Stay healthy and warm this winter

Support for families

As the cost of living increases and the colder months continue, we know that some families 
will be feeling the financial strain. To support families during this time, a range of programmes and funding packages have been made available. 

Local Support Payments 

If you are in urgent need of support, you may be eligible for a Local Support Payment. We can also consider store vouchers for food. This is a discretionary scheme and decisions are based on each individual case.

You can claim for a Local Support Payment if you:

  • Are claiming a qualifying benefit, or are about to claim one because you are leaving care or an institution such as hospital or prison.
  • Live in Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea or Westminster, or have been housed elsewhere by one of these boroughs, in temporary accommodation.
  • Do not have too much in savings and have had an event or crisis. We can only consider two awards/crisis events in any 12 months.

The Local Support Payment phone line, 020 7745 6464 is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, you can apply online for Local Support Payments.

If you do not qualify for a Local Support Payment, we have compiled a list of other help and advice services.

Free School Meals 

Throughout the winter holidays, children on free school meals will receive £20 per week food vouchers to ensure they remain well fed while away from their usual school dinners. This is an increase of £5 per week from last year. Vouchers will be provided to children via their schools and can be spent at supermarkets. 

Hot meals are also available through the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme that runs over Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays. The Government-funded initiative provides free activities and food for children aged four to 16 who are eligible for free school meals. Parents with children on free school meals are encouraged to register for a HAF place during the winter holidays to help their youngsters remain active and entertained, and to ensure they receive a free meal in a warm environment.

A huge range of activities and events to join in with are all catalogued on the Our City website, where you can register your child’s place.

Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit

If you get Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit and are more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child aged under four, you might be entitled to help to buy healthy food and milk with a Healthy Start Mastercard.

The card is preloaded with money on it that can be spent on cow’s milk, infant milk formula, fruit and vegetables. The card is loaded with money each month, and the amount you get will be based on how many children you have and how old they are. You can find out more by visiting the NHS Healthy Start website.

Mental health and wellbeing support for young people

We appreciate that there may be more than just financial strain caused by the rising cost of living, with mental health also being impacted. There is a broad range of services available to support children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. Visit the Kensington and Chelsea Family Information Service website and select ‘Emotional wellbeing support for young people’ to see what services are available, who they are aimed at and how you can access them.

Thrive’s ‘Getting Through This Together’ service also has been developed in response to the increased cost of living pressures. It aims to encourage Londoners to strengthen their social networks with family members and friends, and trusted others in their community. It also highlights the professional support and advice services which are available. Visit the Thrive LDN website

Last updated: 23 February 2023