We understand that many families will be feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis, and with winter on the way, it's important to know where you can get some support...
Citizens Advice Cornwall recently issued their latest newsletter, which contains lots of useful advice and tips on how to get through the difficult times ahead. They urge people not to suffer in silence, and to reach out when things get tough.
Here are some of Citizens Advice Cornwall's top tips...
Check what benefits you can get - you might be able to increase or claim benefits, so it's worth checking on the Citizens Advice Benefits Calculator;
Receive your benefit early - A Short Term Benefit Advance can be given if needed, with a small amount taken off future payments, usually over a period of 12 weeks, to pay it back. You can also ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit.
Grants for energy debt - If in debt with your energy supplier, you could get a grant to help pay them off. The British Gas Energy Trust also offers support, or you could check if you're eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
Universal Credit - If you are out of work and would like more information about claiming Universal Credit, call Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8444 for support.
Make a budget - Writing down your earnings after tax or money from benefits, plus your outgoings, and using the Citizens Advice budgeting tool is really handy to manage your finances. You could also keep a diary to keep track!
Check your wage - The minimum wage was increased on 1st April 2022, so it's important to check you're being paid the right amount.
Free school meals and school costs - If you're on low income or claim Universal Credit, your child may be entitled to free school meals, and you might even be able to receive help for costs such as school uniform, activities and transport. You can apply for school meals on gov.uk
Healthy Start Vouchers - If you're at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of four, and are on low income, you may be able to receive free vitamins and Healthy Start vouchers for milk, fruit and veg and infant formula. You can ask your midwife or health visitor for more information on this.
If you need some support or advice on any of the things mentioned above, you can contact Citizens Advice Cornwall by texting ADVICE to 78866 to receive a response within 10 days; you can call 0800 144 8848 for free between Monday and Friday; or check the website - www.citizensadvice.org.uk for useful information.