Friends of Parkwood Surgery
We know the cost of living is having an impact on everybody’s lives. A survey by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy in September 2022 found that two-thirds of its members were seeing patients who cited the cost of living as a reason for their mental health decline. 61% also reported that their clients were anxious over whether they’d be able to pay their household bills.
Whilst financial worries are not strictly a medical issue, in the spirit of the social prescribing model we found out about recently (link), FPS has been using its social media channels to provide links to support for those finding the current situation challenging.
Here, we’re bringing together all of those links into one place. Let us know if you find any of them useful or if you come across any others!
On this page, you’ll find some links to:
The Hertfordshire Energy Advice Tool (HEAT) App gives you a walkthrough of potential areas in your house which might be wasting energy. You might find some big savings possible by turning off some appliances or changing how you use them. Download the app for free from Google Play or the App Store.
Once you’ve made some simple swaps, Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) has some further tips on how to make your home as energy efficient as possible. This includes schemes to access funding for those eligible to improve insulation. Find out more.
The government is offering support with energy bills this winter, but it can be confusing to know which you’re eligible for and what to expect. They’re all gathered together here.
As we mentioned in our article on social prescribing, HertsHelp is a network of community organisations in Hertfordshire working together. They’re there to listen and help you find independent support, guidance and information you need to get the most out of life.
Call them on 0300 123 4044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website for more details.
Moneysavingexpert.com, the website founded by Martin Lewis, has put together a ‘Heat the Human Not the Home’ guide providing tips on ensuring the people in a house stay warm.
The four adventure playgrounds in Hemel Hempstead (Grovehill, Adeyfield, Bennetts End and Chaulden) provide free open-access play provision where children can engage in a variety of free activities and use equipment they may not have access to at home (such as computers for homework or gaming). Subsidised food and refreshments are also available and 11-16 year olds can attend evening youth groups (50p per session). Find out more on the website and register your child to attend.
If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk through the Healthy Start Scheme. If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Your benefit will be added onto this card every 4 weeks.
You can use your card to buy: plain liquid cow’s milk; fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables; fresh, dried, and tinned pulses; infant formula milk based on cow’s milk.
You can also use your card to collect: Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding; vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years old
Find out more and apply here.
For cheap family days out, don’t overlook your Tesco Clubcard vouchers. The points are worth up to 3 times more used like this than used against your grocery bills, and just might give your family a little treat this winter. To find out more, check the website.
The government offers support to families in many ways, including: tax-free childcare; 15 or 30 hours of free childcare (dependent upon age of the child); child benefit; free school meals.
Make sure you know what you and your family are entitled to and check the website.
Run by DENS, the Dacorum Foodbank is part of a nationwide network of food banks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK. You can find out more from the Foodbank’s own website.
To access emergency food, you’ll need to follow the directions outlined here
And if you’re in the fortunate position of being able to donate food, you can find out what and where to contribute here
Hemel Hempstead’s Community Fridge works to reduce food waste and provide free or cheap food that would otherwise be thrown away. On Wednesdays and Saturdays at Highfield Community Centre, you can get good surplus food free of charge or donate food you know you won’t eat. Find out more.
Apps such as Too Good To Go and Olio allow you to find food from businesses and neighbours which would otherwise go to waste. This makes it both a cheap and sustainable way of feeding the family – win win! You can download the apps from the App Store or Google Play.
Jack Monroe (aka ‘the Bootstrap Cook’) has a plethora of recipes available on her blog. Each is labelled according to how much it costs (with some as little as 10p) or how long they take to cook (thinking about those energy bills).
Dacorum First Credit Union‘s aim is to provide people who live or work in Dacorum with a simple and affordable way to save and borrow money. They are a cooperative, staffed by volunteers with any profits being returned to the members as a dividend.
Whilst you do need to be a member with savings in order to benefit, their loans are charged at just 1% interest and there are no penalties for early repayments. Find out more on their website.
Moneysavingexpert.com provides guides and offers to help people save money in all areas of their lives. You can sign up for weekly emails to bring the latest news into your inbox.
Dacorum Citizen Advice Bureau offers help and support with all kinds of problems. If you’re not sure what help there is for you, or if you need support in applying for it, why not contact them?
Every penny counts, so make sure you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to in order to boost your income. These include: Universal Credit; Marriage Allowance; Carer’s Allowance; Pension Credit. Check the government website for more details.