Cost of living
Cost of living
We know things are tough for many people right now and we want to help.
If you’re struggling to afford your food, rent, energy or other costs, please fill in our help with living costs form. We’ll contact you in 3 working days. You can also contact us by phone and in other ways.
If you need immediate help please apply for our settle comfort fund.
How we and others can help
We’ll do our best to support you or put you in touch with organisations and partners who may be able to help.
If you’re having problems paying your rent or other charges with us, please let us know as soon as you can. We take a supportive approach and we’ll do all we can to work with you and help you through this difficult time.
Get in touch
How we can help
Together we’ll agree a manageable plan to help you get your account up-to-date, but keep reading to learn about many more ways we and our partners can help you.
Will I be evicted?
We’ll do everything we can to stop that from happening. The quicker you contact us about any problems, the quicker we can help.
In some circumstances we may be able to find you help for emergency energy costs. We can also help if you have a pre-payment meter and have accumulated an unmanageable debt.
Citizens Advice may be able to help support you with grants and benefits along with advice and energy saving tips to help you pay your energy bills.
Refilling your oil tank
The Community Development Action (Hertfordshire’s rural community charity) is offering residents the opportunity to join their oil buying group. Oil is bought in bulk through this scheme, which reduces the cost for customers.
It could be that you’re entitled to Housing Benefit or other benefits. Try using one of the benefit calculators below:
- Our benefits and budgeting calculator
- Benefits calculator by GOV.UK
- Benefits and calculator by Turn2us
If you need help applying for benefits please contact us.
Citizens’ Advice can give you specific help with debt and budgeting. We can also arrange an appointment for you where you can receive expert advice.
We’ve partnered with Pocket Power who can provide you with free expert guidance on how to save money on your bills. Let us know if you would like us to refer you to this service.
A credit union is a financial co-operative that provides savings, loans and a range of services to its members, so the emphasis is always on providing the best service to members – not maximising profits.
If you’d like to speak to someone over the phone or anonymously you can contact the debt charity Step Change.
The Financial Help for Families e-book can help you maximise income, deal with benefit problems and has lots of useful tips.
Help to Save
The Help to Save scheme gives low-income earners claiming universal credit or working tax credit a savings boost. It pays a 50% bonus on the amount saved, up to a maximum of £1,200 over four years.
Getting into work
From writing your CV and interview skills to help finding volunteering opportunities that help prepare you for work we can help you getting into work.
Help with food
We’ve put together a list of some of the organisations who are providing support with food in your area.
Letchworth, Baldock and Hitchin
- If you are struggling to afford to pay for food, we can refer you to foodbanks in Letchworth, Hitchin and Baldock
- Feed up Warm up– Hitchin Drop-In, Scout Hut, Our Lady Immaculate Church, Hitchin
Wednesdays between 6-8pm
- Best Before Cafe in Letchworth Garden City
- Royston Evangelical Church walk-in foodbank (Wednesdays & Saturdays between 9am-11am)
- The Foodshed (Stevenage Vineyard) – referrals via Citizens Advice, Stevenage
- Feed up Warm up – The Stevenage Stadium, Monday 5pm – 7pm
- NHS Healthy Start – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)
- Too good to go – Fight food waste with us (toogoodtogo.ie)
- OLIO – OLIO – The #1 Free Sharing App (olioex.com)
- Food Rescue – Old Red Lion, Shephall Green, Saturday 9am – 11am
- Codicote walk-in foodbank, open Wednesdays 6pm-7pm
Can deliver at alternative times if urgent – customers can call or message them via their Facebook page
Watford and Three Rivers
Eating well really helps our wellbeing so, we teamed up with our friends at CookeryEatery to share how to make some simple but delicious, healthy, and cheap meals. Make them with the kids or for the kids, either way they’re perfect for an easy dinner or lunch.
Just watch the video, follow along and then enjoy!
Tomato pasta bake
Tuna potato salad
Ways to lower your bills
At a time when energy costs are rising, there are some small changes that can make a big difference when it comes to reducing the amount we are spending on heating and electricity bills.
We’re working hard to make all of our homes energy efficient, but here are some things you can do to lower your energy costs. They may sound really simple, but even little changes can help.
1. Switch off standby
Almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the socket switch without upsetting their programming. You can save around £55 per year by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode – but remember to check the details of your appliances before turning them off.
2. Turn off lights
Turning your lights off when you’re not using them or when you leave a room could save around £20 a year on your annual energy bills.
3. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs
Switching to energy efficient LED light bulbs can reduce bills by £30. LEDs also have a longer lifespan of around 34 years, compared to just over one year for incandescent bulbs.
4. Wash clothes at a lower temperature
Washing clothes at 30˚C saves around 40% of the energy that gets used when washing at higher temperature. Reducing your washing machine use – e.g., by avoiding washing half loads – will also reduce energy costs.
5. Avoid overfilling the kettle
Only filling as much water as you need when boiling the kettle can around save £11 per year.
6. Take shorter showers
Keeping your shower time to just 4 minutes could save a typical household £65 a year on their energy bills.
7. Budgeting in the summer
If you have a pre-payment meter, it can be helpful to budget energy costs in the summer in order to manage increased energy consumption and costs during the winter.
8. Download the free Herts Energy Saving Advice (HEAT) app
The HEAT app is for all Hertfordshire residents, designed to take you through your home and identify how you may be able to reduce your energy use, and in turn save you money. The app is available for both Android and iPhone users – on Google Play and the App Store.
- You can find out how much water your household uses on average and how this compares with similar properties using the Anglian Water usage calculator
- There’s also a How much will I save calculator on the Affinity Water website. This will show how much you could save by having a water meter installed. If you want a water meter installed, you’ll need to get permission from us first
- You can find out ways to reduce your water usage and apply for free water saving devices through Affinity Water’s Save Our Streams campaign
- For residents on a water meter or waiting to have one installed, Citizens Advice have information on WaterSure, a scheme that helps some people with their water bills
If you receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit you’re eligible for a water discount from Affinity Water. If you pay your water charges through us (at the same time as your rent) let us know so we can apply for the discount for you. Contact Affinity Water if you pay your water charges direct to them.