Places in Bristol you can get help from if you’re struggling with cost of living

Life is extremely hard at the moment for many. From the rise in cost of living to the doubling cost of energy bills due to soaring gas prices, there are fears millions more could be pushed into poverty.

With household finances being squeezed further across the board, inflation rose to 6.2 per cent in February from 5.5 per cent in January. The Chancellor of the Exchequer unveiled his Spring Statement yesterday (March 23), announcing a number of measures to help families with the escalating cost of living crisis.

From food to advice services, here are some of the places you can go to in Bristol if you need help:

Read more: BristolLive’s Benefit Bristol campaign shines a light on cost of living crisis

Have we missed anyone? If so, please send the details directly to our reporter Estel on estel.farellroig@reachplc.com

Food

Food clubs

FOOD clubs provide good-quality food at a low cost, while also reducing food waste. It costs £1 per family to become a member and then you can get a bag of food every week worth £10-15 for just £3.50. To become a member you must live or work within approximately 15 minutes of a club. They operate many across Bristol. Find out more here. We looked into the difference food clubs are making in the city by speaking to families here.

Community meals

Many community meals operate across the city. These include the National Food Service which runs a family dining club on a Monday evening from Lockleaze Sports Centre – more information here. Food cycle provides a three-course veggie meal on a Wednesday evening in Easton and in Barton Hill on a Saturday lunchtime – more details here.

Children enjoying dinner at the Lockleaze community dining club 
(Image: BristolLive)

The not-for-profit Saint Marks community cafe operating out of the Baptist church on St Mark’s Road in Easton is also worth being aware of. More details here. Also in Easton is the Supper Supper Club at Baggator, All Hallows Road, on a Wednesday evening from 7pm – £3 donation for a three-course meal. More details here.

Food banks

A number of foodbanks operate across the city. You can find out more here about the North Bristol one, here for the South and East one, and here for Bristol North West. A food bank also operates at Victoria Park Baptist Church in South Bristol, more details here.

Carpenters Food and Support

Emergency food supplies for those in Withywood, Hartcliffe and Bishopsworth. Find out more here.

Utilities

Warmer Homes, Advice & Money

The WHAM project supports Bristol and North Somerset’s most vulnerable residents – giving advice on energy, money, benefits and carrying out home repairs. Find out more here.

Bristol Energy Network

Bristol Energy Network is an umbrella organisation for individuals and community groups with an interest in energy in Bristol and the surrounding area. They can help people struggling to pay their fuel bills by advising them on how to deal with debts to energy companies, finding the cheapest energy provider for their needs and accessing grants. You can find out more here.

Financial support

Local crisis and prevention fund

The council runs a local crisis and prevention fund that can help if you can’t afford the basics such as food, gas, electricity or hosehold goods. Find out more on how to apply for household goods and/or an emergency payment here.

Welfare Rights and Money Advice Service (WRAMAS)

WRAMAS can offer help to vulnerable people on low incomes who need help with claims or appeals if they are missing out or at risk of losing a big part of their weekly income. They particularly aim to help disabled and full-time carers. They always have a waiting list so can not always provide immediate casework help. Find out more here.

North Bristol Advice Centre

They provide free, independent advice and support in North Bristol and South Gloucestershire. This include welfare benefits and debt advice. Find out more here.

South Bristol Advice Services

The independent charity offers free, confidential and impartial advice on debt, financial capability and welfare benefits matters. Find out more here.

Citizens Advice Bristol

The charity aims to provide free, independent, impartial and confidential advice on a range of issues such as benefits, debt or housing. Find out more here.

St Paul’s Advice Centre

They can offer support on a variety of things such as welfare benefits, debt and money, housing, employment and immigration. Get more information here.

Great Western Credit Union

The credit union provides fair and affordable financial services to people living or working in the South West and, for instance, aims to give loans that are affordable to pay back. You can read our interview with the CEO here and visit their website here.

Children

South Bristol Children’s Centres

They offer information and support on issues such as access to food and cooking or parenting support. They also offer information and support for children with things like speech and language support, healthy start vouchers or a Forest school. Find out more here.

Baby Bank Network

They collect baby clothes, toiletries, equipment, cots, prams and toys that are pre-loved to pass them on to families in need. Their service is provided for free and they get referrals from health visitors, children’s centres and other local professional. Find out more here.

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