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Cold weather help: A useful list of support available as temperatures drop

Temperatures are dropping below freezing, but there's a range of cold weather support available, from help with heating costs to charity support

cold weather help

Snow in London during 2018. Image: Unsplash

The sight of snow falling and rivers freezing over is pretty, but it’s understandable if it also brings worry. Getting by is already tough this winter, and with little money to spare it’s useful to know what cold weather help is out there.

Whether you need some extra funds to keep the heating on, or a place to go and be warm, there are more options than you might think.

Here’s our list of the cold weather help available this winter.

Where you can get help in the cold weather

Cold Weather Payments

Triggered if the temperature is zero degrees or below for seven days in a row, you’re eligible for Cold Weather Payments if you’re on certain benefits. 

These are paid out between November 1 and March 31 and total £25 for each seven-day period where the criteria are met.

More information can be found here, with those eligible receiving it automatically. If you do not receive it, contact the Pension Service or Jobcentre Plus.

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Winter Fuel Payment

Anybody on the state pension or other social security benefits automatically gets the Winter Fuel Payment of between £250 and £600, but everyone born on or before September 25 1956 is eligible. Make sure those you know who might be eligible are getting it.

Anyone eligible should receive the payment automatically, but you will need to claim if you haven’t received the Winter Fuel Payment before or if you have chosen to defer your pension since you last received the Winter Fuel Payment.

The Big Issue’s Winter Survival Guide is packed with tips and advice on ways to make your way through, from recipes to practical guides. You can find the stories in the guide here

Support from energy providers

It costs more to heat a home during cold weather, so make sure you or your loved ones are getting all the support you can if finances are tight. 

A number of energy companies offer grants if you’re struggling to pay. It’s worth contacting your provider to see if they can help, but we’ve put together a list of those who do here.

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Warm banks

Just like food banks, warm banks don’t address the root cause of the problem. But they do provide help in a tough situation and are springing up across the country, offering a hot drink and a warm room for people to get out of the cold if they can’t afford to turn the heating on at home. 

Here’s how you can find one near you.

Charity grants for elderly people

Charities can be a great source of cold weather help, and Friends of the Elderly’s Winter Warmth Appeal is helping to fund £400 grants to older people during the cold weather.

Read our guide for more information here.

The Big Issue’s #BigFutures campaign is calling for investment in decent and affordable housing, ending the low wage economy, and millions of green jobs. The last 10 years of austerity and cuts to public services have failed to deliver better living standards for people in this country. Sign the open letter and demand a better future. 

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