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Cost of living

Cost of living support

  • Help with energy costs

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    Organisation Help available More information
    The Consumer Council

    Energy price comparison tool

    Save money on your gas and electricity bills by using a price comparison tool, which will help you find the lowest tariffs and cheapest payment methods.

    Use The Consumer Council comparison tool

    Call 028 9025 1600

    NI Housing Executive  

    NI Energy Advice

    Free advice on:

    • saving energy in your home
    • energy efficiency grants, and
    • oil buying clubs.

    Visit NI Housing Executive website.

    Call 0800 111 4455

    Email NIenergyadvice@nihe.gov.uk  

    Stay Warm oil stamp saving scheme Save towards your next oil delivery by buying our £5 oil stamps and collecting these on a card. These can be used to pay part or all of your next oil bill.

    Visit our Stay Warm oil stamp saving scheme page.

    Call 028 9027 0428

    Email staywarm@belfastcity.gov.uk

    National Energy Action

    Belfast Warm and Well Project

    Confidential advice and practical support to help people struggling to pay their fuel bills.

    This includes advice on:

    • saving money
    • accessing benefits
    • applying for grants, and
    • applying for rebates.
    National Energy Action also offers free energy awareness and energy efficiency training sessions.

    Call 028 9023 9909

    Email warmandwell@nea.org.uk

    Facebook facebook.com/NEANorthernIreland

    nidirect

    Energy Bills Support Scheme (£400) and the Alternative Fuel Payment (£200)

    This will be a single payment to all households, provided by the UK government, through your electricity supplier.

    Visit nidirect for help with energy costs

    Winter Fuel Payment

    This is available for people eligible for state pension or another social security benefit (not housing benefit, child benefit or Universal Credit).

    Visit nidirect for winter fuel payments

    Call 0800 731 0160

    Cold Weather Payment

    If you're receiving certain benefits, you could qualify for extra money for each week there is very cold weather in your area.

    Visit nidirect for cold weather payments

    Call 0800 731 0160

    Staying warm in winter

    Tips and information on government energy support schemes.

    Visit nidirect for tips on staying warm

    Call 0300 200 7814

    NI Energy Advice Line

    Energy efficiency support

    Provides advice on saving energy in your home and information on funding or grants available, within Northern Ireland, for ways to keep your home warm (for example loft insulation).

    Email NIenergyadvice@nihe.gov.uk

    Call 0800 111 4455

    Power NI

    Energy efficiency support

    Based on income, Power NI can offer a number of schemes for example:

    • free insulation
    • cavity wall insulation, or
    • a Snug Plus Heating.

    Visit Power NI website

    Call 034 5745 5455

    Phoenix Natural Gas

    Energy efficiency support

    Based on income, Phoenix Natural Gas can offer a Boiler Replacement Allowance, which aims to help with the cost of replacing your old, inefficient boiler that is over 15 years old.

    Visit Phoenix Natural Gas website

    Call 084 5455 5555

    NI Housing Executive

    Boiler replacement grant

    Based on income and owning your own home, the Housing Executive can offer a Boiler Replacement Grant, which aims to help with the cost of replacing your old, inefficient boiler that is over 15 years old.

    Visit NI Housing Executive website

    Call 034 4892 0900  

  • Help with food

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    Organisation Help available More information
    Trussell Trust

    Food banks and pet food parcels

    Food banks in north, south and east Belfast. A referral is required.

    • North Belfast Food Bank
      Rosemary Presbyterian Church, Ekenhead Halls, 19 North Circular Road, Belfast, BT15 5HB
    • East Belfast Food Bank
      971 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT16 1RL
    • South Belfast Food Bank
      Mornington Community Project, 117 Ormeau Road, Belfast, BT7 1SH
    • South-West Food Bank
      124 Stewartstown Road, Belfast, BT11 9JQ

    Visit Trussell Trust website to find a foodbank near you.

    Call 0172 258 0180

    North Belfast Food Bank
    Call 07902 099840
    Email info@northbelfastfoodbank.org.uk

    East Belfast Food Bank
    Call 07514 213900
    Email info@dundonald.foodbank.org.uk

    South Belfast Food Bank
    Call 07743 332489
    Email info@southbelfastfoodbank.org.uk

    South-West Food Bank
    Call 07938 706552
    Email info@southwestbelfast.foodbank.org.uk  

    West Belfast Community Food Bank Community food bank in west Belfast. A referral is required.
    • Unit 24F, Park Centre, Donegall Road, Belfast, BT12 6HN

    Call 07802 462836

    Email info@westbelfastprojects.org

    St Christopher’s Church

    The Larder

    Community food bank in east Belfast to ensure all in east Belfast have reliable access to good and affordable food. Registration is via their website.

    Visit The Larder Belfast website.

    Call 07750 271547

    Email hello@thelarderbelfast.com

    Facebook facebook.com/thelarderbelfast

    In This Together A range of support including:
    • provision of food and other necessities (collection or delivered)
    • a telephone befriending service, and
    • workshops.

    Visit In This Together website.

    Call 07783 431899

    Email info@togetherni.com  

    Food Storehouse Emergency food relief through recommendations from organisations throughout the city. A referral is required.

    Visit Food Storehouse website.

    Call 028 9023 6333

    East Belfast Mission Committed to developing a network of support for individuals and families living in inner east Belfast. Referrals can be made for food relief at the local Food Larder at St Christopher’s Church.

    Visit East Belfast Mission website.

    Call 028 9045 8560

    Belfast South Methodist Church Agapé Centre Low-cost lunches afternoon for all senior citizens in the area. The centre is linked with Food Storehouse to provide emergency food relief and signposting to other services. Call 028 9066 2560
    Belfast Central Mission They can provide emergency food relief food parcels and signposting to other services.

    Visit Belfast Central Mission website.

    Call 028 9024 1917

    Society of St Vincent De Paul They can provide emergency food relief food parcels and signposting to other services.

    Visit Society of St Vincent De Paul website.

    Call 028 9035 1561

    Salvation Army They can provide emergency food relief as a one-off for people in crisis.

    Visit Salvation Army website.

    Call 028 9032 9429

    The Consumer Council Helpful information and advice on saving money while shopping and when using energy in the kitchen, as well as links to other useful resources to help with food costs. Visit The Consumer Council website.
    Love Food Hate Waste   Love Food Hate Waste can help you waste less and save your money. Visit their website for information on food portions and meal planning, recipes, saving time and money. Visit Love Food Hate Waste website.
    7th Heaven Rescue Trust A dedicated pet food back that can distribute pet food to people in difficult circumstances. 

    Visit 7th Heaven Pet Food Bank website.

    Email animalrescuetrust@hotmail.com

  • Warm and welcome spaces

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    Organisation Help available More information
    Belfast City Council

    Warm Spaces Warm Welcome

    Our 26 community centres are open with dedicated time for older people to drop in for company, chat and a cuppa.

    Contact your local centre for more information on drop-in session times.

    Visit our Warm Spaces Warm Welcome page.

    Call 028 9032 0202

    GLL

    Warm and Welcome Spaces

    If you are struggling to heat your home in winter, you will receive a warm welcome in dedicated spaces at these leisure centres:

    Read more about GLL's Warm Space Initiative

    Call 0330 123 1500

    Email ozonetennisarene@gll.org

    Email olympia@gll.org

    Email falls@gll.org

    Libraries NI

    Warm and Welcome Spaces

    There are 17 libraries in Belfast offering welcoming, free and inclusive spaces, with a range of services, activities and resources for everyone.

    Visit Libraries NI website.
    Warm Welcome UK Information on community organisations, churches, libraries, businesses and other faith groups who have opened their doors to provide warm and welcome spaces to people struggling to heat their homes in winter. Visit Warm Welcome UK website.
  • Help for families and children

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    Organisation Help available More information
    Family Support NI

    Family support services and childcare

    Information on a wide range of family support services and registered childcare provision in Northern Ireland. There are 10 family support hubs in Belfast, providing:

    • emotional health and wellbeing support
    • family support, advice and guidance
    • employability support, and
    • mentoring support.

    Visit Family Support NI website for information on your local support hub.

    Call 0845 600 6483

    Belfast City Council

    Home safety checks

    Home safety checks for residents with young children. The checks offer tips on all aspects of home safety, as well as specialist advice on topics like heating and energy saving.

    Visit our home safety page.

    Call 028 9027 0428

    Email envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk

    Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership

    Publication with useful information

    Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership provide a publication with information on organisations supporting families and children who are struggling with the current cost of living crisis.

    Visit Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership website to download the publication.

    Email una.casey@hscni.net  

    Parenting NI

    Support for parents

    Delivering services to promote positive parenting and support to parents on a wide range of issues including financial stresses and family planning. They also have a Small Change six-week parenting programme which looks at managing debt and finances and the stresses which go with it, as well as offering hints and tips for planning and family budgeting.

    Visit Parenting NI website.

    Call 0808 801 0722

  • Help for older people

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    Organisation Help available More information
    Bryson Energy

    Handyperson services

    Advice and support for people aged over 65 and vulnerable adults including free home safety checks and subsidised rates for repairs.

    Visit Bryson Energy website and search for handyperson service.

    Call 0800 142 2865

    Email handyman@brysonenergy.org

    Age NI Free advice, information and practical support on a wide range of issues including:
    • welfare benefits
    • community care
    • housing
    • health

    Visit Age NI website.

    Call 0808 808 7575

    Email advice@ageni.org  

  • Volunteering opportunities

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    Organisation Help available More information
    Volunteer Now They work to promote improve and support volunteering across Northern Ireland - connecting individuals and organisations to build healthy communities and create positive change.

    Visit Volunteer Now website.

    Call 028 9023 2020

    Voluntary Service Bureau The Bureau provides programmes that inspire active involvement, sharing and citizenship.

    Visit Voluntary Service Bureau website.

    Call 028 9020 0850

    Belfast Central Mission As well as providing emergency relief food parcels and signposting, they also aim to support people most in need to reach their full potential.

    Visit Belfast Central Mission website.

    Call 028 9024 1917

  • Other support and advice

    Organisation Help available More information
    Advice NI

    Financial advice

    Independent advice on:

    • benefits
    • money and debt
    • tax credits and HMRC issues, and
    • how to access additional support on managing your bills.

    Visit Advice NI website.

    Email advice@adviceni.net

    Call 0800 915 4604

    Belfast Citywide Tribunal Service

    Financial and other advice

    The service provides free, confidential and independent advice on a range of issues including:

    • benefits
    • consumer advice
    • debt
    • employment, and housing issues.

    Visit our advice providers page.

    Call 028 9039 1765     

    Debt Advice NI They offer free, confidential and independent debt and money advice.

    Visit Debt Advice NI website.

    Call 0800 917 4607   

    Credit Unions

    Financial support

    They offer a safe place for savings and access to loans at a reasonable rate of interest, starting from £50.

    Visit Credit Union website.

    Call 028 9061 4394 

    Benefit Advice Line Make the call to the Benefit Advice Line to be sure you're getting all the money you are entitled to. Call 0800 232 1271
    Housing Rights Service They work to achieve positive change by promoting and protecting the rights of people in housing need.

    Visit Housing Rights Service website.

    Call 028 9024 5640

    Housing Rights Independent housing advice and information on homelessness, housing options and renting privately.

    Visit Housing Rights website.

    Call 028 9024 5640

    Textphone 028 9026 7927  

    Helplines NI

    Helpline directory

    Website with details of different helplines providing:

    • information
    • advice
    • counselling, and
    • befriending services.
    Some are telephone helplines, and some can help via email, text and live webchat.
    Visit Helplines NI website.
    nidirect

    Make the Call service

    Advice service to make sure you get all the benefits, services and support you are entitled to.

    Visit nidirect for advice about benefits and services

    Call 0800 232 1271

    Email makethecall@dfcni.gov.uk

    Public Health Agency

    Mental health support directory

    A directory of organisations that offer services to help improve mental health and emotional wellbeing.

    Visit Public Health Agency website and search for mental health support directory.
    Christians Against Poverty

    Church support

    A range of free services through local churches to helps people break free from debt.

    Visit Christians Against Poverty website.

    Call 0800 328 0006  

    Department for Work and Pensions

    Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) 

    Financial wellbeing support including money and pensions guidance and debt advice.

    Visit Money and Pensions Service website.

    Call 0115 965 9570

    Email contact@maps.org.uk  

    nidirect

    Cost of living information and advice

    Information and advice on a range of issues including:

    • energy
    • income support, and
    • housing.

    Visit nidirect for advice.

    Call 0300 200 7814

    Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC)

    Benefit from a free Essential Skills course at the BMC. They offer Essential Skills in Literacy, Numeracy and Information Technology from Entry Level 1.

    They also offer Key Skills in Working with Others, Improve Own Learning and Problem Solving.

    Discounts are provided for many courses if you are receiving Job Seeker's Allowance.

    Visit Belfast Metropolitan College website.

    Call 028 9026 5265

  • Top ten tips to save energy from National Energy Action

    Simple changes to day-to-day activities could make big differences to household bills. These are suggestions  on ways to make energy savings.

    • You can save around £55 just by remembering to turn off electric appliances and not leave many of them on standby, for example. TV, laptops, mobile phones.
    • Save an average of £65 on electricity a year by drying clothes on a clothesline instead of using a tumble dryer.
    • Room thermostats allow you to set the temperature your home heats up to and maintains. Turning it down by only one degree could save you around £80 to £100 per year.
    • Spending one minute less in the shower every day will save up to £9 per person off your household energy bill each year.
    • Only boil the water you need in your kettle. This can save you £12 per year.
    • Washing clothes at 30 degrees Celsius and one less cycle per week can save around £15 a year on energy.
    • Effective insulation of your hot water cylinder is important, increasing the insulation to 80mm thick could save you £45 a year. Increasing loft insulation to 270mm can save between £35 and £300 per year.                         
    • Switch off lights when not in use. This could save your household £20 a year.
    • Switching to LED bulbs could save you between £4 and £13 per bulb per year.
    • Only run the dishwasher when full. One less run per week could save £15 per year.
    • Draughtproofing windows or doors can save around £40 per year. Chimney draught excluder can save an additional £20.

    Sources: Information sourced from Energy Saving Trust - Northern Ireland savings are for a typical three-bedroom, semi-detached home in Northern Ireland using an oil price of 9.2p/kWh and an electricity price of 30.9p/kWh (in July 2022).

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