Apply now for help with living costs

Published: 15 March 2022

Family and a calculator

Help towards food and utility costs could help households

City leaders in Derby are urging residents to apply for three schemes that could benefit households struggling with food and utility costs - as two of them close at the end of this month. 

In February of this year, the city's Partnership Board met to consider how partners across the city could provide a coordinated approach to support financially vulnerable residents.

The Council's new Council Plan puts Resilience at its heart; looking at how the city can prioritise its resources to reduce inequalities, empower strong and independent communities, and create a safe city, where those that need support can access it at the right time. Ahead of these longer-term plans, there are three schemes which may give households immediate help to those who qualify.

These are:

  • Healthy Start Scheme – prepaid food cards for those receiving benefits and 10+ weeks pregnant or with a child under 4 years.
  • Household Support Fund - one-off payment for food or fuel for those receiving benefits who can demonstrate financial hardship – closes 31 March 2022
  • Vulnerable Renters Fund – One off payment towards rent arrears for households renting privately – Awards made on case-by-case basis, closes 31 March 2022

A spokesperson for Derby City Council said:

It’s been a difficult few years for all of us and 2022 is again going to an anxious time for many people, with the growing cost of living pressures.

These three schemes from the government are the most immediate ways families and households across the city can get financial support.  

I would urge anyone struggling to make use of these funds and get their application in ahead of the end of March.

Many applications are now online, but if you don’t have ready access to the internet or are struggling to apply using that route, don’t give up. There are always ways you can get help.

Healthy Start Scheme

If you have a young child or are pregnant you may be entitled to financial help.

The Healthy Start scheme offers prepaid cards that allow you to buy healthy food and milk. You can qualify for the scheme if you’re a benefit claimant and:

  • more than 10 weeks pregnant or 
  • have a child under four

You can use your card to buy: 

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk 

You can also use your card to collect: 

  • Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to four- years-old 

All those currently using the paper voucher scheme must reapply. If you don’t reapply you will not continue to receive this benefit. 

To reapply, or to apply for the first time, go to the Healthy Start Website. You can also get an application form from your midwife or health visitor, or by phoning the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823. 

Approximate call charges to 0345 numbers cost up to 16p per minute from landlines and 3p to 65p from mobiles. Check with your phone provider to find out the actual cost.

Household Support Fund (closes 31 March 2022)

People that need additional financial support this winter to pay for food or fuel, may be able to apply for a one-off payment.

The payments are available for those receiving benefits who can demonstrate financial hardship.

The payments available are:

  • Couples with children: £200
  • Couples with no children: £170
  • Individuals: £140

The quickest way to apply is online through myAccount. Your application will be processed faster, and electronic vouchers will be sent to you directly in an email.

If you don’t have direct access to the internet, see if a family member or friend can help you, or try your local library. If you are receiving help or support from a local group or organisation, they may be able to act as a trusted referrer and help you to apply.

If you don’t have access to the internet and no one is available to help you, you can contact Derby City Council’s Welfare Reform Team on 01332 643790, who may be able to advise you on any other options you have to apply. 

Vulnerable Renters Fund (closes 31 March 2022)

This fund is for households renting privately who have rent arrears due to financial difficulty. 

Awards from this scheme are paid directly to a landlord, to be allocated to their tenant’s rent account. Only one award per household will be made from this scheme. The maximum award that can be made is £1,000. 

To apply, contact the Community Hub on 01332 640000, choosing option 5. The text service for the Deaf community is 07774 333 412. 

Keep an eye on our website and social media, and our partners' websites and social media, for further guidance and advice over the coming months.


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