Help with the cost of living
A guide to how you can get information and advice on issues like grants, reducing your bills and getting mental health support.
If cost of living issues are affecting you, there are a wide range of organisations that can provide help.
You can get:
- advice on practical steps you can take to reduce your bills and look after yourself
- support if you're experiencing mental health issues or just want to talk to someone
You might also be eligible for financial support like grants, benefits or allowances.
In this guide, we round up information on useful contacts that cover the Stirling Council area.
We've created this overview to help people find useful contacts, but it's not a complete guide to support in Stirling, Scotland or the UK. Our listings are not recommendations.
You can also find useful contact information in our cost of living guide.
Stirling Council funding and advice
Advice Services and Welfare Reform guide
The guide to our Advice Services and Welfare Reform team's services explains how you can get advice and support on issues like:
- welfare benefits
- digital inclusion
BetterOff Stirling website
You can use our BetterOff website to find out:
- what benefits you're entitled to
- how you can apply for them online
Council Tax discounts and exemptions
Depending on our circumstances, you might be entitled to Council Tax discounts or exemptions. You can find detailed information on these in the Council Tax section of our site.
Discretionary Housing Payment
If you need help with your housing costs, you might be eligible for Discretionary Housing Payment. You can apply for this on our website.
Scottish Welfare Fund
Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to get a grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund. This is a Scottish Government fund that's administered by local councils.
UK Government grants and benefits
Cost of Living Payment
If you’re entitled to certain benefits or tax credits, you can get an extra payment to help with the cost of living.
Energy Bills Support Scheme
Under this UK Government scheme, households will receive a £400 discount on their energy bills. The discount will be paid over a 6-month period starting in October 2022, and will be administered by energy suppliers.
General advice on benefits, debt and money
CAP money management courses
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a charity that provides free debt help. Everyone can access its services, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Citizens Advice Scotland
Citizens Advice Scotland provides free and impartial advice on a wide range of topics, including debt and the cost of living.
Scottish Government cost of living support website
The Scottish Government's cost of living support website rounds up information and advice on topics like energy, benefits and debt.
Social Security Scotland benefits
Social Security Scotland is the Scottish Government's benefit agency. Their site includes information on:
- the benefits they current deliver on behalf of the Scottish Government
- how you can find out more eligibility
Stirling Salvation Army debt counselling service
Stirling's Salvation Army offers a free debt counselling service to anyone in the Stirlingshire area. It's available Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 2pm.
Turn2us is a charity that provides practical help to people who are struggling financially. Their website includes a:
- benefits calculator
- grants search tool
Young Scot guides
Young Scot is Scotland's national youth information and citizenship charity. Their guide to benefits covers:
- what’s available
- who’s eligible
- how you can make a claim
Young Scot has also created a 'cost crisis' guide that lists offers and tips on saving money. They update this guide on a regular basis.
Direct help with energy costs and debt
British Gas Energy Trust
British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that supports families and individuals who are struggling to pay their bills. You can access this support even if you're not a British Gas customer.
EDF Customer Support Fund
If you're an EDF customer, you might be able to get help with your bills or essential white goods. To access this, you must register with EDF's Priority Services team.
E.ON Next Energy Fund
E.ON Next has a special fund for customers who are struggling or experiencing financial hardship. If you're eligible, you might be able to use this to pay your bill or replace an old appliance.
Home Heating Support Fund
The Home Heating Support Fund is a Scottish Government fund. It can help you pay your energy bills by:
- sending a payment to your supplier
- giving you an energy voucher that you can use to pay your bills
ScottishPower Hardship Fund
If you're you struggling to pay ScottishPower debt, you might be eligible for their Hardship Fund.
Other guidance on grants and benefits
Citizens Advice Scotland has produced a round-up of all benefits, grants and help offered by
- the UK Government
- the Scottish Government
- energy suppliers
Guidance on reducing energy bills
Home Energy Scotland's guidance on reducing bills
Home Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Energy Saving Trust. It helps people to:
- create warmer homes
- reduce their energy bills
- lower their carbon footprints
Nesta's money-saving boiler challenge
Nesta is a charity and innovation foundation. Their money-saving boiler challenge website explains how you can save energy by turning down the flow temperature on your combi boiler.
Food hubs and community fridges
Community food larders
You can find information on community food larders in our cost of living guide.
Ladies of the Rock
Ladies of the Rock is a volunteer group that provides food to people experiencing food poverty.
Start Up Stirling
Start Up Stirling is a charity that's focused on relieving poverty, suffering and the distress of people in crisis.
Stirling Community Food
The Stirling Community Food project collects excess food and offers it to everyone in the community for free.
Free period products
You can get free period products from council-run buildings. This includes our:
- halls and centres
- Customer First office
Support with mental health, bereavement and suicide prevention
Breathing Space is a free phone and webchat service for anyone in Scotland who's over 16 and is experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
CALM is a mental health charity that offers a telephone helpline and a live-chat service. You can contact them from 5pm until midnight, 365 days a year.
Cruse Scotland is an Edinburgh-based charity that can help anyone who’s dealing with bereavement. Their website explains how you can contact them via webchat or use their National Bereavement Helpline.
National Suicide Prevention Helpline
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK offers a supportive listening service to anyone who's having thoughts of suicide.
NHS Forth Valley resources
NHS Forth Valley has produced a round-up of free online resources and information on getting mental health support.
NHS inform mental health information
NHS inform is Scotland's national health information service. Their mental health page rounds up information on identifying, treating and managing mental health problems and disorders.
Their site also has helpful guidance for anyone:
- dealing with thoughts of suicide
- thinking about self-harm
Penumbra's Forth Valley Supported Living Support Service
Penumbra is a mental health charity based in Edinburgh. Their supported living service offers support to people experiencing severe and enduring mental health challenges in the Forth Valley area.
Qwell is an online service that provides free and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults across the UK. You need to create an account to use it.
Samaritans is a charity that works to reduce feelings of isolation and prevent suicide. Their helpline is open around the clock, and you can call it for free from any phone.
SANE is a UK mental health charity that aims to improve the quality of life of people affected by mental illness. Its SANEline is open from 4pm to 10pm, 365 days a year.
Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) Information Service
The SAMH Information Service provides information and support on mental health issues. You can contact their team by phone or email, or consult their online library of useful guidance.
Shout 85258 is a free, confidential text-messaging support service for anyone who's struggling to cope.
Support in Mind Scotland's mental health and money toolkit
Support in Mind Scotland is an Edinburgh-based charity that supports people with severe and enduring mental ill health. Their free online toolkit is designed to help people understand, manage and improve their mental and financial health.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide is a charity that works help people bereaved by suicide feel less isolated. Their support line is open on Monday and Tuesday, from 9am to 5pm.
Other support groups and organisations
You can find information on other bodies on our support groups and voluntary organisations page.
Support for parents and carers of children
Home-Start Stirling is a Scottish charity that helps families in the Stirling area. You need a referral to get their support, but parents can do this themselves.
SBC Community Life Centre
SBC Community is the social action arm of a city centre church in Stirling. Its Life Centre provides access to a range of support services for individuals and families. Centre staff can also help people to find out about other useful services.
Social Security Scotland family payments
Social Security Scotland is the Scottish Government's benefit agency. If you care for children, you might be able to get one or more of its family payments.
Stirling Council grants and allowances
If your children are at school and you're on a low income, you may be entitled to certain types of financial support.
Young Minds guidance for parents and carers
Young Minds is a charity that works to improve children and young people's mental health. In October 2022, they shared advice from parents on supporting children during the cost of living crisis.
Support for children and young people
Childline is a free, private and confidential service for anyone under 19. Children can use it to contact a trained counsellor by phone, email or live chat.
Kooth is a website that offers young people online support and counselling. The child or young person must create an account to use the site.
Young Minds guidance for children
Young Minds is a charity that works to improve children and young people's mental health. Their site includes guides for young people on mental health, coping with life and getting support.
Support for people with health conditions
Macmillan's guide to support for people with cancer
Macmillan is a charity that provides care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer. Their website includes a guide to support for people dealing with cost of living issues.
Free bus travel for disabled people and people over 60
The National Entitlement Card scheme gives eligible people free travel on nearly all bus services in Scotland. This includes:
- local registered services
- long-distance scheduled services
You can find a guide to eligibility on Transport Scotland's website.
Free bus travel for under 22s
In Scotland, young people aged 5 to 21 can get free bus travel. To do this, they must apply for a certain type of National Entitlement Card.
Support for businesses
Find Business Support website
Find Business Support is a project that's being delivered by the Business Support Partnership. Their website is a way for businesses to browse all of Scotland’s public sector support options in one place.