Cost of Living Information

Cost of Living Information for Families

People across the county are facing rising goods and energy prices, inflation and other cost of living increases.  In the context of these pressures, we have collated information about local and national financial support available to help ease the cost-of-living challenges. This additional resource is useful for anyone who works with families. 

This document contains the latest information that is being issued by the Government and local organisations and will continue to bring you new and updated information during 2022/23 as more details become available over the winter months. Any queries or information you would like to add please send to:


Government Support

The government has created a web area for families to find out what support they could be eligible for e.g. Universal Credit, Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Disability Benefit:  Help for Households - Get government cost of living support


Universal Credit

Families who are at risk of not paying any or all of their rent, currently in rent arrears, or at risk of losing their tenancy, can take advantage of Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).  The APA

process is quick and easy, and the aim is to protect the tenancy of vulnerable claimants who are either in rent arrears and/or have complex needs that may indicate a difficulty in budgeting. Please see more information here: Alternative Payment Arrangements - GOV.UK (


Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund is extra help for those most in need. Do any families you work with need extra help this winter? If they are finding it difficult to keep warm, get enough food or pay essential bills they can get extra help. If parents are over 18 and receiving benefits they can apply now for support from the borough or district councils where they live: Household Support Fund - East Sussex | ESCIS


Help with Childcare Costs

There is help available for parents of children 0-16 depending on their circumstances. All families in England with a 3 and 4-year-old children can claim 15 hours of funded childcare a week. But may be able to claim more funded childcare hours, child tax credits and other forms of financial support:

Help with childcare costs | East Sussex County Council

 Families can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of their children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year). Please share this link with families you are working with How to use Tax-Free Childcare | Childcare choices


Keeping Warm

Keeping warm at home will be harder this year due to the increasing costs of energy. Some people are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of cold weather, including young children, pregnant women, people with pre-existing chronic medical conditions and people living on a low income. 

 The government has announced measures to help people, including additional payments for those in receipt of benefits and an Energy Price Guarantee for everyone.  In East Sussex there is a range of support for households struggling to afford to keep warm and to help them improve the energy efficiency of their home. Citizens advice East Sussex can provide fuel vouchers for those facing financial crisis and the Warm Home Check service provides free energy advice and support, including how best to keep their home warm and reduce energy costs.  Supporting families to use this service also can help reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change which is a key priority for the council.

 You can help by referring families, or encouraging self-referral, using the simple online form available at The service can also be contacted on 0800 464 7307 or by texting WARM to 80011


Food Banks


Families in East Sussex have several food banks available to them if they are faced with hardship. The Centres are run by the salvation Army, local charities and the Trussell Trust. In order to get help from a food bank families need to be referred with a voucher, which can be issued by a number of local community organisations (for instance schools, GPs, Social Workers, Early Help Keywork and advice agencies e.g., Citizens Advice). Your local food bank can advise which agencies can help.:


Hastings & Rother 

  • The Hastings Centre – 418 Old London Road Tel: 1424 431488
  • Cambridge Hall, Cambridge Road, Hastings (opposite ESK) Tel: 01424 753322 ext. 217



Eastbourne, Hailsham & Seaford

  • Salvation Army Church Eastbourne – 33 Royal Sussex Crescent, Eastbourne Tel: 01323 641833
  • St Richard’s Church Centre Priory Road Eastbourne 01323 409925
  • Eastbourne Foodbank Unit 3 55 Brampton Road, Eastbourne Tel: 01323 409925
  • Shinewater Shaftesbury Centre, Milfoil Drive, Shinewater, Eastbourne 01323 760654
  • Hailsham Foodbank Sheriff Place, Rear of link shop, 1 George Street Tel 01323 844428



Community Fridges

Community Fridges are sites where local people can share food, this includes surplus from supermarkets, local food businesses, producers, households and gardens. Fridges are run by community groups in shared spaces:


Hastings & Rother

  • The Marketplace, Freedom Church, Claremont Road, Sidley TN39 5BX


Eastbourne, Hailsham & Seaford

  • Seaside Fridge and Community Shop 125-127 Seaside, Eastbourne BN22 7NN
  • Langney Larder, Langley community Centre, Etchingham Road, Eastbourne BN23 &DS
  • Hailsham Community Fridge 4 Market Square, Hailsham BN27 1AG




Iceland is offering interest-free personal loans worth up to £75 for customer who are struggling to pay their food bills – though a newly launched Iceland Food Club. Food club card - Fair for You

 The programme offers short-term loads of between £25 and £75 which are uploaded to a dedicated Food Club card. Can be used in person on online and the load is repaid at a rate of £10 per week. There is a limit of £100 outstanding credit at any one time.

 Morrisons – Kids Eat Free. When a family purchases one adult meal with a value of £4.99 or over one child can eat for free – a kids meal includes piece of fruit, juice or a bottle of water.


School Uniform

If you know a family who needs help with school uniform or other school kit for their child please use the links below in your area: 


The HARC (Hastings Advice and Representation Centre) charity shop sells second-hand uniform for local schools. Supplies of uniform are seasonal and subject to availability.

186 Queens Road, Hastings, TN34 1RG      Telephone: 01424 722 164  Website: HARC



Holiday Food and Fun

The Department of Education are funding activities for the winter school holidays. Clubs are running at many different venues across East Sussex. All sessions include a healthy meal and are free to those on benefit-related free school meals. A proportion of the HAF-funded places are also available for young people in a range of wider groups including those with an EHCP or receiving support from ISEND, Children in Need (CiN), Children on a Child Protection Plan (CP), Looked After Children (LAC), Ukrainian guests and other refugee groups, those open to CAMHS or receiving support from the Schools Mental Health Team. 

To find out more or make a booking please visit the Holiday Food and Fun website.  If you have any queries you can also contact the team on  

Loan Sharks

Loan sharks are criminals who lend money at extortionate rates of interest, threatening significant harm to borrowers if they do not pay. These ruthless lenders use coercive control and psychological threats to keep victims trapped in an endless cycle of debt for years, often with devastating consequences.

If you have concerns about someone you work with, confidential advice and support is available from the Illegal Money Lending Team. Call the Stop Loan Sharks 24 Hour Helpline on 0300 555 2222 or visit the website for more information at  Live Chat is available on the website between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 


Other Sources of Help


Help with my bills | CCW (


Emergency Help Money and Housing:

Money and housing | East Sussex County Council



Help with debt - Citizens Advice  

Debt advice | Free debt advice | National Debtline | National Debtline    

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Martin Lewis:

Martin Lewis OBE is an English journalist who created the website to give up to date advice on the latest money news, tips, tricks and money saving techniques for families:

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