Support and advice services
We have put together an excel document which includes information about the local and national organisations providing support across the Malvern Hills District. This includes help with clothing, counselling, financial support, food, furniture, housing, other support and general information and advice.
Take a look at our 2022/23 local advice and support campaign on Facebook by searching #MHDadviceandsupport. View Malvern Hills District Council Facebook page
The Government has now launched an online hub to provide support and information around the cost of living. Visit the Help for Households website, which collates national advice around issues for housing, energy bills, transport, childcare and more.
If you would like some support with accessing grants and financial advice, support getting all the money you're entitled to, or simply want to know more about the government's recent assistance measures, we've put together some information in the links below.
- Winter 2022 support
- How can the council support you?
- Utilities including Fuel
- Digital Inclusion
- Employment and skills
There are a number of organisations offering additional support over the winter period.
- Worcestershire Libraries including those in Malvern and Tenbury Wells are part of the Warm Welcome network and will provide a warm welcome to everyone this winter. Find out more on Worcestershire County Council's website
- The Warm Welcome campaign was started by the ChurchWorks commission and has been set up to support the community response to the cost-of-living crisis. A number of local organisations have registered a warm space on the Warm Welcome website. Visit the Warm Welcome website
If you live on or near the border with Herefordshire - Talk Communities Herefordshire has released a directory of warm spaces on their website. View Talk Communities Herefordshire website
Household Support Fund
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently announced a further round of the Household Support Fund (HSF) grant for Worcestershire to cover the period 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023. This fund is designed to be used to support households in the most need particularly those including families with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers, and people with disabilities who would otherwise struggle with energy bills, food and water bills.
The Household Support Fund (HSF) will provide support to those most in need by providing vouchers or payments to eligible households or making direct provisions to help with food and goods.
In Malvern Hills District, South Worcestershire Citizen’s Advice has received some funding to support households – please contact Citizen’s Advice to find out more:
0808 278 7891 (Adviceline) – available Monday-Friday from 10.00am to 4.00pm
01684 563611 (Option 1 for advice, option 2 for admin. Please note availability of the option 1 local advice service is limited and callers may wish to use Adviceline in the first instance)
Other help available:
- View the Household Support Fund webpages for more information about the type of support available, including free school meals vouchers during holiday periods.
- View the Act on Energy webpage: Act on Energy are providing support for energy costs across Worcestershire. Eligibility criteria for support is not restricted to solely vulnerable households in receipt of benefits, but criteria will be applied for the different elements of support on offer.
As a district council we are working with partners to develop long term and sustainable support for our residents who are or may in the future experience difficult times. We have developed a Financial Wellbeing Partnership, chaired by Citizen’s Advice and with over 20 local partner organisations coming together to look at how we can work collaboratively to best support you. We have an action plan that is focussed on working together to improve awareness of the support services that already exist in the district, many of which are open to all. We have included some of our key actions and priorities below.
We also have a Poverty Alleviation Champion at Council, who is keeping the financial wellbeing of our residents at the forefront of our decision making.
If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, the local welfare assistance scheme may be able to help. Assistance could include settlement support to help a household that is homeless or at risk of being, with provision of a microwave and small fridge. It could also include support with the initial payment for gas or electricity supply when commencing a new tenancy or to prevent a homeless situation (at a maximum of £20 per household).
This scheme is to support those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, in receipt of a means tested benefit or are on a low income and have a local connection to the district.
Other criteria applies but please do get in touch with our Housing team who can talk you through it and check if you are eligible. Please note, this fund is discretionary and limited and there is no entitlement to an award. Not all eligible applicants will be successful, for example if there is no further funding available for the financial year.
If you are on a low income or claiming benefits then you may qualify for Council Tax Support which can reduce your bill. This applies whether you own your own home or rent and whether you are unemployed or working.
There are other discounts you may qualify for and you can also ask to spread your payments over 12 months instead of 10 to lower the monthly cost, although the total bill remains the same.
Our Customer Contact Centre can be found at the Council House, Avenue Road, Malvern, WR14 3AF. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm.
spreadsheet View support and advice services guide (30 KB) for more information on local and national organisations that can provide support.
- Take the 60-second debt test on the StepChange Debt Charity website.
- Check out the Money Helper Budget Planner to help with keeping track of your finances or take a look at their Bill Prioritiser to help you sort your bills and payments in the right order and tell you what you need to do if you’re struggling to pay before you miss a payment
- Call the Government backed Money Advice Service for free and impartial advice on 0800 138 7777.
- Visit the Money Helper website to find a free debt adviser near you, online or on the phone
- Couch to Financial Fitness - Would you like to feel more in control of your finances? Then use Money Helper’s Couch to Financial Fitness programme to cut through the jargon and become more confident making decisions about money. The weekly steps and helpful tools available can help you cut your spending, develop core saving muscles and create better habits for a longer term, cash confident future.
If you are struggling financially then make sure you are claiming all the money you are able to.
Use the Government's benefits calculator to see what you could claim. This should only be used as a guide and the results may differ from what you are actually offered.
- Support if you have a disabled child - If you’re raising a disabled or seriously ill child and need support with essential items, you may be able to apply for a Family Fund grant. Find out about Family Fund grants.
- Help with saving - Help to Save is a type of savings account. It allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over four years. Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure. Read about Help to Save on GOV.UK
Credit Unions are an alternative to high street banks. They are not-for-profit organisations created to support their members rather than shareholders. They can be used by anyone and offer a range of services including current accounts, savings accounts, Christmas saving accounts and loans.
They are a welcome alternative to pay day lenders and loan sharks which we advise you to avoid using.
Have you ever been offered a cash loan? Did they fail to give you paperwork? Did they add huge amounts of interest to your loan? Have they threatened you? Are you scared of people finding out? Have they taken your bank card, benefit card, passport, watch or other valuables from you?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then you could have borrowed money from an illegal money lender, more commonly known as a loan shark. You are not alone. It is estimated 310,000 people across the UK are in debt to illegal money lenders. We support the work of the national Illegal Money Lending Team to raise awareness of what loan sharks are, support victims and direct people to safe and legal alternatives.
If you suspect a loan shark you can report in confidence by calling 0300 555 2222, text 078600 22116 or use the online form on the stop load sharks website.
If your income is low, you have a poor credit rating or you only need a small amount for a short period of time then there are alternatives to loan sharks that are legal and safe, such as a Credit Union.
If you are in debt and struggling then please seek financial advice.
Budgeting skills for our young people
GET THERE Worcestershire brings together information for young people aged 16 to 25 on careers and training, relationships, money, health and wellbeing, housing and GET SAFE. Visit the GET THERE Worcestershire website
We know that learning important life skills from an early age, will stand us in good stead throughout our lives. When we surveyed over 1200 young people in 2019, over two thirds told us that they wanted to develop their money management skills. We want to support our educational establishments and youth providers to deliver these types of sessions and we are working, as a partnership, to develop a toolkit for young people.
spreadsheet View support and advice services guide (30 KB) for a list of local and national organisations that can provide support.
Act on Energy has money available to support people in certain circumstances with their energy costs.
To find out more about the criteria call the Act on Energy free advice line on 0800 988 2881.
Talk to your energy supplier if you are struggling to pay. Certain energy suppliers offer grants to customers to help with their bills.
Severn Trent offers a reduction on its bills to customers with a household income below £16,480. Other schemes are also available. Call Seven Trent directly on 0345 7500 500 or apply online on the Big Difference website
We know that parts of the district have a lack of transportation options and we want to help with this and reduce barriers for all our residents to accessing work and community.
As a council, we have set up a £150,000 Ticket to Ride crowdfund to support local transport schemes. You can take a look at some of the local transport projects already funded and find out more about how to access this fund on the Spacehive website
Have you tried community transport? Malvern Hills District Council offers a fixed rate subsidy of up to £1 per single journey, to passengers who use community transport services starting or finishing in the district. To find out more about community transport schemes near you please visit our Community Transport page.
E-bike to work scheme - This scheme provides young people starting apprenticeships, work or training with an Electric Bike (Ebike) to solve their transport problems. Find out more on the Ebike website.
Car club scheme – Have a licence but not a car? Visit the Malvern Hills car club scheme for more information.
The following information was accurate at time of writing (Sep 2022) - It is £20 to join and £7.50 per month to be a member (that covers all drivers over 25 in that household). When you use a car, it is £3 per hour for the first 4 hours, then £1.50 per hour for the next 6 hours. The following 14 hours are free and then it starts again. In addition, you pay a mileage charge (as there is a fuel card to top up the tank when needed) the mileage charge is based on fuelling a car that does 45mpg (the average across the fleet).
The popular Help Centre at Malvern Town Football Club is open every Thursday morning (10am-12pm) for FREE support with searching for work online, setting up emails, writing CVs, one to one help with using computers and learning how to use a new device. The Help centre is run by Platform Housing. Visit the Help Centre website.
Worcestershire Libraries Digital Call-back service - If you need help to improve your skills and confidence online the Worcestershire Libraries Digital Champions are here to help. Whether it's setting up an email address, connecting with family and friends online using Zoom, shopping online or getting to grips with social media - we can help you stay connected with others online. Call 01905 822722 between 9am - 5pm (Monday - Friday) and request a call back from a Digital Champion volunteer.
Adult Learning Worcestershire offer FREE courses that are designed to help people improve their digital skills; increasing their confidence when using technology and help them to feel safer online. Browse the current range of courses available and book online.
The Skills Toolkit is a new national service providing FREE high-quality courses (including computer skills) to help learners build their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects. Certificates are awarded once a course is successfully completed. Visit The Skills Toolkit website.
Jobs and skills support – take a look at our Future Workforce webpage for more information on jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities in the local area
If you live in the Malvern Hills district our housing support team can help you with your personal circumstances - whether you are an owner-occupier, tenants of private or housing association properties, a landlord or looking for a home. Visit our Housing advice page.
spreadsheet View support and advice services guide (30 KB) for information on organisations that can provide support.
End Furniture Poverty alliance can also offer help with finding support for, amongst other things, local providers within the national reuse network. View End Furniture Poverty website
spreadsheet View support and advice services guide (30 KB) for more information on organisations that can provide support.
- Foodbanks for emergency food supplies - There are a number of foodbanks in the district that are there to support anyone who might be going through a difficult time. Malvern Hills foodbank provides emergency three-day packs via a referral process. There are also foodbanks in Upton and Tenbury. Find your nearest foodbank on the Trussell Trust website. If you are near the border with Herefordshire, you can find a list of Herefordshire foodbanks on the Talk Community website.
If you are struggling to afford food then please visit Here2Help who can direct you to support available.
- Community fridges operate in Pickersleigh, Malvern Link and Upton. They offer free food to people, and unlike food banks you do not need to be referred. The aim is to stop as much food as possible going to waste. Find out more on the hubbub website
- Support for families during school holidays - The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme offers free holiday provision to children in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM), vulnerable families and those referred by other agencies during Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays. Visit Worcestershire.gov for more information about the HAF programme.
The HAF Programme funding has been extended to 2023 and Ready Steady Worcestershire has partnered with holiday clubs, schools and activity providers all over the county to offer fun, action packed school holiday periods with all activities offering healthy snacks, lunches and enriching activities.
If you're feeling stressed, anxious, sad, lonely, depressed or perhaps you're not sure how you're feeling, take the NHS mood self-assessment, which is designed for those aged 16 and over.
You can also take the One You Every Mind Matters quiz to get a free personalised plan, which can help you feel more in control, deal with stress and anxiety, boost your mood and improve your sleep.
There are a number of local and national organisations, which can help support your mental wellbeing. Here are just a few:
- Healthy Minds, provided by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, support people aged 18 and over, who are experiencing problems such as stress, anxiety, low mood or depression. It's a free, confidential service, which offers a range of talking therapies and support, including short courses, online therapies and self help guides.
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust provide a 24 hour helpline for anyone living in Worcestershire, who experiences a mental health concern for the first time or a sudden deterioration of an existing problem. You can contact them on 0808 196 9127 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year).
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire Wellbeing and Recovery College offer a range of free courses and workshops, aimed at helping individual's to learn new skills, so they can better manage their own mental health and wellbeing.
- Worcestershire Libraries run the Reading Well scheme, which offers a range of self-help books on issues such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. They can be borrowed free of charge from any public library in the county.
- Worcester Samaritans offer a telephone service, if you’re struggling and need help. Call the national Samaritans number: 116 123.
- Kooth is an online mental wellbeing community for 11 to 18 year olds. It provides free, safe and anonymous support around a range of concerns, such as relationship or family problems, school or college worries, feeling low or depressed, drink, drug or money problems.
- Qwell is a free digital mental health service for adults aged 19 and over, providing safe and anonymous emotional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Alongside an extensive range of self-care and psychoeducational materials, peer to peer support via moderated community forums, helpful articles and personal tools, such as an online journal, there is also one to one counselling support available, with fully qualified wellbeing practitioners (12pm to 10pm weekdays and 6pm to 10pm weekends and holidays).
- Strong Young Minds support young people aged 10 to 26 years old to address any issues which affect their mental health and wellbeing, including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and cyberbullying.
You can also find help and support from national organisations, many of which can be found on the Hub of Hope website.
Five ways to mental wellbeing - Evidence suggests there are five ways we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing.
Take a look at the Making Every Contact Count (MECC) mental wellbeing leaflet.