Welfare - money and debt

If you are worried about money, you can contact Citizens Advice. They can give you free advice on debt, benefits, employment and housing problems, and make sure you're getting all the support you're entitled to.

Visit the Citizens Advice website or call your local office:

  • Allerdale - 01900 604735
  • Barrow - 0808 278 7817
  • Carlisle and Eden - 03300 563037
  • Copeland and Whitehaven - 01946 693321 
  • Millom - 01229 772395
  • South Lakeland - 03444 111444 for new enquiries; 015394 46464 for new debt and ongoing enquiries

Cumbria Law Centre can offer free legal advice on housing, debt, employment and welfare benefits to those on low incomes. Call 01228 515129.

If you've lost your job or had your hours reduced then you might be able to claim benefits.

Many people miss out because they don't know what they're entitled to.

You can check this using online tools, or if you prefer to talk to someone, you can contact The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service who can talk you through the early stages of making a claim and make sure you're claiming the right benefits; call 0800 144 8444 to find out more.

If you've not claimed benefits before, you can find out more about Universal Credit (and make your claim) online.

Whilst you are claiming benefits, you may be eligible for additional financial support, such as help with childcare and utility costs. Citizens Advice can help you find out what's available.

If you've lost your job as a result of COVID-19, there is help available to get back into work.

Cumbria Opportunities has information about local jobs, training courses and apprenticeships.

Cumbria Jobs Fuse helps to connect people looking for work to local employers looking for staff. If you're looking for work, call 0800 100 900; if you're an employer looking for staff, call 0808 196 3596.

Credit Unions help you save money and can also provide loans at low interest rates. Anyone who lives or works in the area a Credit Union serves can use them. They are an alternative to payday lenders and 'loan sharks' and can help you avoid getting into problem debt.

There are four Credit Unions in Cumbria:

Affinity Credit Union

Offices in Cleator Moor, Workington, Penrith and Kendal

Email: info@affinitycu.co.uk

Affinity Credit Union website 

Telephone: 01900 65723 / 01946 817508 / 01768 890065


Barrow and District Credit Union

Barrow and District Credit Union website 

Telephone: 01229 870110  


Carlisle and District Credit Union

Carlisle and District Credit Union website 

Telephone: 01228 594007

Email: cadcul@btconnect.com 


Whitehaven, Egremont and District Credit Union 

Whitehaven, Egremont and District Credit Union 

Telephone: 01946 66755

If you run a business, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership provide up to three hours of fully funded support, which is specifically targeted at the needs of your business. To discuss your needs, in confidence, please email: info@thecumbrialep.co.uk.

Further information for businesses, including details of the grants available, can be found in the COVID-19 Business Toolkit.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has a Coronavirus Business Toolkit and other resources including Cumbria Business Growth Hub which offers a choice of advice, training, networking and more, all tailored to your needs.

Business support grants

Information is available from your local district council.

You must self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If you are working and on a low income, you may be entitled to a £500 support payment if you are told to self-isolate.

For full eligibility information and to apply, go to your district council's website:

If you are on a low income and have children attending school, then you may be entitled to free school meals and clothing grants. Check your eligibility and apply online.

If you need help with your online application please contact 01228 606060