Winter Ready - Financially Ready

Make sure you are financially ready this winter by following some of the advice on this page:

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. 

Go online at Citizens Advice or call your local office: 

  • Allerdale 01900 604735. 
  • Barrow 0808 278 7817. 
  • Carlisle and Eden (switchboard and debt advice) 03300 563037; (General advice) 0808 278 7844. 
  • Copeland and Whitehaven 01946 693321. 
  • Millom 01229 772395. 
  • South Lakes (for debt & ongoing enquiries) 03444 111444. (for new enquiries) 01539 446464. 

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

Lost your job? 

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. 

The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service 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. 

Or you can find out more about Universal Credit (and make your claim) online: Understanding Universal Credit 

Getting back into work

If you've lost your job, 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. 

You can also email the helpline team: and you will receive a response within one working day. 

Support for unpaid Carers

People who provide unpaid care can get support from their local Carers organisation. There are five Carers organisations in Cumbria; you can get information on your local organisation by ringing Carers Support Cumbria on 08443 843230 or visiting their website: Carers Support Cumbria 

Help with food

If you are struggling to feed yourself or your family, there are organisations that can help. They are used by hundreds of people every week in Cumbria and from all walks of life. 

There are food banks and other food projects located across the county, find your nearest at Welfare or call the county council's support line on 0800 783 1966. 


If you are on a low income, your children may be entitled to free school meals and clothing grants. You can check your eligibility and apply online at Free School Meals or call 01228 606060.

Business Support

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) offer a business advisory service - bringing together and simplifying access to national and local business support. They ensure that you can access business support, no matter the size, sector, or maturity of your business.

Contact their dedicated business advisors today on Freephone 0800 069 6444 or email

Winter Warmth Fund 

If you are aged 60 and over and struggling with the cost of heating your home, you may be eligible for a grant from £150. To apply, please contact: 

  • Age UK: Barrow 01229 831425. 
  • Age UK: Carlisle and Eden 01228 536673. 
  • Copeland Age & Advice Service 01946 552166. 
  • Age UK: West Cumbria (Allerdale) 01229 779711. 
  • Age UK: South Lakeland 01539 728118. 

Help with housing 

If you are having difficulties paying for housing, you should contact your landlord, housing association or mortgage company. 

If you face losing your home, speak to your local district council who may be able to help.

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, get in touch with your local district council; if you are on a low income you may be eligible for a grant towards the cost. Your district council can also help if you are at risk of eviction or homelessness. You can find information on their website, or contact them on the numbers below: 

  • Allerdale Borough Council 0303 123 1702. 
  • Barrow Borough Council 01229 876543. 
  • Carlisle City Council 01228 817200. 
  • Copeland Borough Council 01946 598300. 
  • Eden District Council 01768 817817. 
  • South Lakeland District Council 01539 733333. 

Credit Unions 

Credit Unions help people save money and can also provide loans at low interest rates. 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: