Here2Help - help with money and essentials

Use the links below to check what benefits and financial support you are entitled to and what advice is available.

Children and families

If you are struggling to pay for clothing and toiletries for your children, the Children’s Storehouse is available to help.

They can provide quality, pre-loved clothing for babies, children, and young people up to the age of 18. They may also be able to provide bedding, books, and toys.

How to get help

If you are a family in need please call:

  • our Community Advice Hubs on 0121 709 7590
  • Citizen’s Advice Solihull on 0121 779 6707

They will be able to assess your needs and make a referral to the Children’s Storehouse.

If you need help paying for a school uniform please contact:

Grants for families facing financial hardship while caring for a child with a serious illness.

From funding specialist equipment and creative therapies to hospital travel expenses.

For further information, see Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

Community support

CAB provide free, confidential and impartial advice. You may have money, benefit, housing or employment problems. You may be facing  a crisis, or just considering your options Their goal is to help everyone find a way forward, whatever problem they face.

CAB Solihull is an independent charity and part of the Citizens Advice network across England and Wales.

Call: 08082 787 976

The Specialist Advice line is open Monday to Friday between 10am to 2.30pm

The Office is open for advice on the day every Tuesday and Friday, between 10am and 2.30pm

Visit the website for locations and opening times.

You can also visit the CAB Solihull Charity Shop located at:

176 Bosworth Drive
Chelmsley Wood
B37 5DZ

Open every Tuesday and Thursday 10.00am to 3.00pm

Our Community Advice Hubs in Chelmsley Wood Library and Solihull Connect at The Core in Solihull town centre are available Monday to Friday to discuss and support you or the person you care for.

What our hubs can help with

Our Community Advice Hubs bring together a partnership of local organisations to provide you with high quality information, advice and support, such as:

  • care in and out of the home
  • disability and long-term conditions
  • mental and physical health
  • learning disability
  • benefits and grants
  • direct payments
  • debt and money problems
  • general health and wellbeing
  • leisure, clubs, activities and exercise
  • employment
  • legal problems
  • energy efficiency
  • filling out forms

How to get help from the Hubs

To ask for help from our Community Advice Hubs you must be over 18 years old and live permanently in Solihull.

You can see when drop-in sessions are available at the Community Advice Hubs website.

To contact the hubs or book an appointment:

You can visit the hubs with a friend, family member, or your carer. Carers can also visit the hubs for face-to-face information and advice from the highly trained staff.

Grants and payments

Charitable funds can include:

  • Help to complete a benefit calculation
  • Help to find grants
  • Help to find an adviser to assist with benefits, debt, housing & legal issues
  • Webchat for support with our tools

You can search for available funds by visiting www.turn2us.org.uk or call 0808 802 2000.

You may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits.

You could get up to 3 different types of payment depending on your circumstances on a particular date or during a particular period:

  • a Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying low income benefit or tax credits
  • a Disability Cost of Living Payment, if you get a qualifying disability benefit
  • a Pensioner Cost of Living Payment, if you’re entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment for winter 2022 to 2023

Visit the Gov.uk website for more information.

DCF is a final safety net if you are experiencing a crisis and cannot resolve your financial difficulties any other way.

DCF provides essential household items for people in urgent need. It does not provide cash or loans.

Further information and online application form.

An advance of funds, designed to help people with short term need (for example, waiting for their first benefit payment or following a change of circumstances). The advance is then repaid over a short period of time. Please contact the Department for Work and Pensions:

  • Employment Support Allowance/Job Seekers Allowance (ESA/JSA): 0800 169 0310
  • Carers Allowance: 0800 731 0297
  • State Retirement Pension/Pension Credit: 0800 731 0469
  • Universal Credit: 0800 328 5644

Or go to www.gov.uk/short-term-benefit-advance.

Help paying the bills

The Big Difference Scheme can help customers who are in receipt of a low income and struggling to pay their water charges. If eligible for the scheme, you could receive up to 90% off the average Severn Trent water bill.

The scheme is open to all Severn Trent Water customers who are in receipt of a low income.

If you have a child who is eligible for income based free school meals, please apply to the scheme.

How to apply

You can apply with Severn Trent.

Apply for the Big Difference Fund

If you are out of work, on reduced pay or on a low income, you may be eligible for a council tax reduction.

If you are  experiencing severe financial hardship or have experienced a crisis or event through no fault of your own and you have claimed any statutory exemption or discount that is available, you may also be eligible for a council tax discretionary reduction in liability.

If you receive Housing benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs and need help with your rent you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing payment.

This could help if your Housing Benefit / Universal Credit (Housing Costs element) does not cover your rent, or if you need help with a one-off cost.

Apply for a Discretionary Housing payment 

Although most NHS treatment is free, there is usually a charge for NHS prescriptions and other services and items such as:

  • NHS dental check-ups and treatment
  • sight tests
  • new glasses or contact lenses
  • repairing or replacing glasses or contact lenses
  • NHS wigs
  • NHS fabric supports - things like surgical bras, support tights and spinal supports
  • travel for NHS treatment

You could be entitled to help with these costs depending on your circumstances.

Check what help you could get to pay for NHS costs

If you're in debt

There are many sources of money advice and debt counselling.

Independent and free money and debt advice

National Debtline

Telephone 0808 808 4000 Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm, Sat 9.30am to 1pm Visit the National Debtline website

StepChange Debt Charity

Call 0800 138 1111 (Freephone including all mobiles) or visit the StepChange website.

This national charity gives free advice on:

  • managing debt
  • individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs)
  • applying for the Breathing Space scheme, a government scheme which could help relieve some of the pressure and stress caused by being in debt

It also runs a free online debt advice service that's available 24 hours a day and can help you to create a personal action plan. 

The Money Advice Service

Free and impartial money advice, set up by government.

Telephone 0800 138 7777 (Calls are free)

Visit the Money Advice Service website

  • Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
  • Saturday, 9am to 1pm
  • Sunday and Bank Holidays, closed

Citizens Advice Solihull Borough

Citizens Advice gives confidential advice on benefits, benefit assessment and debt. You can also get referred to this service via any GP Surgery.

Telephone 08082 787976 to find out more about the services available

You can also go to the CAB website.

Solihull Community Housing money advice team

Useful information and tools available on the Solihull Community Housing website.

Community Advice Hubs

Our Community Advice Hubs provide support with debt and applying for benefits to residents who are not a tenant of Solihull Community Housing..

To contact the hubs or book an appointment:

Stop Loan Sharks investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders and provides support for borrowers in the UK. 

If you have borrowed from a loan shark or are worried about someone else, their specially trained staff will provide you with emotional and practical support that is tailored to your needs.

Call 24/7 on 0300 555 2222 or start a Live Chat on the website at www.stoploansharks.co.uk

Managing your budget

A financial not-for-profit co-operative, Advance Credit Union is ‘owned’ by the 5,000 members who save and borrow with the credit union. Unlike a conventional bank, a Credit Union is run by the people who use it. Anyone who lives or works within a ‘B’ postcode including Birmingham and Solihull Borough can join.

Offering a convenient and safe way to put some money away for the future and a cost-effective way to borrow ethically and responsibly.

In addition to savings and loans Advance Credit Union offers a variety of other services:

The Gov.UK website has an online tool to help you find the benefits and financial support you might be eligible for. Visit the website

Use a budget planner to see where your money goes and to help you manage your personal finances

Check out these budget planners to help you take control of your finances.

MoneyHelper budget planner

Money Helper's budget planner puts you in control of your household spending and analyses your results to help you take control of your money. MoneyHelper also has a useful Beginner’s guide to managing your money

National Debtline budget tool

The National Debtline budget tool will help you work out a detailed personal budget. You can then see how much you have left over and this will help you work out the best way to deal with your debts.

MoneySavingExpert budget planner

The MoneySavingExpert budget planner focuses on the way people spend in the real-world to help you assess your finances.

Finding Your Way Forward - Four on-line tools to help people who:

Get help with savings if you’re on a low income, Help to Save is a type of savings account. It allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years.

The scheme is available to people who are:

  • entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving payments for Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit
  • claiming Universal Credit and have a household income - in their last monthly assessment period - of £604.56 or more

Help to Save account holders can save up to £50 a month in their account. They will receive a 50% bonus on their highest balance after 2 years and a further bonus after 4 years if they continue to save.

People who want to take part should apply online via the how to apply page at GOV.UK.

For further information, see  Help to Save at GOV.UK.

  • Money Manager for Universal Credit Claimants - an online tool claimants can use to help manage their finances.
  • Money Adviser Network - This provision is for the claimant to to self-refer into regulated debt advice. Regulated debt advice is provided either by phone or digitally from Citizens Advice, Step Change or National Debt line. Work coaches must not complete the referral process on behalf of the claimant.
  • Debt advice locator - This tool allows claimants to access sources of debt advice, and gives them options of telephone, face-to-face and online providers.
  • Money navigator tool - For money worries due to coronavirus. The Money Navigator can gives guidance based on an individual’s particular situation.
  • Budget planner - to get in control of household spending and see where money is going.

Support if you work or have previously worked in the grocery industry

Provides financial assistance to those who currently working in the UK grocery industry and can evidence a minimum of one year’s service or more and those who no longer working in the grocery industry, but previously worked in it for five years or more:

For further information, see GroceryAid website