Cost of living

We know this is a challenging time for everyone, with rising costs affecting us all. There is a lot of information online about benefits and financial help, as well as local agencies in Kingston and Richmond that can provide advice and support. Click on the blue links throughout this page to find out more.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can find information & advice on everything from budgeting and energy bills to food supplies, warm spaces and health and wellbeing at, with sections on:

  • General support and advice
  • Finances, budgeting and debt advice
  • Emergency food supplies
  • Reducing your energy and water costs
  • Benefit entitlements
  • Support with employment and skills / Support for businesses
  • Health and wellbeing support
  • Support for children and families
  • Cost of Living Scams
  • Warm Spaces

Connected Kingston

(for Kingston residents)

The Connected Kingston website has a wealth of information on local groups and services and a specific section on cost of living resources. It is a good place to start looking for information about organisations that can help with a host of issues.


Richmond Community Independent Living Service

(for Richmond residents)

CILS is a partnership of 20 local Richmond charities, supporting adults of all ages to live independently, improve wellbeing and stay connected with their local community.

CILS Information Navigation acts as the central access point into the service, as well as offering information, advice and support - delivered by Richmond AID. CILS Health & Wellbeing offers a range of wellbeing, social and practical support - led by Age UK Richmond. All 20 partners can be contacted directly.

The Information Navigators can help in many ways, including:

  • Offer information, advice and support on a range of subjects
  • Help you to find the right services to support your needs
  • Support you through the health & social care system

Information Navigation areas include:

  • Housing
  • Benefits
  • Grants and food vouchers
  • Social and leisure opportunities
  • Employment, education and independent living
  • Transport and mobility
  • Access, aids and adaptations
  • Consumer issues
  • Volunteering
  • Befriending

They can help you if you are looking for support for yourself, a family member, friend or someone you are caring for.  The service is free and confidential.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 020 8831 6464

Ruils Cost of Living Resources

Support available to Richmond residents struggling to pay bills - information from the independent charity Ruils.

Richmond Cost of Living Hub

(for Richmond residents)

Information on benefits and financial support if you’re on a low income


Cost of Living Payment

If you claim certain benefits or tax credits, you may be eligible for an extra payment to help with the cost of living. If you’re eligible, payments will be made automatically.

Government help for households information


Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert – Cost of Living Help Guide

A host of tips on saving money, benefit entitlements and generally getting by.


Support with living costs

Kingston Council - support with living costs information

Citizens Advice information and advice about cost of living increases.

Citizens Advice information


Keeping Warm and Well

Warm Home Better Health - free assessment

If you are a Kingston resident and meet one or more of the criteria below, you are eligible for this free service provided by the local not-for-profit organisation Thinking Works:

  • Aged 65 or over
  • Have a long-term condition such as diabetes
  • Have a low income, such as being in receipt of Universal Credit

If you request the service, an advisor from Thinking Works will telephone you at a time of your choosing to give you advice and help prepare you for winter. The service includes FREE devices to help cut your water and energy use that will either be dropped off or installed depending on Covid 19 risk factors.

During the assessment, your advisor may offer the following:

  • FREE radiator reflector panels*
  • FREE smoke and carbon monoxide alarms*
  • FREE LED low energy bulb x 2
  • FREE referrals for smoke alarms from the London fire brigade
  • Assessments for insulation and heating grants
  • Assessments for utility discounts including the Warm Home Discount and Water Help
  • Specialist advice on lowering your heating bills whilst keeping warm
  • Referrals for benefit checks and debt advice
  • Advice on free walks and other exercise opportunities in the borough
  • Advice on keeping healthy and well in winter

To book your assessment or for more information, please call: 0800 118 23 27

Text: 07928 394 482 

Email: [email protected]

Money Saving Boiler Challenge

Turning down the flow temperature on your combi boiler to 60°c or below can knock £££ off your heating bill each year and reduce energy waste from your home.

For more information click this link:

Household Support Fund

If you're struggling to pay for essentials such as food, heating and water, especially if you're a pensioner or have children in your household, the Household Support Fund can provide short-term financial support.

For more information click this link:

If you need help to apply, a professional (such as a social prescriber with your GP surgery) can apply on your behalf. 

Staying warm

One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm, particularly if you have an underlying health condition, or are older or have young children. This can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

The chances of these problems are higher if you're vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of your age, your income, a disability or health condition.

It’s wise to plan ahead for the colder months and bad weather. Staywell is here to help, with a range of services you can call on and some tips for keeping warm. We’re working with GPs and other local partners to get information, advice and help out to those who need it.

Keeping warm – top tips

Make sure you’re getting the financial support you’re entitled to. In addition to the help listed in the 'Cost of Living' section above, if you're of retirement age or over call our Information and Advice service for more information.

Dress appropriately, in layers of thinner clothes rather than one thick layer.

  • Stay active, alternate rest and activity, but don’t take risks in wet or icy weather.
  • Eat well, sip hot drinks regularly throughout the day and stock up on provisions in case you can’t get out to the shops.
  • Set your heating to the right temperature (18–21°C/64–70°F) in the rooms you use during the day.
  • If you don’t want to heat your bedroom all the time, make sure it’s warm before you go to bed and use the timer to make sure it’s warm when you get up. It’s best keep the windows closed whilst your asleep.
  • If you use an electric blanket, make sure it’s safe. A guide on using, caring for and storing electric blankets is available from Electrical Safety First.

For more advice on winter health & staying warm, see helpful tips at


NHS tips on how to keep warm and well in winter

Winter Warmer Packs

Local charity RBKares - Royal Borough of Kingston Kares are making bags, scarves or snoods, and hats, and purchased gloves, socks, a torch, thermos mug and a hot water bottle are being added to make a complete winter warmer kit for those who are going to be most at risk this winter.

To request a pack please email [email protected].

Help your neighbours in winter

Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.

Curtains drawn for too long, lights left on or deliveries stacking up on doorsteps may be tell-tale signs that something is not right. Elderly people may find themselves isolated and lonely at this time, particularly if they are nervous of slipping on ice or snow. Neighbours, friends and relatives might benefit from a bit of extra help such as company or someone asking if they need any support.

If people are concerned about anyone, they should contact Kingston Council’s Adult Social Care team straight away. If someone requires urgent assistance outside of normal office hours, such as weekends or bank holidays, they can contact the Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team on 020 8547 5005.


Emergency support

If an elderly or vulnerable person needs emergency social care support during office hours, because they are isolated at home for example through severe weather such as heavy snow or flooding, contact Kingston Council’s Adult Social Care team on 020 8547 5005. Email [email protected].

If someone requires urgent assistance overnight or at any other time outside of normal office hours, such as weekends or bank holidays, they can contact the council’s Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team on 020 8770 5000 for help and advice.

For emergency and life-threatening symptoms, call 999 or go straight to A&E.

Coping with extreme weather

Including information on help if you have a cold home and available benefits



Winter support services from Staywell

Staywell provides a range of services to help people in and around Kingston borough stay warm and be safe this winter.

Call 020 8942 8256. Phones are staffed 8.30 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. Please leave a message if our lines are busy and we'll get back to you.


(Kingston borough - for people aged 65+ or with a disability)

Practical help with little jobs around the home, including: clearing snowy paths or driveways, draught-proofing homes, providing free winter warmth packs, fixing grab rails for slippery paths or steps, loan of a portable heater in case of boiler breakdowns, severe cold etc. Find out more.

Community Team

(for people 65+ registered with a Kingston GP)

Support and advice if you are unwell or can’t get out of the house. Find out more.


Information and advice

(for residents of Kingston borough of retirement age and over)

Referral to energy advice services; assistance in claiming all appropriate benefits to maximise income available for paying energy bills.

Call 020 8942 8256.


Want to get out of the house when it’s cold and wintry?

Companionship, activities and hot meals are available at Staywell centres Raleigh House and The Bradbury (charges apply). Please get in touch to find out more.

Get help to buy food and milk


You'll need a voucher to use a foodbank - to find out more about vouchers click here

For times and directions click here.

The Healthy Start scheme

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.

Information and links correct 4/12/2023