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
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!
Tenancy sustainment can:
- help you manage your money
- agree an arrears repayment plan
- ensure you are receiving any benefits, discounts and grants you are entitled to.
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 to find out.
Electricity and gas
For information on saving money on your bills visit our Sustainable Darlingtonweb pages.
Ourhome energypage also offers advice.
Make sure you are claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to so that you receive the right government support with your bills. The BEAT team at Citizens Advice [external link] can help ensure you are claiming what you are entitled to.
If you don't have a water meter, and are in a council house, the council will issue and collect on behalf of Northumbrian Water.
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]
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:
- 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.
If you are at least 10 weeks pregnant, or have a child under four 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 £8.50, you can get £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:
Send a text to 07860 063304 with your full name, your postcode and the name of your hub (Elim, Skerne Park, Cockerton, etc) and they will get in touch.
Select the size of order you want to receive. A typical family order would be £8.50, an individual would be £5.
You will get a text every week to see if you want an order. All you have to do is reply “YES” to the text by 10am the day before collection and they will deliver your order to your chosen hub.
Elim Church, Bowman Street (Harrowgate Hill )
Skerne Park Youth & Community Centre
Cockerton Club, Cockerton Village
The Well Methodist Church, North Road
Corporation Road Primary School
Albert Hill Working Men's Club
Red Hall Primary School
Eastbourne Community Hub in Eastbourne Park
Firthmoor Community Centre
Finding a job
Tandem [external link] is a 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 Benefit Entitlement Action Team (BEAT)page [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.
- Citizens Advice [external link]
- Step Change Debt Charity [external link]
- Money Advice Service [external link]
Face to face support
- Citizens Advice Darlington [external link]
- Darlington Credit Union [external link]
- Darlington Connect - 6 Northgate (next to Costa Coffee). Call in Monday to Friday 10am-3pm. 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
If you are getting certain benefits you might be eligible forfree childcare.
Free school meals
Your child may be entitled to free school meals
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.
Help in a crisis
Citizens Advice Darlington [external link]administers crisis assessments and community care support.
To apply for crisis support, please call the assessment centre on 01325 734991.
The telephone line is open 10am to 4pm daily (except for bank holidays).
If you don't have access to a phone, you can use the phone in the Darlington Citizens Advice office, Church Row between 10am-4pm, Monday-Friday.
Emergency support drop in
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 their office at Roadway House, Beaumont Street.
Community care support
Applications for community care 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 onDarlington Citizens Advice website [external link].
Keeping track of your money and spending can be tricky.
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].
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].
If you are on a low income affordable pre-owned furniture is available fromKings Church Darlington [external link]
There are lots of activities happening in our local community. Places you can go to meet new friends and be social. Home Instead,who provide home care, have produced an activity guide [pdf document] for residents.
Please note there may be a charge for some activities. Check before attending any event to confirm the details and any costs.
Useful contacts and specialist advice
These organisations can offer support and advice:
- Darlington Connect, 6 Northgate (next to Costa Coffee). Call in Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm
- Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington [external link]
- Citizens Advice Darlington [external link]
- Darlington Association on Disability [external link]
- Darlington MIND [external link]
- Darlington 700 Club [external link]
- First Stop Darlington [external link]