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

Council tenants

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.

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.

For more information visit the 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]

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 filling in 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 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 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:
FRADE (01325 357379)
Kings Church Darlington [external link]

Finding a job

The Morrison Trust [external link] is a local charity that supports unemployed people 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,
  • are not currently accessing the work programme
  • live in Darlington

We can refer you to the trust.

Claiming the right benefits

Each year more than 26 million pounds of benefits goes 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].

The National Debtline [external link] has a useful tool to help you take control of your debts.

Follow these 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

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

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

Citizens Advice Darlington administers crisis assessments and community care support.

Requests for Crisis Assessments

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

The telephone line operates from 10:00am to 16:00 daily (except for bank holidays).

No access to a phone?

You can use the phone in the Darlington Citizens Advice office between 10:00 - 16:00.

Community Care Support

Applications 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].

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]. Locations and times you can access foodbanks delivered by King's Church.
  • Salvation Army, Thompson Street East.
  • The Basement, Darlington Baptist Church. A 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 8:00-18:00 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. Open Fridays 18:00-19:00. They provide food parcels to help people who are struggling get through the weekend. Information is also available on other foodbanks. Homeless people can get a sleeping bag.
  • Darlington Baptist Church, Victoria Road. Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30-11:45am (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.