Support during cost of living crisis

1:46pm - 13 July 2022
Image

Energy bills, fuel and food are still all on the rise but schemes are available to help people in North Somerset who are struggling financially.

Tackling the digital divide

Free sim cards and mobile data are available from our libraries for people who can’t afford them.

Accessing digital services is an essential part of life now and so digital exclusion can be a real problem.

It means people are at risk of being cut off from basic daily activities most of us take for granted, such as contacting loved ones, accessing job interviews, finding essential health or other information online, and using digitised public services.

The UK National Databank provides free sims and mobile data (as well as talk minutes and texts) to people in need through the Good Things Foundation network of local community partners, including our libraries.

It’s like a food bank but for internet connectivity data.

Anyone aged over 18 from a low-income household who qualifies in at least one of the following ways can obtain data vouchers from their local library:

  • has no access or insufficient access to the internet at home, and/or️ has no or insufficient access to the internet when away from home, and/or can’t afford their existing monthly contract or top-up.

If you need a SIM card or mobile data voucher, contact your local library to make an appointment to collect it. You can also email libraries@n-somerset.gov.uk or call 01934 426 834.

 

Holiday funding for lower-income school-aged children

Children across North Somerset are being supported this summer.

  • Healthy food and fun activities
    • Children who are in receipt of benefits related free school meals can access healthy food and enriching activities during the summer holidays. The Holiday, Activities and Food programme, funded by the Department for Education, provides valuable support to families on lower incomes in the summer holiday. It gives these children opportunities to access rewarding and active activities alongside healthy meals. Eligible parents or carers can email haf@n-somerset.gov.uk to get their child’s unique reference code, which they would need to give to the provider at the time of booking.
  • Food vouchers
    • Food vouchers of £75 were distributed by local schools in June for children receiving benefits related free school meals at the time. They were funded by the Household Support Fund. This scheme has now closed so no further vouchers are available.

 

Other cost-of-living support

If you’re struggling to pay your bills then council tax support could help. Find advice on our website.

There is also information about housing benefit and universal credit on our website.

Financial help may also be available if you’re struggling to pay your energy or water bills. Visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy for advice.

Citizens Advice also gives independent advice on employment, debt, benefits and more