Where to get support if you're struggling to pay bills

Centrica has reignited controversy over high energy bills by announcing a 44% increase in first half

Citizens Advice Ipswich and Anglia Care Trust are offering advice ahead of a challenging winter for many - Credit: PA

Amid warnings of a difficult winter for thousands of households in Ipswich, where can those struggling to pay bills go to get help and support? 

Our There With You This Winter campaign recognises the financial challenges you face during the cold winter months, aiming to raise awareness and provide support to those struggling. 

A spokesman from Citizens Advice Ipswich said that the best route to get help with any concerns was the Suffolk advice and support service helpline on 0800 068 3131. 

They said: "Contacting us through our main helpline allows us to triage and distribute enquiries to the right departments, whether it's someone worried about debt or low-income support."

Citizens Advice Ipswich can offer support with grants and discounts -- including the Surviving Winter grant for Suffolk residents over the age of 63, and the Warm Home Discount for eligible low-income households. 

Energy advisers can also give advice on reducing energy consumption, draught-proofing, checking tariff rates for other utilities such as water and broadband and arranging an independent surveyor to discuss home improvements. 

Nicky Willshere, chief executive of Citizens Advice Ipswich, has warned about the problems of more p

Nicky Willshere, chief executive of Citizens Advice Ipswich, has warned about the problems of more people falling into rent arrears. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Information for anyone looking for additional support: 

  • For tips on reducing energy consumption and saving energy visit Quick tips to save energy at home - Energy Saving Trust 
  • If on a standard tariff, prepayment meter or a fixed tariff due to expire shortly, the government’s energy price cap means that prices are fixed until April. To compare energy deals, use the Citizens Advice Energy Comparison tool 
  • From November 2021, Suffolk residents who were 63 years or older on May 2020 can apply for a Surviving Winter grant. Those who received a payment last year will automatically receive an application form. These are sent in batches, based on when you received last year’s payment. For general enquires call 01473 298 634 or email survivingwinter@ipswichcab.org.uk
  • For tips on DIY draught-proofing visit quick tips to save energy at home - Energy Saving Trust
  • For Suffolk residents or those who privately rent their property, Warm Homes Healthy People can arrange an independent surveyor to visit and discuss energy efficiency improvements in the home. Grants can be accessed for free loft insulation and basic draught-proofing. For more information visit Warm Homes Healthy People - Healthy Suffolk
  • Check prices/tariffs for other utilities including water and broadband. Anglian Water offer discounted tariffs for low-income households. Contact the Extra Care team on 0800 232 1963 to find the best tariff. BT have also recently launched a new social tariff ‘Home Essentials Plan’ offering tariffs from £15 a month for low-income households. Visit BT Home Essentials Broadband for more information. 

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Anglia Care Trust (ACT) also takes referrals for those needing financial help, with money advisors on hand to work one-to-one to create a plan with a person in need. 

ACT money advisers will share tips on switching energy suppliers, how to save energy and reduce fuel bills and general food advice on shopping and making savings in the supermarket.

Two shoppers wearing facemasks in a supermarket

Anglia Care Trust can offer advice on how to cut down bills in general, including for food shopping - Credit: PA

Some practical ways of saving energy offered by the charity include switching off lights, sockets and appliances when not in use and only running washing machines or dishwashers when they're full, using energy-efficient programmes.

Jane Simpson, CEO of ACT, said: "Our team's advice to everyone is to tackle money worries early - never bury your head in the sand and let things build up; problems are always easier to solve the earlier they're tackled. 

"No-one should face a choice between heating their home or buying food.  

"We work with people from all walks of life and people with a huge range of financial difficulties. Some people have high levels of personal debt and we help them to maximise their income and offer advice around budgeting and money management." 

ACT also offers help for those in immediate need of assistance, with food parcels, emergency grants and fuel vouchers available. Contact the trust at 01473 622888 or admin@angliacaretrust.org.uk. 

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