Cost of Living – help available

As prices go up and wages stay stagnant, below I have collated some notes on things that might help.

Handsworth Foodbank

You need to get a voucher – Citizens Advice, housing support officers, children’s centres, health visitors, social services and some local charities can provide this. Your GP might also be able to provide a voucher.

Phone 0121 507 0734, or email for more information.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund is meant to be available from Spring (aren’t we there already?), but like so many government plans it’s short on detail and not actually available yet. Keep an eye on to find out more (and I’ll be sharing updates as soon as they are available).

Council Tax Rebate

Everyone on Council Tax Band A-D should be getting a rebate on the bill – the Council have to have this done by the end of September. You can check your Council Tax band at 

Reducing Bills

Are you on the best deal for your phone? Often if you call a provider and say you want to leave, they’ll offer you something better! SIM-only deals are a good way to reduce costs if your contract term is up.

Money Saving Expert – Martin Lewis used to focus on getting better mortgage deals and how best to save money, but now he’s having to deal with the biggest pressure on living standards in decades. His website at is full of great advice for all.

Activist Jack Monroe has brilliant recipes and ideas for cooking healthy and tasty meals on even the tightest budgets, with many available on her website at

If you’re not at home, you don’t need to pay to heat it… You could stay warm at Handsworth Library (, which is open Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat 9:30 – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm, and Thursday 10:30 – 1pm, 2pm – 6pm. It’s one of the few places in a city where you can sit, look at things without any expectation to buy anything. There are great books (and a kids section), its warm and dry, and there’s also a lot of community information available there too.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice ( are able to give advice on a range of issues, including benefits, debts, housing, immigration, health and work.

I hope some of that helps – please get in touch if you have other ideas to share with the neighbourhood!

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