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Seven little-known ways to get free cash up to £2,400 if you’re struggling with energy and food bills

THOUSANDS of households can get up to £2,400 in free cash if they’re struggling with bills or food costs.

Charities often divvy out money to those in need through targeted grants.

Stack of pound coins on financial figures balance sheet

In October, the Royal British Legion announced it would be offering vets £2,400 to help for emergency costs.

Plus, there’s a number of government schemes available to help support people financially, like the Household Support Fund.

It comes as food and energy bills rack up for millions amidst the cost of living crisis.

Below, we list seven of the little-known ways you can get help to cover soaring food prices and energy bills.


The charity has made cash grants worth up to £350 available to those living with cancer.

The money comes via the Financial Grants scheme, which has already dished out millions since the start of the year.

The grants are to help support those living with cancer who are struggling to cover essential living costs.

But there are other criteria as well – the following need to apply for someone to be eligible:

  • You have no more than £6,000 in savings for a household of one person or no more than £8,000 for a household of two or more people
  • You have a weekly income of no more than £323 per week for a household of one person or no more than £442 per week for a household of two or more people.

Those receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or Attendance Allowance (AA) payments won’t be eligible for the grants.

To apply you can call 0808 808 00 00, or you can speak to one of your healthcare team, like a district nurse or Macmillan nurse, care professional or benefits adviser who can fill in the form with you online.

If your application is approved you’ll get the payment directly into your bank account or by cheque.

Royal British Legion

The charity, which supports those who have served in the armed forces, is offering emergency grants worth up to £2,400 a year to veterans and their families to help with energy bills.

The charity has not yet confirmed how many people are eligible for the help.

However, you must have served, or be serving, in the armed forces, which includes roles in the:

  • Royal Navy
  • British Army
  • Royal Air Force

Families, dependents and carers of those who have served in the armed forces can also get the help on top of the veterans.

This includes households with children and those with long-term illness and disabilities.

We’ve contacted the RBL to find out who specifically is eligible for the grants and will update this story when we know more.

But for more information and to apply, you can head to the charity’s website.

Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund was first set up by the government in November 2021 to help those most in need with the cost of food, energy, water bills and other essential costs.

It’s a central pot of money that’s been portioned out to local councils who then decide how to allocate it.

That means whether you’re eligible, and how much you might get will depend on where you live.

For example, in Shropshire, the council is giving out £180 to thousands of households.

But residents in Nottinghamshire are being offered £100 in the form of vouchers to pay for energy bills, food and essentials.

In some cases, like in Shropshire, councils are contacting customers to let them know they’re eligible for help through the fund.

But, in other cases, you might have to contact your council.

Your best best is to figure out what council area you fall under by using the government’s council locator tool and then see what you might be entitled to by checking online.

Energy suppliers

A number of energy suppliers offer customers targeted support if they’re struggling to pay for their bills.

In October, British Gas confirmed it will pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750.

And the British Gas Energy Trust pays hard-up households up to £1,500 if you’re under financial strain.

And you don’t even have to be a British Gas customer to be eligible for the scheme.

If you’re not with British Gas and you want to know what’s on offer, you can check on their website, or here:

How much you’ll be entitled to and how to apply will depend on your energy company.

There’s also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you pay for your energy through a prepayment meter.

Welfare assistance

Most local councils run their own welfare assistance schemes for households on low incomes or who are dealing with a crisis.

Grants can sometimes be worth up to £1,000.

But, like the Household Support Fund, exactly what you’ll be entitled to will depend on where you live as councils decide what they’re offering.

Who can apply for help with vary depending on local authority as well.

Again, if you don’t know what local council area you fall under, you can find out by using the government’s locator tool.

Greggs Foundation Hardship Fund

The bakery chain offers families in need help through its Gregg Foundation Hardship Fund.

Unfortunately, the scheme is only available to households in North-East England, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Durham and Teesside.

Households can get help to buy a number of items, including appliances, flooring baby equipment and supermarket vouchers worth £100 per family.

Applications have to be made on behalf of individuals from recognised social organisations such as charities registered with the Charity Commission, housing associations and social services acting on behalf of a family or individual in need.

So to get help through the scheme you don’t have to do anything and will be contacted if you’re eligible.

To find charities near you offering hardship grants you can use Turn2US’ grant search tool on its website.

Trussell Trust food banks

Trussell Trust operates over 1,200 food bank centres across the UK.

If you’re on a low income and struggling to afford groceries, you can apply for help through your nearest one.

But you’ll usually need to get a referral before you can use it.

You can get a referral for yourself and any family members you live with by contacting your nearest Citizens Advice centre.

They’ll usually make an appointment for you to discuss your situation with an adviser first.

Plus, they can also check if you should be getting any benefits you’re not currently claiming and are entitled to.

If you are eligible, you’ll be handed a voucher to take to your nearest food bank which can be exchanged for a food parcel.

Outside of energy grants and food help, millions of households should already have started receiving the £400 energy rebate from the government.

For the full list, you can read our guide.

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