Crisis support scheme

Crisis Support provides support for the people of Lancashire who are experiencing a crisis beyond their control.  It is designed to assist the most vulnerable in meeting short-term needs and to promote their continued independence within the community. The scheme focuses on three key areas of provision identified as those most relevant to supporting citizens experiencing crisis situations:  food, heating and household items.

Food

If you do not have enough money for food, or the opportunity to access any, we may be able to provide some temporary help. If you meet the eligibility criteria you will be offered a food parcel to be collected from an accessible venue in your district. At the time of collecting the parcel you will be offered additional information.  This could include advice or signposting to other services and organisations that may be able to provide support in avoiding a future crisis situation.

Home Fuel / Heating Costs

If you have a pre-paid meter but do not have enough money to top it up, we may be able to provide some temporary help. If you meet the criteria you will be issued with a crisis heating payment.

Please note

A maximum of two awards for food parcels and / or home heating costs are available in any 12 month period.

To apply for support with food or fuel costs you should ring our helpline on 0300 123 6735. If you find it difficult to use the phone, a family member or friend can ring on your behalf.

Household items

To apply for household items the referral must come from an approved partner organisation. This must be with the customer's permission via the online application form. A code will be required by the partner organisation to complete an application.  To find out how to become a partner organisation, please email the scheme on CrisisSupportScheme@lancashire.gov.uk.

Approved partner organisations include, but are not limited to:

  • Refuges
  • Social Workers
  • Housing Associations
  • Citizens Advice Bureau etc.

We may be able to assist you with essential furniture or domestic appliances if you meet the eligibility criteria and need help to:

  • Set up home after being in care,
  • Move home following a disaster (such as a flood or fire),
  • Move home due to violence or fear of violence.

Only certain types of household items can be provided and there is a limit on the number of items that can be awarded. The number and types of household items that may be awarded will depend on your living arrangements, but the scheme may be able to help with the following items:

  • Fridge (single people / individuals living alone)
  • Fridge freezer (couples / families)
  • Oven (couples / families)
  • Mini-oven or microwave (single people / individuals living alone)
  • Washing Machine
  • Single bed
  • Double bed
  • Bunk bed
  • Cot
  • Mattress

Please note 

This award is limited to a maximum of:

  • 3 items for a single person
  • 5 items for a couple / family

Recycled / reconditioned electrical and furniture items will be sourced wherever possible.  Items will be delivered and installed by a network of local furniture reuse and recycle organisations. 

The scheme can only assist once with any request for a furniture award.

Eligibility

You can apply for support if your current circumstances are due to an unplanned financial event, you are over 16 and live in Lancashire.  

You also need to be on a low income, this would usually mean:

  • that you are in receipt of:
    • Income Support,
    • Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA),
    • Income related Employment and Support Allowance ( ESA)
    • Pension Credit (Guarantee Credit only).
  • leaving care or requiring support to stay in the community.
  • able to demonstrate that you do not have the immediate resources to meet the basic needs of yourself and/ or your dependents.

When we are unable to help

We are not able to provide help if you need support because of any reductions in benefit due to changes to Council Tax Support or reductions in Housing Benefit as a result of changes from April 2013. If you need extra help with your housing costs or Council tax you need to contact your local district council.

If you submit repeat applications or are identified as in need of other forms of assistance, you will be referred to an appropriate local advice service for support such as budget or debt advice or counselling services. 

New Benefit Claim

If you have recently made a claim for benefits and are experiencing a period of financial need before your first payment, you need to speak to your local Jobcentre Plus office to see if you qualify for a short term advance.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit and having problems paying your rent, you may be able to get some additional help by applying for Discretionary Housing Payments.  These are additional short term payments that you can apply for from the office that pays your Housing Benefit. Ask your local council for details of how to apply.

Additional Information

If English is not your first language and you require the assistance of a translator, we can provide this service.

You should have to hand any papers or information that will help us understand your claim better. You will need your contact details and:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Details of what benefits you and your partner (if applicable) are receiving
  • If not in receipt of benefit, what income you and your partner (if applicable) have, and the sources of this income
  • Details of any savings you and your partner (if applicable) have

Any relevant information about your circumstances to explain the exceptional pressures and difficulties you are experiencing or why you need help to stay or settle in the community.

The help you will receive will be getting you some assistance through a food bank or furniture re-use organisation.  We do not give loans and avoid cash payments.

If we identify that you are not claiming all the benefits to which you are entitled we will provide information and support to help you claim what you can. This may be instead of claiming support under this scheme.

If you submit repeat applications or are identified as in need of other forms of assistance, you will be referred to an appropriate local advice service for support such as budget or debt advice or counselling services.

What to do if you disagree with a decision

If you disagree with a decision you will be able to request a review and provide additional information or evidence to support your request.  Please contact us to request a review on 0300 123 6735 or email us at CrisisSupportScheme@lancashire.gov.uk.

Benefits and grants