Support for hardship or difficulties

Register for support, how to get food vouchers, support for gas and electricity bills, and housing support.

Government advice to shield was paused on 1 August 2020. Get the latest government advice on GOV.UK.

Get support during this difficult time

We have collected together a range of services and schemes that will help you get the support you need during this difficult time.   

If you need urgent support

We have a dedicated helpline for residents who need urgent help as a result of COVID-19. Call: 020 8604 7787 – open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.

If you are having trouble getting through, please complete our Coronavirus support form.

Depending on your needs, we will arrange a call after you've submitted the form to talk through your most urgent needs – such as food, medicine or other requirements.

NHS Responders

NHS Volunteer Responders can help with food, prescriptions, essential items and can also Check in and Chat (short-term telephone support).  

Telephone: 0808 196 3646.  

NHS prescription collection or delivery 

You can arrange this by: 

  • asking someone who can pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy
  • contacting your pharmacy to ask them to help you find a volunteer (who will have been ID checked) or deliver it to you. Find your local pharmacy
  • asking your hospital care team about collecting or delivering your hospital specialist medication

Children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND)

If you are self-isolating or diagnosed with coronavirus and you have concerns about care for your child or young person with SEND while you're unwell, contact the Children With Disabilities duty teams. The phone lines are answered between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Our Local Offer website has a list of other organisations which may be able to support children and young people with SEND

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) 

Discretionary Housing Payments may be available to top up housing-related benefit for a limited time to cover housing costs such as rent. 

You may be able to claim a discretionary reduction in council tax. Check if you qualify for DHP.

Help with food and grocery deliveries

Government food boxes are being paused at the end of July.

We have put together some ideas and sources of help in getting food and essentials delivered. Download ideas for getting food and essentials (PDF, 319KB).

Food stops

Become a member of one of our four food stops located in Fieldway, Selsdon, Thornton Heath and Purley.

If you are eligible, you can have £20 worth of fresh food and other groceries for £3.50 per week. Contact

Food vouchers

You may be eligible for food bank vouchers. For more information contact the Discretionary Support Team:

Free School Meals

Where possible schools are trying to provide either food on site or food deliveries to children who normally received free school meals. If they can't do this then they are emailing or posting Free School Meal vouchers for use in supermarkets worth £15 per week per child.

If your child is eligible for free school meals, please check with their school about how they’ll provide you with either food or vouchers for your child. See more information from the Department for Education.

Milk formula deliveries

If you cannot visit shops, these companies sell formula milk for babies online. There may be a charge for delivery:

Helping the homeless 

The council’s Gateway service helps residents avoid homelessness and boost their financial independence, with support ranging from one-to-one debt advice and maximising their benefits to skills training.

If you are a resident needing support from Gateway staff, or you are a community organisation wanting to refer a member of the public for help, email – please include a mobile number so an adviser can call you back. 

Help applying for a blue badge, taxi card or Freedom Pass 

We have a 12 week processing time for new blue badges applications – please avoid enquriig about these before the 12 week deadline.  

If you need a freedom pass or taxi card paper application, please email the Travel Service and we will post one to you.

For help with blue badges, taxi cards and freedom passes, contact Travel Service: 

  • email – email is the most effective method of contact at this time
  • call 020 8726 7100, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm

Jobs and training

If you recently lost your job or you are looking to upskill or change career, find out about job and training opportunities across the borough.