Money problems? Struggling to afford household essentials, like furniture or food? Use this directory to look for local and national services that could help. It can be used by anyone in Portsmouth, and by any advice and support services working with people in need.

If you have problems with money – get advice as soon as possible.

There are lots of advice services, both in the city and nationally, who give free help. The help is confidential and impartial, and they won’t judge. They can explain your options and help you find the best solution for you.

Free furniture & household items


  • Free items offered by individuals in local area
  • Users can also post wanted ads
  • You can sign up for email notifications and respond to posts
  • Requires regular internet access to respond quickly, and transport to collect

Visit the Freecycle website.


  • Free items offered by individuals in local area
  • Gumtree is an online noticeboard
  • Requires internet access and transport to collect

Visit the Portsmouth section on Gumtree.

Other places to find free furniture and household items include local Facebook forums, Freegle, and Preloved.

Money Saving Expert has important tips on how to safely and successfully find donated items on the groups above.

Moving On Project Portsmouth (MOPP)

Small local charity working with many service providers to make sure that residents who are taking on a new tenancy or experiencing financial difficulties have access to good, clean, serviceable second-hand furniture and household items.

Residents are welcome to contact MOPP via email to to find out how to be referred by one of MOPP’s partner agencies, which include city council housing offices, children’s social care and early help teams, Advice Portsmouth, and many other local charities. If you need help with furniture or household items, talk to your support worker or an adviser to find out if they can refer you.


HIVE School Uniform Share-Shop

  • HIVE collect good quality donations of all items of clothing your child will need for school, including sports kit, shoes and coats
  • If you are struggling to afford the cost of school uniform, email with details of your requirements – items, age, gender, school – or complete the online request form
  • If you are unable to email or complete the request online, you can ring HIVE on 023 9400 7124

Paulsgrove school uniform exchange 

Paulsgrove Community Centre, Marsden Road, PO6 4JB

  • Come and help yourself to good quality, clean secondhand school uniform, in the reception area of the community centre.
  • We take donations of any school uniform suitable for infants, juniors or secondary school students in Paulsgrove – if you have any items you don’t need any more, please drop them off at our reception.
  • We especially need blazers and skirts for Castle View Academy, but all donations are welcome.


Repair Café
  • Free events where people who have items that need repairing are put in touch with people who have the necessary skills to repair the items
  • This can include: clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys etc
  • Items are repaired for free but customers are welcome to make a donation to support the Repair Café
  • Find out where and when the next Repair Café will be held and book your appointment.

Affordable credit for household items

Fair For You – non-profit pay weekly store

  • Charity offering loans for furniture and appliances from their online store
  • Delivery is free but connection is extra. Interest is 51.1% APR
  • Visit website to find items and check the affordability of a loan
  • If same item is cheaper elsewhere, see the low-cost loans section for other borrowing options

Visit the Fair For You website.


Turn2us Grant Finder

  • Directory of grants available based on the age, location and need of the individual
  • Information on how to apply is included on the Grant Finder
  • Some grants are linked to applicants’ previous jobs – check current and past employment, and use the ‘Filter your results’ option

Visit the Turn2us grant finder.


  • Assistance for ex-forces and their family
  • To apply, call or complete the online enquiry form
  • SSAAFA offers practical, financial and emotional support

Visit the SSAAFA website or call them on 0800 731 4880 or 07413 417 226.

British Legion

  • Assistance for ex-forces and their family
  • To apply, call them for details of the local welfare representative
  • British Legion offers practical, financial and emotional support

Visit the British Legion website or call them on 0808 802 8080.

Naval Children’s Charity

  • Assistance for children of anyone who served in the Royal Navy, Women’s Royal Naval Service or Royal Marines
  • Children are eligible for support up to the age of 25
  • Visit the Naval Children’s Charity website or call them on 023 9263 9534

Family Fund

  • Grants for essential items for families with a child with a disability or serious illness
  • Download the Family Fund application form to apply
  • Maximum 1 application per household per year
  • Family must be eligible for public funds

Visit the Family Fund website.


  • Grants for children living in hardship for essential items, such as furniture or white goods
  • Family must be in financial hardship and have additional social welfare needs, and have an advice or support worker to apply on their behalf
  • Online Applications can only be made by a statutory or voluntary agency who can administer the grant on behalf of Buttle
  • Maximum grant is usually £300
  • White goods etc. will be purchased by Buttle and delivered to home address, but other awards will be paid by cheque to referring agency

Visit the Buttle website.

BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Fund

  • Items to meet the essential needs of children and young people
  • Applications can only be made by a statutory or voluntary agency who complete a simple online registration form
  • Most frequent requests are for white goods, beds and other furniture, clothing, baby equipment, but any essential need can be considered

Visit the Family Fund Services website for full details.

Portsmouth Victoria Nursing Association

  • One-off grants of up to £550 towards household essentials, medical equipment, special clothing and respite care, for people receiving treatment
  • Applications must be made by community nursing staff
  • Grants for people receiving community nurse treatment, or with other significant health issues

Email to request an application form.

Friends of the Elderly

  • One-off grants to replace essential items, such as furniture, white goods and flooring
  • People must have a support worker to apply on their behalf
  • Awards will be paid by cheque to the referring agency
  • Must be over state pension age

Download an application form on the Friends of the Elderly website.

Vicar’s Relief Fund

  • Crisis fund for people at risk of street homelessness, or resettling after being homeless
  • For costs such as rent deposits, rent arrears – to access housing or to prevent eviction
  • Applications for the Vicar’s Relief Fund can only be made online, by a support agency for the person in need
  • Average grant is around £200, maximum grant is £350

Visit the Frontline Network website for details about the Vicar’s Relief Fund.

British Gas Energy Trust

  • Grants for utility bill arrears, for customers of any energy company
  • Apply online or print out the form, complete it and post it
  • Must have had money advice and be in arrears due to serious illness or a life event

Visit the British Gas Energy Trust website for more details.

Southern Water Customer Hardship Fund

  • For Southern Water customers who are experiencing financial difficulty, offering three types of assistance:
    • A one-off bill reduction (of up to 50%)
    • A debt write-off (of up to £2,000)
    • A grant for specific home improvements, including white goods and repairs (of up to £1,000)
  • To qualify, you must be in significant financial hardship, or challenging personal circumstances that have a financial impact
  • Apply online

Assistance for Trade Union members

Many unions have welfare schemes for their members, so if you belong to a trade union, contact them to find out what support they can provide if you are in financial hardship.

Low-cost loans

DWP Budgeting Loan or Universal Credit Budgeting Advance

  • Interest-free loans for essential items over £100
  • Maximum loan amount:
    • Single person – £348
    • Couple – £464
    • Family with children – £812
  • To apply, print out a budgeting loan application form (or request from Jobcentre), complete it and return it to the Jobcentre, or contact the Jobcentre if you’re on Universal Credit
  • You must be in receipt of Income Support, Income Based JSA or ESA, Pension Credit or Universal Credit for at least 6 months
  • Budgeting loans will not be granted to pay for daily living expenses, such as food and utilities

Get an overview of Budgeting Loans on Gov.UK or find out whether you are eligible for a Universal Credit Budgeting Advance.

Daily living expenses (such as food, gas, electricity)

If you are struggling to afford food, there are several local foodbanks, community meals and pantries that can help.

Lidl offers great value fruit and veg boxes for £1.50.  These are usually available daily, but sell out, so get there early.

Daily living expenses (such as food, gas, electricity)

If you are struggling to afford food, there are several local foodbanks, community meals and pantries that can help.

DWP Short Term Advance or Universal Credit advance

  • Advance payments for new benefit claimants in hardship who are either:
    • awaiting their first payment of benefit
    • their payment has been delayed
    • there has been a change of circumstances that will increase their entitlement
  • Ring to request an advance, or apply using your online account if you have applied for Universal Credit
  • Info taken in telephone interview will be passed to a decision maker, who will ring the claimant within 24 hours and confirm the decision

For a short-term benefit advance: visit the short-term benefit page on Gov.UK or call 0345 608 8545.

For a Universal Credit advance: visit the Universal Credit advance page on Gov.UK or call 0800 328 5644

DWP Hardship Payments or Universal Credit Hardship Payments

  • Payments for claimants who have been sanctioned, are in financial hardship (unable to afford food, heating, rent or other basic needs) and cannot borrow from friends or family
  • Ring to request. Applicants will need to explain what they need, how the money will be used, and how long it will last
  • Info will be passed to a decision-maker, who will ring back within 24 hours
  • Universal Credit hardship payments are a loan and must be repaid

For a DWP Hardship Payment call 0345 608 8545.

For a Universal Credit Hardship Payment call 0800 328 5644.

Portsmouth Water

  • Reduced bills for people who are struggling to afford the cost
  • Visit Portsmouth Water online or ring Portsmouth Water to find out about Helping Hand
  • Help is also available if you are behind on your bill

To discuss help with Portsmouth Water bills, call 023 9249 9666.

Southern Water

To discuss help with Southern Water bills, call 0800 027 0363.

Gas and electricity costs

  • If you have a pre-payment meter and have no money to top up, contact your supplier to request emergency credit.
  • If you have gas or electricity debts you are repaying, ask your supplier to reduce or temporarily stop the deductions.
  • For help with any problems with gas or electricity, including ways to reduce your energy bills, visit the council’s Switched On Portsmouth website or call the Freephone helpline on 0800 260 5907.

Mobile phones, broadband

Money Saving Expert has excellent resources to help you find a cheaper deal on mobile phones, broadband and other essential costs.

There are reduced prices for broadband, called ‘social tariffs’, for people who are eligible for certain benefits.  Check if you are eligible and if you could save money by switching, or by asking your current provider to put you on their social tariff.

If you are on a means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit, contact your mobile phone provider to find out if they offer a social tariff, or any cheaper deals for people on low incomes.

Portsmouth Leisure Card

  • If you receive a means-tested benefit, you may be eligible for the Portsmouth Leisure Card, which entitles residents to discounts at Portsmouth City Council facilities as well as some other services.

Funeral costs


Community Cycle Centre
  • Project to recycle, repair and distribute bikes
  • Taking in unwanted, unloved and abandoned bikes and nursing them back to health
  • These are then given, in return for a small donation to cover costs, to those without wheels. We are volunteers entirely supported by donations
  • Suggested donations: £40 for an adult bike, £20 for a teenagers bike, £10 for a child’s bike
  • Pop in if you need a bike or want to donate one!
  • Every Saturday 10 am – 2 pm at Stacey Centre, Walsall Road, PO3 6DN

Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)

Essential travel costs within the UK

  • If you are eligible to apply for a DWP Budgeting Loan or Universal Credit Budgeting Advance, these can be used to pay for essential travel costs. The loan will be deducted from future payments of benefits, so check the repayments will be affordable before taking a loan.

Advice and support on money, benefits and debt

These local advice services can also make referrals to foodbanks and other help for people in hardship.

Advice Portsmouth

  • Free, confidential, impartial advice on debt, benefits, housing, employment rights, family issues etc.
  • Open Monday to Wednesdays: 9am-5pm. Thursdays: 1pm-7.30pm. Fridays: 9am-4.30pm
  • Free service for anyone who lives or works in Portsmouth

Ring or text 07789 550593, or email or visit the Advice Portsmouth website


Citizens Advice Help to Claim and Money Advice Service

  • Advice on all issues related to claiming Universal Credit, including whether to make a claim
  • Advice on dealing with debt
  • Can give advice on any Universal Credit issues up until the first full monthly payment is received

Email or ring 023 9400 6600

Area housing offices

  • Advice and support for city council tenants on any issues related to your tenancy, money, debt and benefits advice, and support to find work or training
  • Open Monday to Thursday 8.30am-5pm, and Friday 8.30am-4pm
  • Support for anyone whose landlord is Portsmouth City Council Housing Service

Find contact details for your local housing office.

Housing associations

  • Many housing associations offer their tenants help on benefits, debt, employment and training.

Contact your housing officer or customer service team

Age UK Portsmouth

  • Free, independent, confidential information and advice on a wide range of issues affecting people over the age of 50
  • Open Monday to Thursday 8.45am-5pm, and Friday 8.45am-4.30pm

Ring 023 9229 1999 or email