Cost of Living Crisis

We have put together some guidance for Carers to help through the Cost of Living Crisis.

Countries around the world are facing rising goods and energy prices, inflation and cost of living pressures after the pandemic and world events.

As concerns rise, the government has stepped in to offer help for households. See what cost of living support you could be eligible for:

We have pulled together some money-saving tips to help to reduce your household bills.

Government Support

Make sure you claim any benefits that you are entitled to. You may be entitled to Cost of Living Payments, the Household Support Fund and everyone is eligible for the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Find out more about this help here. You can call the Birmingham Carers Hub team for information and advice.

NEW Benefits Calculator 

Forward Carers has just launched a Benefits Calculator that is free to use and provides tailored support according to your results. You can even choose to read the information in another language!

Local Council Support 

Birmingham City Council outlines cost of living support for individuals and families across the city, including details of food banks, help with energy bills, and ways to manage debt. Take a look at the Council’s Cost of Living Leaflet. If you are having immediate problems, the council asks that you call 0121 303 1116.

After receiving cabinet approval on 27th June 2023, the Household Support Fund Round 4 is being made available to ease the financial burdens faced by its vulnerable citizens living in Birmingham.  Read more here.

Birmingham Voluntary Service Council’s (BVSC) Hardship Grant Community Fund (HGCF), part of Birmingham City Council’s (BCC) wider Household Support Fund (HSF) activity, will be running until 31st March 2024. Find out more about the Hardship Grant Community Fund.

Find a warm Space

Organisations around the UK have opened their doors to provide a warm space to those struggling to heat their home this winter. Here are warm spaces in Birmingham.

Possible Power Cuts

The chief executive of National Grid has warned that we may need to prepare for blackouts between 4pm and 7pm on “really, really cold” weekdays in January and February. In preparation for this, ensure you apply for Priority Services Registers, especially if you or the person you provide care for relies on life-saving medical equipment. Find out more here.

Cheaper Phone and Broadband

You may be eligible to move on to a social tariff if you’re struggling to afford your broadband or phone services. Social tariffs are cheaper broadband and phone packages for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. Some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’ broadband. They’re delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price. Amid rising living costs, Ofcom is encouraging companies to offer social tariffs to help customers on low incomes. Here is a list of available tariffs.

Help to get Online

If you feel like you are locked out of the digital world and you can’t connect with people online, or access vital services like online food shopping, banking, and medical appointments help is at hand. The National Databank is providing free data to people in need via Good Things Foundation’s network of community partners, in partnership with Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three.

If you know someone in need of Internet data and could benefit from a pre-loaded SIM card, email

How to reduce food and cooking costs

  • Meal plan for the week and stick to that shopping list
  • Buy in bulk on non-perishable items as it’s cheaper
  • Avoid food waste and use websites such as SuperCook or BigOven that suggest suggest recipes for the items left over in your fridge or cupboard. You can also use food waste apps such as Kitche, it even alerts you when items in your fridge are about to go off.
  • Ditch big brand names and opt for supermarket own brands instead
  • Look out for yellow stickers where food is reduced (usually at the end of the day). You can also freeze what you have bought and eat on another day.
  • Use supermarket loyalty cards for savings and sign up to cashback sites such as Topcashback or Quidco
  • Use apps offering free or cheap food such as Olio or Too Good To Go
  • Use a microwave, slow cooker or air fryer rather than the oven which is the most expensive option to cook food
  • If you cook food on the hob, cover your pan to retain heat, cooker food quicker and use less gas or electricity
  • If you are really struggling you can use your local food bank. To find out about food banks in Birmingham click here.

How to reduce your water bills

  • Being on a water meter can save you money, use the CCW calculator to find out if you’ll save money by switching to a meter.
  • Once on a meter, use these water-saving tips such as turning the tap off when brushing your teeth and take a four minute shower instead of a bath.
  • By using less hot water, you will also reduce your energy bills.
  • If you are eligible, you can apply for the WaterSure scheme that can help if your income is low and you use a lot of water especially if you or someone in your household has the following medical conditions: incontinence, weeping skin disease (such as psoriasis), desquamation (flaky skin disease), Crohn’s disease, renal failure requiring home dialysis, Alzheimer’s / dementia, cancer, diabetes, Eczema or any condition that a doctor confirms requires extra water use.
  • The Big Difference Scheme can offer a reduction of water bills to any Severn Trent customer with ahousehold income below £18,278.
  • The Severn Trent Trust Fund helps our customers who are struggling with their bill.
  • Severn Trent Water offer other ways to help with your bill which you may find useful.

How to reduce your energy bills

  • Switch your light bulbs to LED bulbs
  • Turn lights off when they are not in use
  • Turn appliances off and don’t leave them on standby or buy a standby saver or smart plug which allows you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
  • Turn your thermostat down, expect to cut bills by around 4%, or about £100 a year on average for a typical home. The optimum temperature that’s recommended is 21°C,so anything from 18-22°C should do the trick.
  • Only use your dishwasher or washing machine when full and wash clothes on a 30° setting
  • Dry clothes outside or on a heated airer instead of using a tumble dryer which can cost around £200 a year to run
  • When boiling water, use just the amount you need in the kettle or boil water in a saucepan with the lid on.
  • Draught proof your home with clingfilm on the windows or draught excluders on your doors
  • Bleed radiators and add a shelf above your radiator or tin foil behind it to improve heat distribution and move your furniture around so the heat is not blocked and it is away from cold external walls.
  • Sit in a room where the sun is, this might mean sitting somewhere different in the morning to the afternoon to feel the benefit.
  • Heat the human not the home. In other words, keep yourself warm by wearing thin layers, or use a hot water bottle before turning the heating on or up. It may be dangerous for older people, or those with asthma and other health conditions to do this, if in doubt, consult your GP and follow their advice.
  • Other advice is available from Leap the Energy Saving TrustWarmer Homes West Midlands, 
  • Charity Excellence #SurviveAndThrive resource lists over 30 ideas to reduce your energy costs.
  • You may be eligible to apply for a grant from British Gas Energy Trust.

If you have any money saving tips, please email so that we can add them to this page.