The cost of living crisis is affecting us all. We have found that around a quarter of households in Westminster, more than 31,000, face a serious reduction in living standards due to rising costs, such as fuel, energy bills and food.
For more about the different types of support available, take a look at our hub below.
Winter in the city
This autumn and winter, Westminster has a variety of free community activities for residents to enjoy; all will take place in warm, safe locations across the city. Our directory will help you to find things to do over the colder months.
Household Support Fund
The council has been allocated £3.9m for April 2023 to March 2024 from the Department of Work and Pensions Household Support Fund. This is to help the most vulnerable residents during the cost of living crisis. Most of the help will be received directly so there is no need to apply, although some of the Household Support Fund is being used to run a Hardship Fund which can be applied for.
We know the cost of living crisis is affecting residents across Westminster. The Westminster Council Local Hardship Fund aims to help residents who are not eligible for other help.
The fund is currently open for applications from Westminster residents who do not receive any means-tested benefits and have a low income of up to £30,000, or £50,000 if there are children in the household.
Holiday Activity and Food programme
To help families cope with the current cost-of-living crisis, we are providing activities and food for young people aged 4 to 16, and up to 18 for those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) throughout the school holidays.
The activities include sports, arts, cooking, and include activities tailored for children and young people with SEND. Places are free for those on free school meals and at a discounted rate for all others. Keep an eye on this space for details of how to enrol on upcoming activities.
Free childcare for non-school-age children
You can access free childcare provisions for non-school-age children. This includes 15 hours per week for all children aged 3 and 4, and increases to 30 hours for some eligible families. You can also get 15 hours when your child is 2 if you are on a low income or your child has an additional need.
This enables families to experience the support of a trained and registered childminder, nursery, children’s centre or pre-school and children can receive high-quality early education that will help them to be school ready.
Free school lunch offer for primary school children
We are supporting families by offering free school lunches to pupils attending primary school in Westminster. The new offer will mean that all primary pupils in Years 3 through to 6 will now receive a free lunch, as well as students in reception and key stage 1 who are already receiving this offer.
Cost of living strategy
In July, we launched our cost of living strategy, an 8-point package of actions to help our residents, built around three main pillars:
- committing a £10m package of support to help families in Westminster that are struggling with the rising cost of living
- working with our partners to ensure that we coordinate and maximise our impact
- making sure our residents have the information they need to access all the support that is on offer to them
In March 2023, we reviewed the groups in our Cost of Living Strategy 2022 that were likely to be most affected by the crisis and identified other households that could be struggling or may need particular support:
- those with low incomes but not entitled to any welfare benefits
- private tenants, particularly those in receipt of Local Housing Allowance
- larger families
- disabled households
These are in addition to the 31,000 households in receipt of benefits identified in our strategy:
- single people in and out of work
- families with children, including lone parents
- older person households
- those with disabilities.
You can read our full cost of living strategy and 2024 update by clicking the links below.