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Apply for Welfare Support

The Welfare Support Scheme provides B&NES residents with short-term, emergency help with living costs. We cannot provide cash or loans, but may offer you vouchers or help you to buy essential items, refer you to charity support, or temporarily contribute towards travel, housing, or living costs.


To qualify, you must be on a low income, and will need to provide evidence that you are experiencing financial hardship. We have very limited funds, and will offer help based on your personal and financial situation.

If you are a migrant to the UK
Please note, migrants with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) are not allowed to claim for a welfare payment. For more information, please refer to the Immigration Rules​ and the NRPF website.

Before you apply

Before you apply for Welfare Support, please prepare by taking note of the types of help available and how you will need to demonstrate your need for this support.

Daily living needs

If you cannot afford to feed yourself or your family, we may be able to help by providing you with supermarket vouchers. These are restricted so you cannot purchase alcohol or tobacco. We can also provide access to the food banks in the area.

Other living needs

Where you can demonstrate your level of need, we may be able to help with providing some other living needs, such as the following: 

  • Removal costs for house moves
  • Essential clothing for interviews (unless they are at your local Jobcentre)
  • Essential household items (such as basic kitchen utensils or cleaning equipment)
  • Help with household bills

You will need to provide evidence of the need, such as showing that you are moving house, or have job interviews to attend. Please note that in the case of removal costs, you are responsible for ensuring that your belongings are properly insured against damage, and we do not accept any liability for any damages caused during the move.

Council Tax Support

We may pay some of your Council Tax as an emergency, short-term measure. We can help you from the start of your financial hardship to the time when you are able to manage your finances again. We will consider all requests, but funding is limited, and you may not receive the total amount you request.

You must demonstrate extreme financial hardship. This means you are willing but unable to meet your debt or living costs, because of unexpected events or unforeseen changes. To qualify for help, you may need to provide evidence of one of the following:

  • A change in employment status for the main earner in your household (for example, losing a job or having hours significantly reduced)
  • A relationship breakdown (for example, where the main earner has left the household)
  • A death in your household
  • The imprisonment of your partner
  • A long-term injury or illness, resulting in loss of earnings

In some cases we will expect you to still make some contribution to your bill.

Buying furniture or household items

Where you can demonstrate that you cannot afford to buy essential household items yourself, we may be able to help by issuing vouchers which you can use at the Genesis Trust or People charity to exchange for household items. For example:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Sofas
  • White goods (cookers, fridges, freezers)

We work with The Genesis Trust, who can deliver items, but cannot install them for you.

We may also agree to source household items direct from suppliers for you and where necessary have these installed, and we may also provide you with a prepaid ATM-disabled debit card, which you could use to purchase household items yourself. If we decide to offer this help we will monitor how you spend the funds allocated, and may require you to provide receipts as proof of your purchase.

We can also pay for new carpets to be fitted, if we feel that the floor coverings in your home are not adequate to help you to stay warm and clean.


We can buy bus tickets from Wheels to Work for essential travel, where the costs are reasonable. You must demonstrate that the journeys are for work, interviews or training courses.

Help to secure new housing

Where you have moved into a new home and can demonstrate that you cannot pay rent in advance at the start of a tenancy, we may pay the landlord or letting agent the first month or week’s rent directly. We must assess the tenancy as suitable and affordable. This means the rent should be at, or below, the Local Housing Allowance rates for the size of the property. You will need to show evidence of your move and tenancy agreement.

How to apply

By phone

Call us on on 01225 477277 (available Monday to Thursday from 9am to 4.30pm, and Friday from 9am to 4pm). If we are unable to answer your call, we will aim to ring you back by the end of the next working day.

By email

WarningIf your request is urgent, for example if you need help to feed yourself and your household, please telephone 01225 477277.

Email us at

We may require you to provide details of your income and expenditure to assess whether you are in financial hardship. You will need to complete a Welfare Support and Discretionary Housing Payment application income & expenditure form.

Find out more about benefits by following the links in the panel on the right.