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.

Overview

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
  • money
  • debt
  • digital inclusion

Advice Services and Welfare Reform guide

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

BetterOff Stirling website

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.

Council Tax discounts and exemptions section

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.

Discretionary Housing Payment page

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.

Scottish Welfare Fund guide

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.

Cost of Living Payment guidance on GOV.UK

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.

Energy Bills Support Scheme guidance on GOV.UK

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. You can find out more about what's available on the SBC Community website.

Debt Centre page on the SBC Community website

Citizens Advice Scotland

Citizens Advice Scotland provides free and impartial advice on a wide range of topics, including debt and the cost of living.

Citizens Advice Scotland website

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.

Cost of living support website

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

Social Security Scotland information on benefits webpage

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.

Salvation Army Stirling webpage

Turn2us

Turn2us is a charity that provides practical help to people who are struggling financially. Their website includes a:

  • benefits calculator
  • grants search tool

Turn2us website

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 guide to claiming benefits

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.

Young Scot cost crisis guide

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.

British Gas Energy Trust website

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.

EDF Priority Services Register webpage

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.

E.ON Next Energy Fund website

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

Home Heating Support Fund information on homeheatingadvice.scot

ScottishPower Hardship Fund

If you're you struggling to pay ScottishPower debt, you might be eligible for their Hardship Fund.

ScottishPower Hardship Fund webpage

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

Citizens Advice Scotland guidance on grants and benefits to help you pay energy bills

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

Home Energy Scotland's guidance on reducing bills

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.

Nesta's money-saving boiler challenge website

Food hubs and community fridges

Community food larders

You can find information on community food larders in our cost of living guide.

Stirling Council cost of living guide

Ladies of the Rock

Ladies of the Rock is a volunteer group that provides food to people experiencing food poverty.

Ladies of the Rock Facebook page

Start Up Stirling

Start Up Stirling is a charity that's focused on relieving poverty, suffering and the distress of people in crisis.

Start Up Stirling website

Stirling Community Food

The Stirling Community Food project collects excess food and offers it to everyone in the community for free.

Stirling Community Food webpage

Free period products

You can get free period products from council-run buildings. This includes our:

  • libraries
  • halls and centres
  • Customer First office

List of where you can get free period products

Support with mental health, bereavement and suicide prevention

Breathing Space

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.

Breathing Space website

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.

CALM website

Clear Your Head

Clear Your Head is a Scottish Government website that lists ways you can look after yourself, support others and get advice.

Clear Your Head website

Cruse Scotland

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.

Cruse Scotland website

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK offers a supportive listening service to anyone who's having thoughts of suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Helpline webpage

NHS Forth Valley resources

NHS Forth Valley has produced a round-up of free online resources and information on getting mental health support.

NHS Forth Valley mental health wellbeing page

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.

NHS inform mental health information

Their site also has helpful guidance for anyone:

  • dealing with thoughts of suicide
  • thinking about self-harm

NHS inform guidance on surviving suicidal thoughts

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.

Penumbra's Forth Valley Supported Living Support Service

Qwell

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.

Qwell website

Samaritans

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.

Samaritans website

SANE

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.

SANE website

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.

SAMH Information Service webpage

Shout 85258

Shout 85258 is a free, confidential text-messaging support service for anyone who's struggling to cope.

Shout 85258 website

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.

Mental health and money toolkit on the Support in Mind Scotland website

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.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide website

Other support groups and organisations

You can find information on other bodies on our support groups and voluntary organisations page.

Mental health support groups and voluntary organisations

Support for parents and carers of children

Home-Start Stirling

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.

Home-Start Stirling website

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.

SBC Community Life Centre webpage

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.

Scottish Child Payment guidance on mygov.scot

Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods guidance on mygov.scot

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.

Free school meals and clothing grants

Education Maintenance Allowance

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.

Young Minds blogpost about tips for supporting children

Support for children and young people

Childline

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.

Childline website

Kooth

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.

Kooth website

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.

Young Minds guidance for young people

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.

Macmillan's cost-of-living guide

Travel support

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.

Guide to concessionary travel for people who are disabled or over 60

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.

Under-22s bus travel information

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.

Find Business Support website

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