Money advice

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 all your debts you should always make sure you pay your priority debts first. Council tax and rent are priority debts.

If you are experiencing problems paying your rent or other bills, don’t ignore the problem – help is available!

Council tenants

Tenancy sustainment[link] can:

  • 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. Complete the benefit calculator [external link] to find out.

Electricity and gas

You could save money by changing your tariff or energy provider - visit Energy Saving Trust [external link]

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

Water

Darlington Borough Council collects water rates 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]

Other bills

Get tips on all of your bills from the moneywise service [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.

To help you budget you can complete the financial statement in our Cost of running our home booklet [pdf document].

When filling in your personal 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.

If the end figure is positive, you can afford the cost of running your home based on your current circumstances.

If the end figure is negative, you will be paying out more than you can afford each week, meaning you are at risk of debt. If this would apply to you and you still want to have your own home, please contact us to discuss this further.

Making your money go further

Bank accounts

Having a bank account can save up to £485 a year in the UK for everyday bills and services. 

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

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

Furniture help

FRADE (01325 357379) and Kings Church Darlington [external link] both provide affordable pre-owned furniture to people on a low income.

Finding a job

The Morrison Trust [external link] is a local charity which supports unemployed people living in Darlington. They can help you with your CV, help you fill in application forms and prepare for interviews.

If you have been unemployed for less than 12 months, you are not accessing the work programme and are living in Darlington, we can refer you to them.

Claiming the right benefits

More than 26 million pounds of tax credits, benefits and other entitlements goes unclaimed each year across Darlington borough.

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].

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

  • Step 1: Increasing your income 
  • Step 2: Working out your personal budget 
  • Step 3: Dealing with your priority debts 
  • Step 4: Dealing with your non-priority debts 

There is more information in How to Deal with Debt [external link]

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

For online support

If you need local or face to face support

Free childcare

If you are getting certain benefits you might be eligible for free childcare.

Free school meals

Your child may be entitled to free school meals

Social fund

From Monday 3 October 2016 the administration of Crisis Assessments and Community Care Support has transferred to the Community Support and Crisis Assessment Centre (administered by Citizens Advice Darlington).

Requests for Crisis Assessments

To apply for crisis support, please call the Assessment Centre on 01325 734991.

If you do not have access to a telephone, between 10.00am and 4.00pm you can visit Citizens Advice Darlington's main office to use a telephone.

The telephone line operates from 10.00am to 4.00pm daily (except for bank holidays).

Community Care Support

Applications for community care support must be made online by a specialist provider, such as a housing officer, support worker or social worker.

More information, including how to apply, can be found on Darlington CAB’s website.

Darlington Citizens Advice Community Support Scheme [external link]

Foodbanks

If you are unable to feed yourself or your family, you may be able to get emergency food from a foodbanks. You do not need a referral.

  • Kings Church, Whessoe Road [external link] - details of locations and times you can access foodbanks delivered by King's Church.
  • Salvation Army, Thompson Street East
  • The Basement, Darlington Baptist Church, - soup kitchen (run by the Kings Church) every Monday 6-7pm providing a hot meal and dessert.
  • Firthmoor Community Centre, Burnside Road - open Monday to Friday 8am- 6pm as well as some weekends and later evenings if the community centre is open. As well as food, you can get support and advice and use a phone and laptop to help with benefits claims. 
  • Salvation Army, Tom Raine Court, Whiltshire Place – Fridays 6-7pm. They provide food parcels designed to help people who are struggling get through the weekend. Information is also available on other foodbanks and homeless people are given a sleeping bag. 
  • Darlington Baptist Church, Victoria Road - Tuesdays and Thursdays 10.30am-11.45am (entry through the conservatory on the side of the church). This is an emergency food store and not intended for regular, extended use. The food store also supplies bedding, pots and pans and some clothing.

Other useful contacts and specialist advice

These organisations can give support and advice to you.