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Money advice

There is support available to you from the council and local voluntary and community organisations

Find out how you can get help to manage your money

We want to find out what pressures and concerns you have as winter approaches. Fill in our survey so we can ensure the right support in available for your needs.

Debts are either priority or non-priority depending on the penalties if you do not pay.

If you are struggling to pay your debts you should always make sure you pay your priority debts first.

Council tax and rent are priority debts.

If you are having problems paying your rent or other bills, don’t ignore it, help is available!

Council tenants

Tenancy sustainmentcan:

  • help you manage your money
  • agree an arrears repayment plan
  • ensure you are receiving any benefits, discounts and grants you are entitled to.

Council tax

If you live in a home on your own, you are entitled to 25% discount off your bill.

If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to council tax support. Use the benefit calculator [external link] to find out.

Electricity and gas

For information on saving money on your bills visit our Sustainable Darlington pages.

Our home energy page also offers advice on how you can save on your gas and electricity.

If you pay the gas and/or electricity bills for your home you will receive a £400 discount [external link] from the government on your bills over the winter (over six months from October):

  • If you pay via credit or direct debit, the discount will be taken automatically from your bills by your provider. 
  • If you pay by prepayment meter you will be provided energy bill discount vouchers weekly, issued by text, email or post directly from your energy supplier. Redeem these at your usual top-up point. If you have a smart prepay meter, your supplier will apply the credit to this automatically.
  • You will never be asked for bank details at any point.

Make sure you are claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to so that you receive the right government support with your bills.

If you don't have a domestic electricity connection 

You are still eligible for the £400 payment via the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding. If you haven't already received the £400 apply on the Government website  [external link].

This fund is not administered via the Council.

The deadline to apply is 31 May 2023.

Alternative Fuel Payment

The Government has announced the domestic Alternative Fuel Payment which will provide a £200 grant payment to UK households that use alternative fuels for heating instead of mains gas.

Most households eligible for these payments will receive £200 as an automatic credit on their electricity bill in February 2023.

Some customers, such as those living in park homes or on static houseboats with no direct energy supplier, will need to apply to receive the payment.

To apply visit the Government website fuel support page [external link].

This fund is not administered via the Council.

The deadline to apply is 31 May 2023.


The council collects on behalf of Northumbrian Water (unless a water meter is fitted).

The average weekly water and sewerage charge for 2017/18 is £7.87.

If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to up to 50% discount off your water charge through the Northumbrian Water social tariff.  Please see the tenancy sustainment page to find out more.

Tips on saving water can be found on the Northumbrian Water website [external link]

There are a number of warm spaces you can access if you are struggling to keep warm over winter.

Venue Day Time
Kings Church, Whessoe Road Wednesday 9:30-14:30
Embrace Church, Red Hall Community Centre Monday 18:00-21:00
Embrace Church, Red Hall Community Centre Sunday 10:00-12:00
Elim Church (TBBT) Monday 12:45-2:45
Eastbourne Community Hub, Eastbourne Park Monday 9:00-11:00
YMCA, Middleton Street Monday 2.30 - 4.30pm
Skerne Park Youth & Community Centre (TBBT) Tuesday 10:00-12:00
Cockerton Club (TBBT) Tuesday 12:00-2:00
Darlington Hippodrome Tuesday 10:00 - 12:00
The Well Methodist Church (TBBT) Wednesday 12:00-2:00
Corporation Road School (TBBT) Wednesday 12:45-2:45
Eastbourne Community Hub, Eastbourne Park Wednesday 9:00-12:00
All Saints Church, Ravensdale Road Wednesday 1:00-4:00pm
Darlington Hippodrome Wednesday 10:00 - 12:00
YMCA, Middleton Street Thursday 2:30-4:30pm
Firthmoor Community Centre (TBBT) Friday 12:00-2:00
Eastbourne Community Hub, Eastbourne Park Friday 12:00-2:00
Cockerton Methodist Church Friday 2:00-4:00pm
All Saints Church, Ravensdale Road Friday 1:00-4:00pm
Darlington College Weekdays 8:00am-5:00pm

Warm Hubs locations on Google maps [external link]

Cockerton library [external link] and the Dolphin Centre can be accessed during their opening hours.

Eliminating food waste

Use leftovers and be savvy about what you can freeze to make sure you are getting as much as you can from the food you buy. 

You can freeze:

  • eggs
  • rice
  • dairy: grated cheese(add flour), milk, butter
  • baked goods eg brownies and cookies
  • chopped herbs, chilli and garlic.


If you are unable to feed yourself or your family, you may be able to get emergency food from a foodbank.

You do not need a referral.

Healthy start 

If you are at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have a child under 4 years old and you are claiming relevant benefits you can get support to but milk, fruit and vegetables with Healthy Start [external link]

The Bread and Butter Thing

The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT) helps families cut the price of their food bills by offering groceries at a fraction of supermarket price.

TBBT 's affordable food service means that for just £7.50, members’ shopping bags are filled with a minimum of £25 worth of items made up of quality fresh food and store cupboard staples from supermarkets.

It's really easy to sign up to TBBT:

Step 1

Send us a text to 07537416040 with your full name, your postcode and the name of your hub (Elim, Skerne Park, Cockerton, etc) and we will get in touch.

Step 2

Select the size of order you want to receive. A typical family order would be £7.50, an individual would be £4. An extra large family would be £15.

Step 3

We’ll send you a text every week to see if you want an order. All you have to do is reply “YES” to the text by 10:00 the day before collection and we’ll deliver your order to your chosen hub.



Collection Time

Collection Point


Elim Church


Elim Church, Bowman Street (Harrowgate Hill )


Skerne Park


Skerne Park Youth & Community Centre


Cockerton Club


Cockerton Club, Cockerton Village


The Well


The Well Methodist Church, North Road


Corporation Road


Corporation Road Primary School


Red Hall


Red Hall Primary School




Eastbourne Community Hub in Eastbourne Park




Firthmoor Community Centre

Finding a job

Morrison Trust [external link] is a local charity that supports unemployed people in Darlington. It provides:

  • a free, friendly, flexible service  
  • support from an employment consultant to help you plan and progress 
  • support with CVs, competing job applications, preparing for interviews
  • support to progress into employment, training, education, apprenticeships or voluntary work
  • help to build confidence in your strengths, skills and abilities
  • funding for training.

Claiming the right benefits

Each year more than £26million of benefits go unclaimed across Darlington.

Visit the DarloMillions [external link] page to make sure you're claiming what you're entitled to.

For specific advice on Universal Credit visit the Money Advice Service [external link].

First Stop Darlington[external link] can also support you in accessing the all of the benefits you may be entitled to.

The National Debtline [external link] has a useful tool to help you take control of your debts by following these four easy steps:

  • increasing your income
  • working out your personal budget
  • dealing with your priority debts
  • dealing with your non-priority debts

For more details see how to deal with debt [pdf document].

There are lots of places that provide free, confidential and independent advice.

They can help you come up with a strategy to deal with your debts.

They may also be able to deal with your creditors on your behalf.

Online support

Face to face support

Free childcare

If you are getting certain benefits you might be eligible forfree childcare.

Free school meals

Your child may be entitled to free school meals

School uniform

You can get free, second hand professionally laundered school uniform from the Uniform Exchange.

You can also donate any uniform your child has outgrown stopping it from going to landfill.

Social fund

Citizens Advice Darlington administers crisis assessments and community care support.

Crisis support 

To apply for crisis support, please call the assessment centre on 01325 734991.

The telephone line operates from 10am to 4pm daily (except for bank holidays).

No access to a phone?

You can use the phone in the Darlington Citizens Advice office between 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday.

Emergency support and advice drop in at the 700 Club

The 700 Club has a drop-in on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am-2pm for anyone struggling with the cost of living. You can access advice and immediate help at Roadway House, Beaumont Street.

Community care support

Applications for this support must be made online by a specialist provider, for example a housing officer, support worker or social worker.

You can find more information, including how to apply on Darlington CAB’s website.

Darlington Citizens Advice community support scheme [external link].

Keeping track of your money and spending can be tricky.

If you are spending more than you have coming in, you will need to look at where you can cut back.

When thinking about your budget, make sure all your income and expenses are either weekly or monthly amounts.

To change a weekly figure into monthly, multiply by 52 and then divide by 12.

To change a monthly figure into weekly, multiply by 12 and then divide by 52.

There is a budget planning template available at Money supermarket [external link].

Bank accounts

Having a bank account can save you up to £485 a year when paying for everyday bills and services.

Having a bank account also allows you to set up Direct Debits, so you can automatically pay your bills.

If you don't have a bank account find out about fee-free basic bank accounts [external link].

Furniture help

If you are on a low income affordable pre-owned furniture is available from:

Cost of living support

Contact details for services that can help you cope with the increasing cost of living.

Cost of living support leaflet [pdf document].

The Household Support Fund supports families whose children receive free school meals, with a voucher to spend in the supermarket during school holidays.

If your child is eligible for Free School Meals, their school will be in touch with you to arrange supermarket vouchers for school holidays. This will usually arrive via text.

Darlington Connect

The voluntary and community sector have created a partnership called Darlington Connect to distribute the HSF.

Darlington connect will be based in the town centre at 6 Northgate (next to Costa Coffee) from early February. Alternatively call 07990 367711 between 10am-3pm Monday to Friday.

You can get support such as:

  • help with utility payments, repayments and basic living costs
  • access to energy saving devices
  • access to health and wellbeing services
  • travel costs
  • supermarket vouchers

Useful contacts and specialist advice

These organisations can offer support and advice:

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