(Last updated 7 June 2024).

The information on this page is for people living in the Portsmouth City Council area, PO1 to PO6. If you live in Hampshire, you can find out about support in your area on the Hampshire County Council site.

Exceptional hardship scheme

Households who are in severe financial hardship and are unable to afford essentials will be able to apply to the council for an exceptional hardship payment.

You will need to provide evidence of your income and bank accounts and tell us about why you need help.

The first of three application ‘windows’ when people can apply for an exceptional hardship payment has now ended.

You can now leave your email address to be notified when the next window opens. The next window is planned to open on Thursday 20 June until Friday 26 July at noon.

If you’re already receiving support from the council, for example from social care or the housing service, or from an advice and support service working in the community, they may be able to support your application, so you don’t need to provide as much information. Contact your support worker to find out if they can make an application to the exceptional hardship scheme for you.

This is a limited pot of funding and the scheme will close when the funds have been used up.

Help for families

This summer, eligible families will receive supermarket vouchers worth £60 per child.

Families with children in years R to 11 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals (not universal infant free school meals) will be given their vouchers automatically by their schools, as in previous schemes.

There’s no need to apply for a voucher if a child is on the school register and registered for benefits-related free school meals. If your child is due to start Year R in September 2024, you can apply for free school meals now.  If you register your child for free school meals before 28 June, you’ll also receive the supermarket voucher from the school.

If you’re on a low income and have children who don’t qualify for benefits-related free school meals, you’ll be able to apply for vouchers.

The application scheme won’t open until Summer, after schools have sent out vouchers to families that receive them automatically. Eligibility details and information on how to apply will be added to this web page.

Living costs payment

If you live in a household with additional cost of living pressures you may be eligible to receive a one-off payment. Further details on who is eligible and how to apply will be added to this page.

The scheme is not yet open for applications.

Other help and support

We’re also providing funding for local organisations that are already supporting people with the cost of living, including foodbanks and community pantries, to help their work. Local services are listed at our Help with Food page.

We’re using household support funding to give more people access to home energy advice visits. To find out how to save energy and money, visit Switched On Portsmouth or call the freephone helpline on 0800 260 5907.

Find advice and help

Portsmouth City Council has a dedicated cost of living hub and helpline, to support residents who are worried about money.

You can also find free money advice and see where to get support on our money advice page. This advice can help you save money, deal with debt and make sure you’re receiving everything you’re entitled to.

If you are struggling to afford household items or other essentials, look at our directory for local and national services that could help.

For advice on how to save energy and cut the cost of gas and electricity bills, you can visit Switched On Portsmouth. If you are on a low income or get a disability benefit, you may also be eligible for a free home energy advice visit.

The HIVE directory is a great place to find local groups and organisations supporting our communities across Portsmouth.