Help in a crisis

Services near me

Help in a crisis

A crisis can occur for lots of different reasons – benefit delays, losing a job, an unexpected bill or gradually things getting more difficult until no longer you feel you can cope. If you don’t have enough money to feed, clothe or keep warm there is help available. There is no need to struggle alone.

Check out the information below on various help available to you in your area.

You can also find more information in our Bills and Debt pages

Here is a 2 page Money Help in Cambridgeshire Checklist that you can use to help yourself or others.

Emergency helplines

Are you feeling stressed, worried or experiencing feelings you can’t manage? Talking to someone who will listen and won’t judge and will help you through is vital. All of the below are free phone helplines:

Samaritans call 116 123    Available 365 days a year 24 hours a day

NHS call 111 and press option 2 for a 24 hour service for people in a mental health crisis living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Lifeline 0808 808 2121  7-11pm 7 days a week


Food and Foodbanks

Foodbanks provide an emergency supply of at least 3 days food. Getting help from a foodbank is straightforward and they support many people every year. To get your food you need a foodbank voucher – these are given out by frontline professionals who are experienced in providing support.

How to get help from a foodbank

  1. Get in touch with your nearest foodbank – Either by telephone or email and explain your situation. The foodbank will be able to tell you which referral agencies they work with in your area and how you can get a voucher.

Find your nearest foodbank through the Trussell Trust

Information about local foodbanks downloadable as a pdf

  1. Arrange a visit to the referral agency recommended by the foodbank – many different community organisations provide foodbank vouchers – Children’s Centres, Citizens Advice, Housing Associations. They will listen to your situation and provide a foodbank voucher if appropriate. They are also very likely to be able to offer you additional help and ideas.
  2. 3. Take the voucher to your nearest foodbank centre – Once at the foodbank, you will be met by trained volunteers who will sit down with you to discuss your situation and provide a food parcel.

Please note that you must have a food voucher in order to receive help from the foodbank.

If you live in Cambridge city and need emergency food, you can use this tool from Cambridge Sustainable Food


Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund (HSF) has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food and household energy bills.

In March 2022 the Government announced that councils would be provided with funding to continue operating the Household Support Fund because of the impact of the rising costs of living. 


Cambridgeshire has been allocated £3.58million, of which £1.2m will be used to support households that include a person who has reached state pension age (66) by 30 September 2022 and are experiencing financial hardship.  

Up to date information on applying for the Household Support Fund can be found via the links below

Cambridgeshire Household Support Fund

Peterborough Household Support Fund

If you or someone in your household was born before 30 September 1956 and are experiencing hardship you can also call Age UK on 01223 221929 to access financial support within a few days.


Support from your council

To find out what is available locally such as help with shopping, getting your medication, or some phone or online contact, contact your local District Council or County Council.

For Cambridgeshire County Council click here

For Norfolk County Council click here 

For Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council click here

For Peterborough City Council click here

For Fenland District Council click here

For Huntingdonshire District Council click here

For South Cambridgeshire District Council click here

For Cambridge City Council click here 

For East Cambridgeshire click here


Benefits help you are entitled to

Benefits check – Always do a benefits check regularly to make sure you are receiving all the help you are entitled to.  You can do this yourself online at turn2us

Universal Credit – if you have just applied for Universal Credit it can take 6-7 weeks for your first payment to come through. To help with this you can request a Universal Credit Advance payment. This is a loan and you will have to pay it back but it can be helpful.

You can request a Universal Credit Advance payment at your first interview with the JobCentre or if you have already applied by calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723 (8am- 6pm weekdays – calls will be charged). If you do not have money for a phone call ask to use a phone at your Jobcentre.

Budgeting loan – if you have been on certain benefits for at least 6 months you can apply for a budgeting loan from the DWP. This is an interest free loan to help with a wide range of different costs.

For more information go to the website

Discretionary housing payments

This is support from your local district council to help meet housing costs. It is short term help to give you time to work out a solution to problems you may be experiencing. To find out more about these payments contact your local district council offices.

Cambridge City

East Cambridgeshire



Kings Lynn


South Cambridgeshire



Grant help

Many different organisations provide money to help meet the cost of bills and expenses that you cannot afford.

Most grants need to be applied for by a frontline worker. We have compiled a list if grant giving organisations that work nationally and locally with details of the support available.

The list can be downloaded here:

Grants for individuals in need

Please note this is a long document and it might be easier to read if you save and print.

You could also try:

For grants for people with a disability click here



Citizens Advice



Advice line Freephone 0808 278 7808 Mon-Fri 9-5

66 Devonshire Road Cambridge CB1 2BL



Advice line Freephone 0808 278 7807 Mon-Fri 9:30-3:30

70 Market Street Ely CB7 4LS

Pathfinder House St Mary’s Street Huntingdon PE29 3TN

CAB Portacabin Tan Yard Car Park St Neots PE19 1AN

9 Church Mews Wisbech  PE13 1HL



Advice line Freephone 0808 278 7850 Mon-Fri 9-4

16-17 St Mark’s Street Peterborough  PE1 2TU



Advice line Freephone 0800 144 8848

Hanse House South Quay KINGS LYNN  PE30 5GN