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 food, rent, energy or other costs, there are ways we may be able to help you. settle plus is how we support residents who are struggling with their finances, whether it be paying your rent or other essential costs. There’s lots we can do to help, including via the settle comfort fund, issuing vouchers for food and energy, and making referrals to specialist organisations.

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.

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 can’t pay your rent or charges

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

Fill in our help with living costs form or you can contact us by phone or other ways.

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.

Help with rising energy and heating costs


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.

Just fill in our help with living costs form or contact us.

Citizens Advice

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.

More information can be found on their website You can also call 01993 225 011 or send an email to

Help with mobile data

The National Databank provides free mobile data, texts and calls to people in need. Think of it like a ‘food bank’ but for internet connectivity data.

If you can’t afford or access mobile data, we can refer you to the scheme. Just contact us or fill out our help with living costs form.

Other ways to increase your income and save money

Claiming benefits

It could be that you’re entitled to Housing Benefit or other benefits. Try using one of the benefit calculators below:

If you need help applying for benefits please contact us.

Citizens’ Advice

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.

Pocket Power

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.

Credit unions

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.

Find a credit union

Step change

If you’d like to speak to someone over the phone or anonymously you can contact the debt charity Step Change.

AskCPAG – Financial Help for Families

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)

St Albans



  • 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

Waltham Cross

Watford and Three Rivers



  • Bedford Foodbank (Bedford Borough Council can refer – contact 01234 718097)




Simple meals

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

Recipe and ingredients for tomato pasta bake.pdf

Spaghetti bolognese

Recipe and ingredients for spaghetti bolognese.pdf

Tuna potato salad

Recipe and ingredients for tuna potato salad pdf

Ways to lower your bills

Heating and energy costs

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.

Water costs

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.

Related pages

Support with mental health

Simple meals

Getting into work

More support from settle