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Gosforth Central Middle School

Cost of Living Support

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:


 School Support

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 and have collaborated with Place2Be to provide a counselling service in school. Chris Ampeliotis provides drop in sessions and weekly counselling sessions to pupils. A referral process is in place for weekly sessions.


 Local Support

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. If you are in need of emergency support, call 0800 1707001 or if you need any support, please complete their Cost of Living Support Request form


 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 info@nclwefb.org


Food Banks - Please click here for further information regarding food banks, and how to access them, in Newcastle.


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 – Good mental health is the foundation for well-being and the effective functioning of individuals and communities. It impacts on how we feel, communicate and understand. It enables us to manage our lives successfully and live to our full potential. It can also help us have more positive relationships with those around us.  For further help or information, please click  here


 Financial Support

Newcastle City council have created cost of living crisis information sheet and what options may be available to you to help you manage if you are struggling with money.  Please click here for further information.


The following organisations provide independent debt and money advice in Newcastle:


 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 moneymatters@newcastle.gov.uk 


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

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.

National Debtline is a national organisation accredited by the Money and Pensions Service that provides free debt advice. Their website has self-help information including factsheets and template letters. Find out what options are available if you can't pay your debts at Gov.uk. You can also get your own step by step action plan and advice on your debts from National Debtline's online advice tool.. 


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.  


This list is not exhaustive and further organisations can be viewed on Newcastle City Council’s cost of Cost of Living Support Hub


 Household Bills and Goods

For ways to save money Newcastle city council have produced a Budgeting Leaflet with tips on how to reduce household expenditure.

There is extensive information available on Newcastle city council’s website regarding energy advice and support that can be offered. Click here for further details.


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


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.


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. 



Housing and Rent

Housing Advice - If you require housing advice, contact the housing advice centre on 0800 1707008 or email housingadvicecentre@newcastle.gov.uk or click here for further information.

Opening hours for phone advice Monday to Friday 8.30am-12pm and 1pm -4.30pm.

 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 GroupPlaces for PeopleKarbon HomesBerniciaAnchor 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