Emergency support scheme

The council has a very limited fund to provide help to Knowsley residents with food and/or fuel in an emergency situation that is unforeseen, or could not have been avoided, or where there is a potential risk to the health and safety of you or your family.

Please be aware that we do not provide cash under any circumstances.

Before you contact us - if you are claiming one of the qualifying benefits listed below, you should check if you can still get support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 
The council’s scheme will not duplicate any support that the DWP still provides. Read the details below to see if you need to contact the DWP first. 

Services provided by the DWP and Jobcentre Plus:

  1. Short term benefit advances, for new benefit applicants or existing claims where there is a significant change of circumstance. If you have recently applied for benefit you can apply for a short term benefit advance by calling the DWP's benefit enquiry hotline on 0845 608 8526.
  2. Budgeting loans, to help pay for essential items. You can find out more online or pick up an application form from your local Jobcentre Plus.
  3. Hardship payments for those who have received a benefit sanction. To claim hardship payments you will need to complete form JSA ESA10JP at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Find out more about the other financial advice and support available to you.

To be considered for support under our scheme, you must:

  • be the householder (if you need support for food);
  • be responsible for paying the electric and/or gas bill at the property and have a pre-payment meter (if you need support with fuel);
  • have exhausted all other possible sources of support; and
  • be in receipt of (or waiting for) one of the following benefits:
    • Income support
    • Jobseeker’s allowance – income-based
    • Employment and support allowance – income-related
    • Pension credit
    • Universal credit
    • Housing benefit and/or council tax reduction

You can apply online for emergency support:-

  • Through our customer portal - register for online services or log into your account here.
    You must have a council tax account number, or a housing benefit/council tax reduction claim reference number to register your application via our customer portal. 
  • Via our website – go to Online Services and ‘Apply for it’ or click here. If you do not have access to your own computer you can:--
    • Use a public computer in any of our One Stop Shops or libraries.Click on the links to find your nearest venue and opening times;
    • Ask family, friends or neighbours to help you make an online claim; or
    • Ask your support worker, or any other agency you are working with, to help you make an online claim and/or help you to improve your IT skills. Find local courses near you

You can also apply by telephone.  Ring our contact centre on 0800 408 2014 or 0151 443 3200 and one of our advisors will take your application over the phone.  
You will be informed of our decision by email or text message within one working day. If you do not have your own email address you can ask us to email the decision to somebody else who may be helping you, but you need to agree this with them. In exceptional circumstances, you can ask to collect your decision from your local one stop shop, or we can send it to you by first class post.
If your application is successful you will receive:

  • An appointment at your nearest foodbank venue for the same day or the next day to collect a food parcel (please bring your own carrier bags); and/or
  • A Paypoint voucher for a set amount, which you can take to your nearest Paypoint venue. You will need to provide proof of your identity and address, along with your electric/gas key or card, when you redeem your voucher. You can print the voucher or present it on your mobile phone. Find your nearest Paypoint venue.

Whether we can help you or not, we will signpost you to other support that may be available to help you to put plans in place to overcome the emergency, or to stop it happening again in the future.

We can consider a maximum of two awards in a 12 month period. Each award is expected to last a minimum of three days.

If you still need help after three days you must re-apply. We can consider up to a maximum of nine days support per award. Each award is based on your circumstances and is not guaranteed. Once you have reached your maximum award you will no longer be eligible for support under the scheme.

Request a review if you are refused

If you think our decision to refuse food and, or fuel is wrong you can ask for a review. We cannot review your claim if you do not meet our scheme criteria

You can ask for a review via our customer portal (you must register first or log in), our website, or by telephone - 0800 408 2014.
You will need your application number and the date you applied and tell us why you think our decision is wrong.  We will inform you of our decision in the same way as the original decision, within one working day.

If you are experiencing an upheaval

The scheme may also support you if you need furniture to help you settle back in to the community under specific circumstances, or to avoid you having to enter institutional care.
For example:

  • If you are leaving care, leaving prison, fleeing domestic violence,  homeless and leaving temporary accommodation
  • If you are at risk of going into institutional care (the household item / furniture would need to prevent you going into care)

Please note: This does not include aids and adaptations or other items which would normally be provided from other sources of funding/support

In these instances, you must have previously applied for and been refused support from DWP Budgeting Loans (please visit www.gov.uk/budgeting-loans/). You will be asked for the original copy of the budgeting loans refusal letter before proceeding with your Emergency Support Scheme application.

Applications will be taken via your support worker, such as a social worker or probation officer. If you do not have a support worker, we may consider a direct claim from you.

If you are eligible please be aware that we can only provide essential items of furniture and this could be reconditioned or second hand.  Our target is to deal with your request within 14 days.  Alternatively, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, or similar agency can signpost you to other funding that may be available or affordable suppliers for the items you need.

Please ring 0800 408 2014 (free phone) or 0151 443 3200 to submit an expression of interest for support.