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.
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In this page:
Where to find help
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 Twitter or Facebook 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:
- Together for Sport, offering access to second-hand sport kit and equipment
- A Leeds Winter Coat Appeal, welcoming donations and offering free coats to those in need (adults and children) around the city. Follow them on social media for updates too: X (formerly Twitter) @ZeroWasteLeeds, Facebook zerowasteleeds, Instagram @zerowasteleeds
Look out on social media for lists of places where children can eat free or cheaply during school holidays. The Big Issue published 32 places where children can eat cheaply or for free over summer 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 Twitter @Child_Leeds
Check if you could pay less council tax with Citizens Advice.
The Coronavirus pandemic has 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 was a £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households that helped with energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023, but the scheme is currently closed (ended 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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
There are also community schemes selling donated or just out-of-date food at low cost to people on reduced incomes, such as the Kindness Warehouse in Harehills and Food Pantries in locations across the city, including:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You can also find free community meals from Foodcycle venues:
- Chapel FM Arts Centre, Seacroft, LS14
- St Aidan’s Community Hall, Roundhay Road, LS8
- St Luke’s Church, Holbeck, LS11
- The Rockwell Centre, Bradford, BD10
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.
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 Leeds.SOS@cgl.org.uk.
If you’re struggling to find the right job, or need to develop your skills, advice and support is available from Employment and Skills Leeds based at Merrion House, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds.
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.
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 email@example.com or call 0113 230 2631.
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.
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:
- Alcohol and drug use
- Caring for someone
- Childhood abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Eating disorders
- Housing problems
- LGBT+ communities
- Money and benefit problems
- New parents
- Older people
- Relationship problems
- Sexual violence
- Work and employment issues
- Young people