Help with the cost of living

This page has details of support available from Harrow Council, the Government, companies and charities.

Below you will find information to help with:


Household Support Fund

The Council's Household Support Fund may be able to help through:

  • Help Harrow: Access to food supplies as well as advice on energy, health, wellbeing and benefits
  • Application Scheme: One-off payments that qualifying households can apply for
  • Vouchers for Low-income Households: The council will contact eligible households who will be sent a voucher
  • Free School Meals during the Holidays: Vouchers will be given to vulnerable households 

Find out more about the Household Support Fund

Check your benefit entitlement

Find out if you are entitled to receive any benefits from either the government or the council by using our benefits calculator.

After you have entered your details, the calculator will tell you how to claim any benefits you are not already receiving.

It will also work out the amount you should receive, so that you can check if you should be receiving a different rate.

Check your benefit entitlement

If you receive benefits, you may automatically get Cost of Living Support Payments from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Help with gas, electricity and water

Help with energy bills

Through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF), His Majesty’s Government is providing support of £400 for energy bills for households without a direct relationship to a domestic electricity supplier. 

If you use alternative fuels such as heating oil, biomass and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as the main source of heating and have not received an Alternative Fuel Payment from your provider, you may qualify for a £200 award.  

These schemes are open to eligible households until 31 May 2023.

For more information including how to apply, go to the GOV.UK website and input ‘Apply for energy bill support if you do not get it automatically’ into the search bar.

Winter fuel payments

If you were born on or before 25 September 1956 you could get between £250 and £600 to help you pay your heating bills. For more details see Winter Fuel Payment.

Water tariffs

You may qualify for a lower water tariff if you are:

  • in receipt of certain benefits or have a household income below £16,480
  • have a water meter and consume more water due to having a large family or medical condition

Find out more from Affinity Water

Warm Hubs

Warm Hubs are warm, safe places where residents can expect a friendly and inclusive welcome. People can come along on their own, or with a friend, and talk to others over a hot drink.

Find Warm Hubs in Harrow

Energy efficiency

View our tips for all residents on Energy Saving Advice.

Further information is also available from the Energy Saving Trust.

Seasonal Health Intervention Network (SHINE)

Harrow Council has teamed up with SHINE, the Seasonal Health Intervention Network. SHINE is a fuel poverty referral network and free energy advice service for Londoners who are over 60, on a low income, have a disability or long term illness, or have children.

For further details visit

Help with the cost of housing

If you are struggling with the cost of housing, you should first check that you are receiving the correct amount of benefits using the Entitlement Calculator.

After checking you are receiving the correct benefits, if you are still struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

If you think are are going to become homeless, please read our information on What to do if you think you will be homeless.

For help with mortgage payments see Mortgage arrears advice

Help to get food


We have put together a List of local foodbanks.


Help Harrow provides residents with access to food supplies as well as advice and information, on topics such as energy, health, wellbeing and benefits. Help Harrow allows residents in need of food to make food requests online. 
This winter, Help Harrow will also be opening ‘Warm hubs’ across the borough, more information will be added to this webpage soon. Help Harrow will also distribute ‘Winter Warmth Packs’, containing items such as, gloves, scarves, hats and blankets, to residents who may be struggling to pay their energy bills.

To find out more about the services they provide visit

Free school meals

If you have a child aged between 5 and 18 attending a school in Harrow, find out if you qualify for Free School Meals.

Healthy Start Card

If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get Help to buy healthy food and milk.

Hardship fund scheme

The hardship fund scheme is for qualifying residents in extreme emergency situations. It provides awards of between £10 and £100 so long as this need cannot be met elsewhere.

Find out more about the Hardship fund scheme.

Children and Young People

Young Harrow Foundation

A website signposting people to services, particularly aimed at families or carers that have children and young people in their household.

To find support, visit

Help with paying for childcare

A number of support schemes are available depending on the age and needs of your child, and your income. For details see Childcare and Early Years.

School uniforms and PE kits

If your child attends a school in Harrow and you would like to apply for a school clothing grant, you will need to contact the school directly to make an application. For more information on how to do this see Help with the cost of school clothing.

School travel grants

Follow the links below to find out about:

Council Tax

If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Council Tax Support. Find out by using the Entitlement calculator.

You should also check if you qualify for any discounts or exemptions depending on if the residents in your household meet certain criteria. For a full list see Council Tax discounts and exemptions.

Debt advice and financial support

We have put together a list of organisations that offer Debt advice and financial support

Training and employment

Xcite is a free training and employment programme for people in Harrow. We provide a full range of support to help Harrow residents back into work.

Find out more about the Xcite programme

Mental health and wellbeing

You can find wellbeing tips and a list of mental health support services on our Mental Health and Wellbeing page.

You can find free activities to support your wellbeing at: