Cost of Living Support
Cost of Living Help and Resources for Parents
At Gosforth Central Middle school, we recognise the difficulty that many people will be facing with cost of living issues, in particular due to the rise in fuel and energy bills.
We have provided details and links to national and local sources of advice, support and financial assistance that may be able to help you and your family. Please also be mindful of scams during this time – never give your bank details to anyone without being sure of their identity.
We hope you find this information useful should you need to use it. If you have any concerns, particularly about how cost of living issues may be affecting your child, please do contact our Family Support Partner on 0191 2851793 and we will listen and aim to help as best we can.
Please note: In all instances where you have an emergency expense issue, such as paying rent, you should contact:
- your local Citizens Advice service on 0808 2231133 or visit the Citizen Advice website
- Newcastle City council on 0800 1707001
Please click on the links below for more information:
Family Support Partner - Our Family Support Partner, Lisa Watson, can offer practical help, advice and emotional support to families who are experiencing short or long-term difficulties. Lisa can be contacted on 0191 2851793.
Extra-curricular activities - We offer a range of free, before school, lunchtime and out of school activities (visit our website here for details). Extra-curricular activities can provide children with additional skills and develop interpersonal skills. Research also suggests children who take part in activities outside of the curriculum have greater academic success, more positive social development, and greater interest in community involvement.
Uniform - We have a limited stock of quality pre-owned uniform items. We run a pre-loved uniform shop at several dates throughout the year where parents can select items of uniform they may need for their child. We would also welcome any quality pre-owned uniform. You can contact Lisa Watson for further information.
Free school meals – The government’s criteria for eligibility can be viewed at here. We would strongly encourage all eligible parents to apply for free school meals, even if your child intends to use a packed lunch. Information on how to apply is available here. We would encourage feedback and information where children are eligible for free school meals but are choosing to use a packed lunch. Please contact Lisa Watson.
Free school travel - Your child may also be eligible for free travel through a variety of different criteria. Please click here for more details.
Mental Health Support - Good mental health is important for helping children and young people to develop and thrive. GCMS recognises the importance of positive mental health and promotes a whole school approach. Kate Wood is our mental health and wellbeing lead and is a registered BACP therapist, providing 1:1 counselling and group work to pupils.
Newcastle City Council can offer help in a number of different ways to support those in financial difficulty, including helping to pay for emergency costs like food and bills. You can contact the Cost-of-Living Support team on 0800 1707001.
The Trussell Trust– this charity operates a network of foodbanks and provides confidential crisis support. The food bank works with a number of difference agencies, such as Citizens Advice, DWP, Newcastle City Council, GPs, Mental Health providers, children’s centres and health visitors. The agency can provide food vouchers for eligible parents to be exchanged for a minimum of three days’ emergency food. For further advice contact 0191 2753019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Food Banks - Please click here for further information regarding food banks, and how to access them, in Newcastle.
Free School Meal Vouchers - Newcastle are providing children entitled to free school meals with vouchers for the Christmas school holidays and February half term 2023. Parents of eligible children will be contacted by the school before each voucher is issued.
Food Aid Network – in addition to Trussell Trust foodbanks, independent foodbanks may also be available near you. You can check a map for local support here.
Community School Clothing Scheme - This service offers a range of FREE services for all families in need however is open to all families for preloved clothes or houseware at very low cost. Click here for details.
Citizens Advice – an independent organisation specialising in confidential information and advice on legal, debt, benefit and housing problems. Available at local advice centres, by telephone (0808 223 1133) and online here.
Mental Health - If you are struggling to manage your mental health due to the added pressures of the rising cost of living, there are services in Newcastle that can help. Please click here for further information and how Newcastle Local Authority are able to help with the cost of living crisis.
Money Matters is Newcastle Local Authority’s debt and budgeting team. They can provide specialist help and advice and can be contacted on 0800 1707008 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-4pm) or email email@example.com
Turn2Us – a charity helping people living in poverty in the UK, specialising in information on welfare benefits and charitable grants. Available by telephone (0800 802 2000) and online.
CharityChoice - provide search tools for help with one-off or regular payments from charities here.
StepChange – the UK’s leading debt charity offering expert debt advice and free debt management. Available by telephone (0800 138 1111) and online.
Money adn Pensions Service – a government service providing impartial and free guidance on money and pensions. Available by telephone (0800 138 7777) and online.
MoneySavingExpert– a consumer finance and discussion website focussed on providing advice and tips on how to save money, including a dedicated cost of living crisis section, here.
Supportline – offers confidential support to children, young people and adults by their website, phone, email and post.
Migrant Families – online tool available that will help you find out what support you may be eligible for as a migrant family.
Household Bills and Goods
Newcastle Local Authority’s Energy Services Team provides expert advice and support for residents including reducing fuel poverty and energy efficiency. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
British Gas Energy Trust – a charitable trust providing advice on energy bills and grants paid directly to energy suppliers to help clear debts. Available online here.
Charis - administers funds on behalf of several energy companies to help people who need support with energy bills, freestanding appliances, boiler repairs or boiler replacements. Available online here.
Ofcom – Ofcom has a list of available social tariffs; these are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people who claim Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Available online here.
CCWater – the Consumer Council for Water is a statutory consumer body for the water industry in England. They have an advice hub with information and tools to help reduce water bills and access financial schemes. Available online at here. (Please note: Every water company should have a social tariff scheme to help low-income families – check with your provider for more information.)
Freecycle – a grassroots and non-profit organisation that allows people to claim household items for free. Available online here.
Family Fund (parents of disabled or seriously ill children only) – this charity provides families raising a disabled, or seriously ill, child on low incomes with wide-ranging grants for essential items, such as kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding and play equipment or technology. Available online here.
Fuel Vouchers – if you use a prepayment meter and cannot afford to top it up, you may be able to obtain a fuel voucher. Contact your local council for help getting one.
Energy Debt Grants – a number of energy suppliers offer grants to customers in need. Check with your supplier’s website or contact them directly for more information.
Support with Vets Bills– PDSA offers free veterinary treatment and medications to pet owners who live within the Newcastle catchment area and are in receipt of Housing Benefit, Council taxt support or Universal credit with a housing element. Click online link or telephone 0800 9172509.
Government Benefits and Support
Unclaimed Benefits - Billions of pounds of benefits go unclaimed each year. Check your eligibility at here.
Universal Credit– a monthly government payment to help with living costs for those on a low income. Available to apply online here or by telephone (0800 328 5644).
Short Term Benefit Advice – those in urgent financial need may be able to get an advance on benefit payments, which is paid back later through benefits without interest. Find out more at here.
Cost of Living Payments – a government support package to help mitigate the cost of living crisis. Factsheet available online here. Payments are made automatically to those who are eligible so there is no need to apply – if you think you are eligible but did not receive a payment, make a report online here.
Housing and Rent
Housing Advice - If you require housing advice, contact the housing advice centre on 0800 1707008 or email email@example.com
Housing Providers - Housing providers in Newcastle have dedicated support services to help their customers cope with bills, save energy, find furniture and improve their income. For further information refer to your housing provider: Your Homes Newcastle, Home Group, Places for People, Karbon Homes, Bernicia, Anchor Housing
ACORN – a community union that can provide support and advice for those who rent on housing issues and tenants’ rights. Get in touch online here.
Council Tax Reduction – low-income households might be able to get a council tax reduction. Click here for further advice.
Shelter – Housing charity that runs local services. You can access their emergency helpline (0808 800 4444) and find advice online here.