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Cost of living support in Fenland

Find out what support is available to help with the cost of living

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Feeling the pressure of rising costs? It's hard to know where to turn.

To help, we've teamed up with our energy partner PECT and Citizen's Advice Rural Cambs to ensure everyone has access to the support and guidance available. We will update this page as new advice and support becomes available.

Cost of Living Support information leaflets can be downloaded from the 'Downloads' section on the right of this page. 

On this page:

Where to turn to for advice

  • Citizens Advice Rural Cambs: Provides free, confidential help and advice with debt, money, benefits, tax credits, housing and employment. Contact 0808 278 7807 or visit their website for more information and to use their online chat service.
  • StepChange: A dedicated charity offering free, confidential debt advice and money guidance. Call 0800 138 1111 or visit their website.
  • MoneyHelper. Produced by the Government's Money and Pensions Service, MoneyHelper provides free, impartial guidance on money and pensions. Call 0800 138 7777 or visit their website.
  • National Debtline: Provides free, independent, and confidential advice about debt. Call 0808 808 4000 or visit their website.
  • Business Debtline: Run by the Money Advice Trust, Business Debtline can help those who are self-employed or have small businesses. Call 0800 197 6026 or visit their website.
  • Turn2Us: Helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services. Visit their website.
  • Christians Against Poverty (CAP): Provides free advice on debt, budgeting, job seeking and making your money go further. Visit the CAP website or call 0800 328 0006.
  • Debt Advice Foundation: A specialist debt charity offering free, confidential advice on any aspect of debt. Call 0800 043 40 50 or visit their website

Warm hubs and community spaces

Warm hubs and welcoming spaces are available at community venues across Fenland. These venues offer residents the chance to take part in community events, enjoy a meal or just relax and spend time in a warm space.

Opening hours may vary, so please check with the venue before travelling.

  • Centenary Baptist Church: High Street, March, PE15 9LB.
    The Centenary Warm Space is open in the upstairs hall of the church every Wednesday from 11.30am to 4.30pm (until 27 March 2024), for warmth, hot drinks and snacks, games and chat. More information on the Centenary Baptist Church website or by calling 01354 658289.
  • Chatteris Library: 2 Furrowfields Road, Chatteris, PE16 6DY.
    Opening hours and details of the activities and facilities available can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website or by calling 0345 045 5225.
  • Chatteris Parish Church: High Street, Chatteris, PE16 6BA. The Church is a warm hub, open every day from 9am until dusk (except Thursday due to food bank distribution).
    More information can be found on their Facebook page or by calling 01354 692173.
  • March Library: City Road, March, PE15 9LT.
    Opening hours and details of the activities and facilities available can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website or by calling 0345 045 5225.
  • North Cambridgeshire Training Centre (NCTC): 1 Engineers Way, Chatteris, PE16 6FU.
    The NCTC warm space is available every Monday from 10am to 3pm. For more information call 01354 293130.
  • The Queen Mary CentreNext to Somers Road Car Park, Wisbech, PE13 2RA.
    Opening hours and details of the activities and facilities available can be found on the Queen Mary Centre Facebook page or by calling 01945 581444.
  • Walsoken Village hall: 53 Kirkgate St, Walsoken, PE13 3QX.
    A community coffee morning is held at the hall every Tuesday from 10am to 12noon, providing a warm, friendly and safe place for residents of Walsoken and beyond. With free tea, coffee, cakes, chat and activities.
  • Whittlesey Library: 31-35 Market Street, Whittlesey, PE7 1BA.
    Opening hours and details of the activities and facilities available can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website or by calling 0345 045 5225.
  • Wisbech Child & Family Centre: The Oasis Centre, St Michaels Avenue, PE13 3NR
    This warm hub offers support for families with children aged 0-19. More information can be found on the Wisbech Child & Family Centre Facebook page or by calling 01945 428664.
  • Wisbech Library5 Ely Place, Wisbech, PE13 1EU.
    Opening hours and details of the activities and facilities available can be found on the Cambridgeshire County Council website or by calling 0345 045 5225.

Cambridgeshire Acre Community Living Rooms

  • Benwick Community Living Room: Benwick Village Hall, High Street, Benwick, March, PE15 0XG. Opens: Saturday, 9am to 1pm.
  • Christchurch Umbrella: Christchurch Community Centre, Upwell Road, Christchurch, Wisbech, PE14 9LLge Hall, High Street, Benwick, March, PE15 0XG. Opens: Alternate Wednesdays (2nd and 4th of each month) 11am to 1pm; every Thursday 1.30pm to 3.30pm; every Friday 9.30am to 11.30am.
  • Doddington Community Living Room: Doddington Church Rooms, New Street, Doddington, March, PE15 0SP. Opens: Friday, 10am to 1.30pm.
  • Manea Community Living Room: Manea Village Hall, 2-4 School Lane, Manea, March, PE15 0JN. Opens: Wednesday, 10am to 12pm.
  • (March) FACT Living Room Space: FACT, 5 Martin Avenue, March, PE15 0AY. Opens: Monday, 1pm to 3pm.
  • Wimblington Community Living Room: Wimblington Parish Hall, Addison Road, Wimblington, March, PE15 0QT. Opens: Friday, 10am to 12pm.
  • Wisbech North Coffee Morning: Oasis Centre, St Michael's Avenue, Wisbech, PE13 3NR. Opens: Monday, 10am to 12pm.

For more information visit the Cambridgeshire Acre website.

Financial support

Additional support from the Government

Cost of Living Support: Check if you are entitled to the Government's Cost of Living Support. There are different schemes available including getting extra one-off payments as well as existing benefits and schemes, such as:

Working from Home Tax Relief: You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home for all or part of the week. You can only claim for things to do with your work, such as business phone calls and gas and electricity for your work area. You cannot claim for things that you use for both private and business use, such as rent or broadband access.

Council Tax and Benefits

  • Benefits: Check if you're entitled to benefits by using a free benefits calculator. This could include Universal Credit, Disability and Carer's' benefits, Pension credit, help with childcare costs and Working from Home Allowance.
  • Council Tax Reduction/Housing Benefit: If you need help to pay your Council Tax or rent, you may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction and/or Housing Benefit. Apply online or phone 01354 654321.
  • Discretionary Housing Payments: If you rent your home and claim Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, then Discretionary Housing Payments can provide help with rent or housing costs. Apply online or phone 01354 654321.
  • Budgeting Loan: You may be eligible for a Budgeting Loan if you have been on certain benefits for six months. You will have to pay back the amount you borrow; repayments are taken automatically from your benefits. You can't get a budgeting loan if you're on Universal Credit, but you might be able to get a loan as part of your Universal Credit if you need to cover a specific expense - this is called a 'budgeting advance'. Apply online or phone 0800 169 0140 to ask for a paper form to be posted to you.
  • Hardship Payment: If you're on Universal Credit and you do not have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment, you can ask for an advance payment after you've made a claim. You can also ask for a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because you received a sanction. You need to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments - they'll be lower until you pay it back.

Help with travel costs

  • Rail travel: You could save up to a third on train fares with a railcard. If you're on Universal Credit you may be eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card for up to 50% off.
  • Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS): If you're referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs.

Help with childcare costs

  • Visit the Government's Family Support webpage for information on tax-free childcare; 30 hours free childcare; 15 hours free childcare; Child Benefit; a one-off payment of £500 for help with maternity costs.
  • Cambridgeshire Holiday Voucher Scheme (CHVS): the highly successful holiday voucher scheme currently operating in Cambridgeshire has been extended until the end of March 2024.
  • Cambridgeshire Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme: The Programme offers holiday scheme places for free during the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays to eligible primary and secondary school children and young people.
  • Family Fund: The fund provides families raising a disabled, or seriously ill, child on low incomes with wide-ranging grants for essential items. You can apply for any items that will help meet your child's additional support needs.
  • Fashion & Textile Children's Trust: Their grants fund essential items for the children of UK fashion and textile worker families who are struggling financially. They can fund school uniforms and clothing, children's bedroom furniture, essential household items and more.

Help with health costs

  • Check your eligibility for free help from the NHS for example, prescriptions, dental or glasses.
  • A Personal Health Budget (PHB) is an amount of NHS money allocated to meet your health and wellbeing needs if you are eligible to receive it. You will be able to plan your care and use your budget to buy services and equipment that best meet your needs and help you maintain your independence.
  • Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS): If you're referred to hospital or other NHS premises for specialist NHS treatment or diagnostic tests by a doctor, dentist or another primary care health professional, you may be able to claim a refund of reasonable travel costs.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund (HSF) has been created to help people who are experiencing immediate financial hardship. It helps them to pay for food and household energy bills. It is money Cambridgeshire County Council has been awarded to help those in need and those most affected by the cost of living crisis; supporting them to resolve their financial issues. It is not charity.

Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme (CLAS)

The Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme can provide information, advice and practical support and assistance in times of exceptional pressure. You may be eligible for a CLAS award, which can be in the form of supermarket vouchers, energy vouchers, new cookers, or recycled white goods and furniture. Visit the CLAS website for more information or call 0808 2787 807.

Help with energy bills

PECT Energy Advice

Fenland District Council has teamed up with energy advice organisation PECT to offer Fenland residents free help and advice on how to make their homes warmer, cheaper to run and more energy efficient. Their advice service can provide information on energy tariffs, details about grant funding for home energy improvements, and free small energy-saving measures. To take advantage of the service, call 0800 8021773 (ext. 313), or email: For more information and to use an online referral form, visit the PECT website.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund (HSF) has been created to help people who are experiencing immediate financial hardship. It helps them to pay for food and household energy bills. It is money Cambridgeshire County Council has been awarded to help those in need and those most affected by the cost of living crisis; supporting them to resolve their financial issues. It is not a charity.

Action on Energy Cambridgeshire

Through our Action on Energy scheme, run in partnership with neighbouring councils, we provide grants to help households install energy efficiency improvements and low carbon heating. 

Grants are available to homeowners, private renters and private landlords.

You may quality for funding if the following statements apply to you:

  • Your home has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F or G. You can find out if your property has an EPC rating but, if not, a survey will be carried out as part of the scheme.
  • Your home doesn't have a mains gas supply, or you don't use gas as your main source of heating, for example, you use electricity, oil, LPG or solid fuels as the main heating source for your home.
  • You have a total household annual income of £34,500 or less (before housing costs/bills) OR you receive a means-tested benefit.
  • You must also be a Cambridgeshire resident. 

You can find more information and check eligibility requirements on the Action on Energy website.

To register your interest in the grant scheme, please use the online contact form or call 01223 457340.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, households on means tested benefits with high energy use may be eligible for a one-off payment from their energy supplier. The scheme reopens for winter 2023-2024 on 16 October 2023.

Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP)

LEAP is a free advice service, offering energy tariff comparisons, installing simple energy saving measures (like LED lightbulbs and radiator reflector panels), and giving referrals to more complex energy saving measures. Book an appointment or call free 0800 060 7567.

Priority Services Register

All energy suppliers have a Priority Services Register, which is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations. Contact your energy supplier to find out more.

British Gas Energy Support Fund

If you are a British Gas customer, then you may be eligible for a grant of up to £1500. In addition to this, an Individuals & Families fund also offers grants to anyone with energy debt between £250 and £750, including those who are not British Gas customers. Information is available on the British Gas website.


Scope, the disability equality charity in England and Wales, offers free energy and water advice to disabled people, helping them to manage their energy and water needs. The service is open to any disabled person or households where 1 or more disabled people live. Call 0808 801 0828 or visit the Scope website.

Cold Weather Payments

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you're getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest. You'll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over 7 consecutive days. You'll get £25 for each 7-day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March. You do not need to apply to claim the Cold Weather Payment, it will be paid automatically. More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Energy Efficiency Tips

Small changes can make a big difference. For example:

  • Heating: Turning down your thermostat by just one degree can save you on average £116 a year.
  • Lightbulbs: Use low energy lightbulbs. Free low energy bulbs are available through PECT. To request them, email
  • Water: Set your temperature to 60 degrees centigrade and close the door when bathing or showering.
  • Kitchen: Only boil the water you need in a kettle and put lids on pans when cooking.
  • Draught-proofing: Block up unwanted gaps that let cold air in and warm air out.
  • Appliances: Turn off appliances on standby. If you are buying new appliances buy those with the best energy rating you can afford.

Further energy efficiency tips are available on the Energy Saving Trust website. They advise how you can cut down on your energy use to save money and share their quick tips.

Which? has also published 10 ways to reduce energy bills..

Help with food costs

  • Food and milk vouchers: If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four, Healthy Start can provide vouchers to help buy fruit, vegetables, and milk.
  • Free school meals:  If you are in receipt of certain benefits your child may be entitled to free school meals, saving you up to £450 per year per child. This scheme is available for school-age children and to post-16 students at a school with a sixth form or college.
  • Love Food Hate Waste can advise on how to limit food waste at home.
  • Food4Good Social Supermarket: At the social supermarket you pay by volume (e.g. fill a trolley for £10 or £5) if you have evidence of means tested benefits. Membership is either by referral through the CLAS Cambridgeshire Local Assistance Scheme, administrated by CHS or from an approved referral agent.


Foodbanks are designed to provide short-term, emergency support with food.

  • Trussell Trust foodbanks: These foodbanks provide emergency food parcels on presentation of a foodbank voucher. Fenland District Council can issue vouchers to those in need - just call 01354 654321 for more information. You can find your nearest Trussell Trust foodbank online.
  • Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid, located at the Manor Leisure Centre, Whittlesey, can also provide emergency food parcels. For more information, call 07375 143146.
  • Chatteris Foodbank, located at the Salvation Army Chatteris, East Park Street, Chatteris. Open on Mondays between 1pm and 2pm.

Community Pantries/Fridges

  • Helping Whittlesey Community Pantry: Redistributes surplus food and household items that would otherwise go to landfill. Based on the grounds of the Falcon Pub, London Street, Whittlesey. Open Thursdays from 11am-12noon and Sundays from 5.30pm-6.30pm. Not means tested and open to the whole community.
  • March Community Fridge: Redistributes surplus food that would otherwise go to landfill. Based at the FACT Community Hub, Martin Avenue, March. Open Mondays and Fridays from 10am to 12noon. Not means tested and open to the whole community.

Help with household bills


  • Water bills: If you are struggling to afford your water bill, Anglian Water's Extra Care Support Team can help, with a personalised plan to find the cheapest tariff or a flexible payment plan. For more information, visit the Anglian Water website or call 0800 169 3630.
  • Save water: Anglian Water also provides advice on how to save water, and in turn money, and you can apply for a water meter too. Visit the Anglian Water website for more information.
  • Save Money Save Water collates all the free water saving devices available from the water companies across the UK, such as aerated shower heads, which give the same shower pressure using far less water.
  • Get a water meter: A water meter may save you money. Use this water meter calculator to see if you would be better off getting a water meter installed.


  • The majority of mainstream broadband and phone companies offer discounted social tariffs to customers which receive certain benefits. For more information visit the Ofcom website.
  • It's also worth checking whether you could be on a cheaper broadband deal. Use a broadband comparison website to check if you could be on a cheaper deal.
  • Many streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video allow multiple people to use the same account. For instance, under a standard Netflix subscription for £10.99 per month, two people can watch simultaneously and up to five accounts can be added. Contact your streaming service provider for more information.

Education and Training

  • Prince's Trust: Development Awards from the Prince's Trust can cover the cost of course fees, tools or equipment for those who are in education, training or starting a new job. You must be a UK resident, aged between 16 and 30 and meet specific criteria to apply. More information is available on the Prince's Trust website

Pet Care

  • Woodgreen Pets Charity: In addition to caring for pets in their care, the Woodgreen Pets Charity offers subsidised pet care including financial support towards veterinary bills, preventative care, pet food or other essential items. Further information is available on the Turn2Us website.

Help with managing your budget


The MoneyHelper website, produced by the Government's Money and Pensions Service, provides information on a wide range of financial subjects, including:

You can also contact them for money guidance that's impartial and free to use, whether that's online or over the phone. See the Money Helper: Money Guidance page for more information.

Family Budgeting Course

Runway Training, supported by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Ofsted, runs a free Family Budgeting Course.

The online course will help you to work out a monthly budget and improve your ability to plan ahead. Everyone who completes the course will also receive a £25 shopping voucher.

For more information call Emma Pyrkos, Project Manager at Runway Training, on 01732 402402 or email

Money Saving Expert

The Money Saving Expert website contains articles and tips for saving and managing your money, including:

Please beware of loan sharks who lend money outside the legitimate agreed standards for money collection. You can report a loan shark (in confidence) online.

Support if you are in distress

  • Samaritans: Offering emotional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 for free or visit a Samaritans branch in person.
  • NHS: For urgent mental health advice (but not a 999 emergency) call 111, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Shout: If you'd prefer to text, text 'SHOUT' to 85258 for free. You'll then be connected to a Mental Health Innovations charity volunteer for an anonymous conversation by text message.
  • Age UK: Information, advice, and support for older people. Call their Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.
  • MIND: Provides help and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Call 0300 123 3393.
  • Anxiety UK: Offers support to anyone affected by anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression. Call 03444 775 774.
  • Nightline: If you're a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.

Cost of Living Support Events

We hold friendly, informal events where there's information on financial and benefit support, how to manage money and reduce household bills and where to get mental health support.

Look out for details of the next event here.

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