greengate Lane, Kendal and 2 Echo Barn Hill, Kendal. Food parcels can be dropped off at addresses on Kirkbarrow sheltered housing complexes or to any residents in need. If you live on Kirkbarrow and feel you would benefit from a food parcel, please email: with your name and address or ask at one of the food shed addresses or contact your local councillor.

Burneside Community Fridge: Located in the corridor of St Oswalds church at the heart of the village is an open 'take what you need, give what you can'. A small team runs the process of filling it weekly via local food banks and financial support. For more information email:

Staveley with Ings Together Food Fare Share: Based at the Staveley Pavilion Village Hall, register with us via email: Tel: 07396 696726

Food Banks

No cost emergency food provision for targeted households through referral agencies or direct referrals through referral agencies e.g. Citizen Advice Bureau, Social Workers, Schools as appropriate.

Ulverston Food Bank: Bethany Christian Church, Lightburn Road. Tel: 01229 343410 (The food bank is open Thursday 11am – 1pm, Monday re-opening soon. For more information please phone)

Millom Food Bank: Millom Baptist Church, Crown Street. Tel: 01229 774601 (The food bank is open Tuesday 11am – 1pm and Thursday – deliveries available)

Barrow Food Bank: Abbey Road, Baptist Church, Cnr of Abbey Road/Park Road. Tel: 01229 343436 (The food bank is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday deliveries only, Tuesday 11am – 1pm, Thursday 11am – 1pm and Friday 1pm – 3pm)

Kendal Food Bank: Shakespeare Centre, Yard 76, Highgate. Tel: 07534 609179
email: (The food bank is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 12-3pm)

Windermere & District Food Bank: Methodist Church Basement, Main Road. Tel: 07789728811. Email: 

Milnthorpe Area Food Bank: Tel: 07582166564 Mon-Fri 9am - 5pm


Council Tax reduction and Housing Benefit Schemes help customers on a low income.

Handy Person Scheme helps elderly or vulnerable people carry out very simple but essential work at their homes. It is free except for the cost of materials.

Disabled Facilities Grants are available to help pay for changes so people can stay living in their own homes.

Our Housing Options team helps residents who are facing homelessness and offers other housing support and advice.

Our Benefits team can help residents ensure they are getting everything they are entitled to including council tax reduction.

Manna House provides advice, advocacy and a drop-in support centre for those who are homeless, vulnerably housed, lonely or needing help.


MyCumbria Card cost £20 and provides a wide range of discounts and offers on everyday activities to help residents do more for less.

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

Cumbria County Council Ways to Welfare offers advice and useful links for further places for support and how to access referral for a social worker.

Skills and Education

Community learning and skills offer free courses in English, maths, IT and a wealth of other courses including arts and crafts, wellbeing and languages.

Invest in South Lakeland offers free support to businesses, including new start-ups and those exploring a business idea. We have teamed up with the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce to provide a programme of courses, workshops and one-to-one advice, with access to resources and potential financial support.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce provide a programme of courses, workshops and one-to-one advice with access to resources and potential financial support.