Saving money

Financial Wellbeing

Times are hard for people and many in our communities are experiencing financial distress, particularly those on low incomes. Together in Sussex are empowering people around financial wellbeing by focusing on the important topic of Financial Wellbeing.

Many of us are facing daily challenges relating to the coronavirus epidemic – both in terms of health but also in terms of finance, job security, housing, and caring responsibilities. Together in Sussex has a vision of a fair financial system and addresses the issues of financial exclusion, distress caused by unmanageable money worries and debt.

We organise sessions to provide information and resources about budgeting and money management, and to help build their financial confidence.

Cost of living

The Cost of Living Crisis

We have compiled a list of resources deigned to help families and households manage their money and make more economical choices about things such as bills and grocery shopping as the Cost of Living Crisis continues to increase prices and impact our everyday lives. You can access that page here.

Universal Credit

Currently, anyone making a new benefits claim or reporting a change of circumstances, for example, a change in employment, will move to Universal Credit. Eventually, existing benefits claimants will also move to Universal Credit. Universal Credit replaces six in work and out of work benefits:

• Income Support

• Child Tax Credit

• Working Tax Credit

• Housing Benefit

• Income Based ESA

• Income Based JSA Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will continue to be paid along with Universal Credit payments.

Universal Credit does not replace contribution-based JSA & ESA.

Changes to Universal Credit involve the way the benefits are claimed and paid. It is helpful for potential claimants to understand these in advance so that they can prepare.

1. Online applications only: Claims are digital by default requiring applicants to set up an online account. The site is only in English and a claim is only ‘live’ once submitted. In exceptional cases, a phone application may be possible.

2. A bank, building society, or credit union account: Claimants will need an account that is not overdrawn and may need to open a new account to have their payments paid into. If necessary, this can be a basic bank account or a Post Office card account. There is also the option for the first payment to go into a third party’s account (usually one payment only), to give more time to set up a new account.

3. Budgeting monthly: Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears meaning claimants won’t get their money straight away and may need to consider an Advance Payment

4. Paying your rent to your landlord: As Universal Credit includes housing support the recipient is responsible for paying their landlord. People moving from Housing Benefit onto Universal Credit will get 2 weeks’ further rent payments after they claim, paid to them or their landlord. In exceptional circumstances, DWP may consider Alternative Payment Arrangements. Claimants can request an Alternative Payment Arrangement at any point during a Universal Credit claim if they can show that the standard arrangement carries a risk of financial harm to them and/or their family.

There are three options that APAs can offer:

  • Managed Payment: Paying the housing element of Universal Credit directly to a landlord.
  • Changing the payments so that they are more frequent (usually twice a month)
  • Split Payments: Arranging for some of the money to go to each partner

5. One monthly joint payment: Partners who live together and are both eligible for Universal Credit have to make a joint application but will have separate interviews. They will receive just one payment and may need to set up a joint bank account. If they have children they will have to nominate the lead carer who will receive the payment.

Applying for Universal Credit - step-by-step 1.

1. Register for an account online:

2. Complete the online application and remember to SUBMIT it so that your claim is registered

3. Contact your local Jobcentre Plus within 7 days to make an appointment with a work coach

4. Attend an interview with a work coach at Jobcentre Plus. This is sometimes called a ‘work search interview’ or ‘claimant commitment interview’. You can bring someone along to the interview - just let the Jobcentre know in advance.

5. Meet regularly with your work coach who will support you as you look for work.

Citizens Advice ‘Help to Claim’ is still available via 0800 144 8 444 and online -

How to get a personal loan 1584033069

Credit Unions: Loans and Borrowing Money

A credit union is a financial co-operative which provides savings, loans and a range of services to its members in ethical, affordable loan payments. If you are interested in credit unions, you might find some helpful information on our website here: information on credit unions and debt

The Money Advice Service - Helpful Resources

The Coronavirus outbreak was an incredibly stressful period because although it was a health-based emergency, it then became a financial-based emergency too. It taught us that the more you can do now to plan ahead will save you time and energy – and importantly, money– when you might not be feeling at your best.

The Money Advice Service has published guidance on how to deal with financial issues.

Their guides include topics such as:

Living Wage Appeal

The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate based on the cost of living. It is voluntarily paid by over 14,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs - like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.

Over 460,000 employees have received a pay rise as a result of the Living Wage campaign and we enjoy cross-party support. We have a broad range of employers accredited with the Foundation including half of the FTSE 100 and big household names including Nationwide, Google, LUSH, Everton FC and Chelsea FC, as well as thousands of SMEs.

The Living Wage rates for 2023-24 were announced on the 24th October 2023. Employers will then have 6 months until May 1st to implement them.

- Taken from The Living Wage website

Available External Grants

Funding of up to £5,000 Available to Tackle Problems within Families (UK)

Registered charities whose activities support and encourage the family to work as a cohesive unit in tackling problems that face one or more of its members can apply for grants of up to £5,000 (but trustees will consider requests for higher amounts) through the Kelly Family Charitable Trust.

The Trust will consider both capital and revenue grants. The Trust is happy to support requests for core funding as well as project-based grants, and actively encourages applications from relatively new organisations to help them become established.

The three areas of activity that the charity wishes to support are:

  • Interventions that support families and help them in ways that prevent the fracture of the family unit, eg. practical family support, relationship counselling, mediation.
  • Families where sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and drug abuse threaten the integrity of the family unit.
  • Prisoners and in particular their families, during and after the period of imprisonment.
  • The trust prefers to support charities whose income is below £500,000. However, larger charities with pioneering pilot projects will be considered.

Grants are awarded twice a year and the last closing date for applications was the 1st March 2024.