Food banks provide boxes of food to people in need. They are often run by church or community groups. There are around 1,000 food banks across the UK.
You often need a voucher to use a food bank. You then exchange this at the food bank for three days’ worth of food. You can get food bank vouchers from local charities, doctors’ surgeries, health visitors, social workers, Citizens Advice and other welfare advice centres.
• To find your nearest food bank ask a local advice agency or your council or click here.
For advice on housing problems. Tel: 0808 800 4444 (free from landlines and most mobile networks)
Adviceline is Citizens Advice national service in Wales and England – contact your local office in Scotland and Northern Ireland (see right). Tel (England): 03444 111444 Tel (Wales): 03444 772020 TextRelay: 03444 111 445
Clean Slate (home to Quids in!) offers support in: London: 020 3540 7421 Bath/Bristol: 01225 302200 Gloucestershire: 01453 796050
Applying for Universal Credit may be stressful, especially if we get into debt as a result, or spend a lot of time worrying about money. We mustn’t be afraid to take the first step if we’re feeling low, and ask for some help. We can go to our doctor, or contact one of the agencies below.
• Mind Info Line: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm) mind.org.uk
• Samaritans: 116 123 firstname.lastname@example.org
• NHS Moodzone information web page on help available for mental health
• Scottish Association for Mental Health(SAMH): 0800 9173466 (Mon-Fri 2-4pm) samh.org.uk
If you already have money worries, UC will add some pressure in the short-term, so get help now. If you struggle to make the changes and find you’re falling into debt, you may also want to make contact.
The National Illegal Money Lending Team tackles loan sharks. To report a loan shark anonymously you can call them 365 days a year on 0300 555 2222, text LOAN SHARK and your details to 60003 or email them at email@example.com. In Wales call 0300 123 3311or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Scotland: 0141 2876 655, or email email@example.com
Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations that provide bank accounts, loans and savings. They may help people the banks won’t. To find your local credit union call 0161 832 3694 or visit findyourcreditunion.co.uk.
• People with disabilities or carers should contact the Disability Benefits Centre (0345 605 6055) and for Child Benefit and tax credits call Inland Revenue (0845 300 3900).
• Council Tax and Housing Benefit is dealt with by your local council.
• Free benefits calculator entitledto.co.uk
For free debt advice and help, contact any of the organisations below.
• National Debtline 0808 808 4000 nationaldebtline.org
• StepChange Debt Charity 0800 138 1111 stepchange.org
• Citizens Advice citizensadvice.org.uk. In Wales call 08444 77 20 20 England call 08444 111 444
• Citizens Advice Scotland cas.org.uk. 0808 800 9060
• Advice NI (Northern Ireland) adviceni.net. 0800 028 1881