The cost of living crisis is affecting a lot of people right now but there is help available. You don’t have to manage alone.

In this section you can access information to help manage your finances and find out who you can talk to for support.

Don’t forget you can translate this page into over 100 languages using our accessibility toolbar.

In this page:

    Where to find help

    Visit the Leeds City Council online portal for help with the cost of living or print out this guide for help available in Leeds.

    Image from the Leeds Council Helping with the cost of living website with a turquoise blue background and the image of a heart in a darker shade of blue. Inside the heart are various icons, including an image of a house, piggy bank, stack of money, shopping basket, petrol pump and a purse. To the left of the heart image are the words Helping with the cost of living and two pound signs in white and yellow.

    If you can’t afford to pay for essentials such as food, gas or electricity, you can speak with the Leeds Council Welfare Support Team on 0800 953 2303 (Freephone) or 0113 376 0330 (on weekdays, 9am to 5pm, except Wednesdays when they’re open from 10am). Leeds Council also offers a translation service and can arrange for an interpreter or translator to help you communicate with the council in your language.


    Visit our page on navigating the benefits system.


    A carer is anyone who provides unpaid care for a friend or family member. This might be due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction. Visit our caring for someone page for more information about local support.

    Children and families

    Healthy Holidays Leeds provides free engaging and enriching activities with a hot and healthy meal for children and young people during the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays.

    Find out about the Healthy Start scheme, which may be able to help pregnant women and families with young children access vouchers for milk and food.

    School uniform exchange pop-up shops make it easy for families to pass on good quality school uniform that’s no longer needed and, instead of buying new, find items of school uniform, for free! Follow Zero Waste Leeds on social media (see bullet points below) for details of where and when you can pick up free school uniforms that have been donated through their exchange scheme.

    Zero Waste Leeds also has tips to make your school uniform last longer. They also run:

    Flyer with details of some locations to collect a winter coat from:
Zero Waste Leeds - Leeds Winter Coat Appeal. Needs a coat? Get a free one from these locations: Compton Centre LS9 7BG, Burmantofts Community Hub and Library LS9 7QA, Reginald Centre LS7 3EX, Cottingley Children's Centre LS11 0JP, St Luke's Cares charity shop LS11 6JQ, New Wortley Community Association LS12 1LZ, Armley Community Hub LS12 1UQ, Seacroft Community Hub LS14 6JD, Halton Library LS15 7JR, Crossgates and Whinmoor Community Hub LS15 8EU, LS26 Community Foodbank LS26 0AW, Pudsey Community Project LS28 8LT. More locations will be added soon. For all details visit

    Look out on social media for lists of places where children can eat free or cheaply during school holidays. The Big Issue published a list of places where children can eat cheaply or for free over holidays in 2023, which might help provide ideas for future holidays.

    Child Friendly Leeds shares ideas for activities during school holidays in their blog and on social media, on Facebook @childfriendlyleeds, Instagram @childfriendlyleeds and X (formerly Twitter) @Child_Leeds.

    Council tax

    Check if you could pay less council tax with Citizens Advice.


    The Coronavirus pandemic caused problems for people at work and at home, with changes or reductions in income, redundancies and more. Visit our Coronavirus and wellbeing page for links and resources.


    Find out how to take control of your debt with information from The Money Advice Service.

    Citizens Advice offers free, confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person. They can help you problem-solve and find solutions to your financial problems.

    Money Buddies is the biggest free independent financial advice service in West Yorkshire. Whether you’re having difficulty paying debt, need legal debt advice, or are unsure of what to do about your finances, they can help.

    If you need to take out a loan, consider your options carefully. Citizens Advice has information about different types of loan and Leeds Money Information Centre has details of agencies in Leeds offering low cost loans.

    Energy and household bills

    Energy and heating

    Learn more about help available if you’re struggling to pay your energy, utility and household bills from Leeds Money Information Centre website.

    The Energy Bills Support Scheme discount closed in March 2023.

    Cost of Living Payments for 2023 to 2024 are extra payments to help with the cost of living if you’re entitled to certain benefits or tax credits.

    In 2023 to 2024, the Household Support Fund is being provided via Leeds City Council to households living in Leeds who are in receipt of Council Tax Support. Emergency help is also available through the council’s Local Welfare Support Scheme, providing one-off support to eligible applicants.

    Receive free energy advice and find ways to lower your energy costs, with support from Money Buddies. You can call them on 0113 235 0276 or email

    Visit the Citizen’s Advice website for information including how to read your smart meter, grants and benefits to help you pay your energy bills and a planner tool to help you work out your budget.

    Call the Energy Affordability Helpline from Citizen’s Advice – it can help clients in West Yorkshire and the North East to:

    • understand your bill or tariff
    • maximise your income through benefits and debt advice
    • reduce your fuel debts through negotiating with creditors and securing charitable or other assistance
    • access increased support through the Priority Services Register, Warm Homes Discount, tariff checks, charity applications, etc.
    • resolve disputes with energy suppliers
    • make a complaint to energy suppliers and the Energy Ombudsman
    • reduce future fuel costs by accessing support from the Green Doctors and other appropriate services

    Contact the Energy Affordability line:

    Please have as much information available as you can when you get in touch – for example recent energy bills or letters from your energy providers.

    Groundwork’s Home Plus also offer independent energy advice and can help with draught proofing and home repairs and can support on issues such as a change in housing or financial circumstances, bereavement or increasing care needs. Find out more about the heating and energy efficiency service from Home Plus or call them on 0113 240 6009 or email

    Get tips on how to become more energy efficient on Groundwork’s Green Doctors website – they help UK residents stay warm, stay well, and save money on household bills.

    You can find more advice on how to save energy and reduce costs from the Money Saving Expert website.

    Scope offers free energy and water advice to disabled people and has energy saving tips, including how to understand your energy bill and the energy price cap, and information about how to use your heating controls.

    If you’re on a low income you could get a cheaper internet, mobile or phone deal called a ‘social tariff’. Find out if you’re eligible with information from Ofcom.


    If you’re struggling to pay your water bill, there are short term and longer-term schemes you can apply for. Or give Yorkshire Water a call on 0345 1 299 299. They are open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.


    Find out about all emergency food support or your nearest food aid centre in Leeds.

    Free or emergency food provision

    If necessary, consider different types of support as a temporary measure such as food banks, community kitchens and drop-in meals, or applying for a grant.

    The Trussel Trust runs food banks around the UK and you can find locations on their website.

    You can also find free community meals from Foodcycle venues:

    Low cost or pay-as-you-can food provision

    There are community schemes such as Surplus to Purpose in Harehills and Food Pantries in locations across the city. These let people pay a small amount, such as £3:50 a week, to receive roughly £15 of fresh food each week. Food is supplied by organisations such as FareShare Yorkshire and Rethink Food. Some operate independently whereas others are run in partnership with larger organisations such as churches or community groups. Places or organisations in Leeds include:

    • Church Action on Poverty sites in Meanwood, Pudsey and Bennett Road LS6
    • Hope Pantry in Osmondthorpe
    • Bridge Community Church, Burmantofts
    • Little London, run by Leeds African Communities Trust
    • Health for All sites in Beeston, Middleton and Belle Isle
    • Holbeck Together
    • Kirkstall Valley Development Trust
    • LS14 Trust
    • Pudsey Community Project
    • Space2 in LS9
    • Groudwork in Morley
    • St Vincent’s Centre in LS9

    Explore the list of Food Pantries on the Leeds Food Aid website, for more information and contact details.

    The Pantry is run by the St Giles Trust, with projects in various UK locations. People using the Pantry pay a weekly subscription of £3.50 and in return are able to access affordable, nutritious food and added support to help them move towards independence. The Pantry – Leeds is based in LS7 and you can refer yourself using an online form or you can email for more information.

    General emotional wellbeing

    Visit our Finding support in Leeds page to find help for more general issues such as anxiety and coping with stress or a difficult life event. There is also signposting to local and national support services, including counselling, peer group supports, and advice about talking to a GP.

    Getting online

    Digital health hubs are dedicated community organisations and locations with trusted people on hand to help you get online, including providing free mobile data digital skills training. Find your local hub.

    Local community hubs offer a range of free, confidential support including help getting online, free computer use and developing your digital skills.

    Leeds Libraries offer free 1-2-1 weekly digital drop-ins. For more information on locations, dates and times please call 0113 378 5005 or visit Leeds Libraries Online Learning for useful videos and tutorials.


    People in England can contact Help Through Hardship, run by the Trussell Trust with Citizen’s Advice. The free helpline can:

    • assess which benefits you may be entitled to
    • help you with benefits claims
    • identify any grants you may be able to get
    • help you access emergency support if you can’t afford the essentials
    • refer you to Mind’s Infoline for mental health information and support.

    Call 0808 208 2138 to speak to a friendly adviser, open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5m. Closed on public holidays.


    Visit our information on housing and homelessness for where to find help.

    Leeds Housing Options offer support for people who are homeless or at risk of being so. You can visit them at Merrion House, 110 Merrion Centre, Leeds, or call them on 0113 222 4412. For emergency out of hours calls, call 0113 378 8366.

    If you are worried about someone sleeping rough you can notify the Street Outreach Team by calling 0113 245 9445 or emailing


    If you’re struggling to find the right job, or need to develop your skills, advice and support is available from Leeds Employment Hub. Their team can help you find a job, apprenticeship, or a training or learning opportunity.

    If you want a new job or you are at risk of redundancy, the Leeds Jobshops can support you to look for available jobs, update or create a CV, complete application forms and prepare for interviews.

    Keeping warm

    Visit the Welcome Spaces page (previously Warm Spaces) to find the nearest place to feel warm. These are venues around the city where people can gather for free in a warm, safe, welcoming space. Some venues also offer hot drinks, activities, and other services such as free Wi-Fi.

    Explore the Warm Space Finder UK website to find community venues across the country offering a warm welcome.

    Zero Waste Leeds runs a warm coat campaign, welcoming donations and offering free coats to those in need around the city (adults and children) – see above in our Children and Families section for links to social media and a flyer of locations to collect coats.

    Money and mental health

    Worrying about money can affect your mental health – find ways to cope and access support in our Money worries and mental health section.

    Find out about the links between Debt, stress and mental health.

    If you’re struggling with your mental health and need to speak with someone urgently, visit our Need urgent help? page for 24/7 support.

    Money & Me is run by Leeds Mind to help support both your financial and mental wellbeing and ‘take money off your mind’. You can have up to eight support sessions with a navigator to help you explore the link between mental health and finances and you’ll set some personal goals to work towards. Your navigator will help by directing you to tools and local specialist support. If you’re interested in this free Money & Me service, email or call 0113 230 2631.

    Other resources

    Everyday money is a collection of useful resources from MoneyHelper, with guidance on banking, budgeting, credit and more. It’s provided by the Money and Pensions Service, backed by the UK government.

    Mental Health and Money Advice has helpful information about priority and non-priority debts, mental health breathing spaces and has a handy budget planner.

    Third sector

    Forum Central is committed to supporting third sector organisations and their employees during this difficult time and has gathered financial and wellbeing support information for the third sector workforce.

    If you work in a health and care environment and are experiencing feelings that are difficult to cope with, the West Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Hub is completely confidential and offers advice and support that can help with a range of issues.

    Use our directory

    The MindWell Directory has quick links to a wide range of local and national services that support people’s mental health. Services in the directory can be accessed by self-referral including help for: