Get help within your community
Many of our residents who need help will get this from family and friends, neighbours and the many local organisations who are working hard to support their communities.
If you want to find out more about the community help available in your area go to the Wirral InfoBank website.
Get help if you need advice about debt or changes to your income
Coronavirus has affected the financial situation of many of our residents.
The 'Ask Us Wirral' service run by Citizens Advice Wirral can help if you need specialist benefits, debt or housing advice. Call 0808 278 7848 and if the line is busy, leave a message for the team to get back to you.
You can also get advice if you have become unemployed, or are self-employed and this has resulted in changes to your income. Call the Citizens Advice Wirral 'Help to Claim' team on 0800 144 8444.
Get help if you can pay for your food shopping but need some assistance
You can ask for help if you can pay for your food shopping, but are vulnerable or self-isolating because of coronavirus and unable to shop. We may be able to refer you to a shopping service run by one of our local charities. You can ask for this help by completing an emergency support request form.
If you can afford to pay for your food shopping and want to shop online but don't have the means, please call Wirral Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 who may be able to refer you to a local charity to provide help with equipment and support to get online.
Apply for emergency financial support with welfare needs
Financial support for individuals and families in crisis due to an emergency or disaster may be available from Wirral Council. This may include help for those leaving a care home, prison, hospital or similar, to become established in the community. To respond to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, this scheme temporarily replaces the council’s Local Welfare Assistance Scheme.
You must be:
- aged 16 or over
- a Wirral resident or intending to be (that is, has accommodation secured)
- requiring support to address your own essential needs or the needs of their dependant(s)
- able to demonstrate that you are unable to access any other timely resource or other ways of meeting this need which are considered reasonable
- able to demonstrate that your health and safety, and that of your dependant(s), would be adversely affected if an award was not made
The scheme does not cover:
- cash (money lost or stolen)
- funeral costs – for support please visit Gov.uk
- maternity costs and new baby items – for support please visit Gov.uk
- rent costs – you may be able to get help through the council's bond scheme or discretionary housing payments
- essential repairs to your home; if you rent your home your landlord is responsible for repairs. If you own your home you may be able to apply for a heating and renovation loan
- essential furniture if you rent a furnished accommodation; your landlord is responsible for providing this
- school uniform - for help, visit Wirral FUSS. Funding will also be made available shortly to local schools to help families struggling with winter uniform costs.
- clothing to attend a funeral, or job interview where an application to the Department for Work and Pensions' Flexible Support Fund has been rejected or the individual is not eligible.
We will ask you about your circumstances and your financial situation so that we can assess your need.
Where possible, people who are newly claiming Universal Credit and are waiting for their first payment, may ask for an advance of their Universal Credit award before applying through this scheme for help with food or utilities. The individual can ask for an advanced payment at the Jobcentre or can call freephone 0800 328 5644.
Help with food
Wirral Foodbank works with local agencies to help people who are struggling to put food on the table. If you need an emergency food parcel, a local agency may be able to provide you with an emergency foodbank voucher for the Wirral Foodbank. Visit Wirral Foodbank for details of agencies who can assist or call the Wirral Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 who can also assess you for help for Wirral Foodbank whilst the council's One Stop Shops remain closed due to coronavirus. If you are self-isolating and cannot afford food, you should apply for a food hamper through Wirral Coronavirus Helpline.
Emergency financial support may be available from Wirral Council for individuals and families in crisis who are in urgent need of specialist food that cannot be supplied by Wirral Foodbank and who cannot pay. We may be able to provide financial help for three days’ worth of food for people with a specific food need related to a medical or health condition or due to religion or culture.
Help with utilities
If you are having problems topping up your gas and electricity as a result of financial hardship, you should contact your energy supplier. We can only help with your gas and electricity if your need is urgent and you are on a pre-payment meter. If we agree that you need emergency help, we will provide your details to the Fuel Bank Foundation. If you pay by direct debit, help may be available through Citizens Advice Wirral (call 0808 278 7848).
Help with household items
Emergency financial support may be available from Wirral Council for individuals and families who meet the above criteria and who need help with household items such as: white goods; essential furniture and kitchen items; bedding and clothing.
Help with something else (for example, other items, bills and expenses)
Financial support may be available to help with other household items, bills and expenses. This is to provide immediate help in an emergency situation; it is not to provide ongoing regular support. This may include for example:
- Travel costs. This may be an emergency as the individual is unable to travel to work, take children to school, provide caring duties or manage their health needs.
- Car repairs. This may be an emergency as the individual is unable to travel to work, take children to school, provide caring duties or manage their health needs.
- Telephone or broadband bills. This may be an emergency as the individual is unable to work from home without access, has a child who is unable undertake learning which is required to be undertaken online due to a health need or has a specific health need affected by being unable to maintain online access.
- Veterinary bills. This may be for unexpected veterinary treatment required for a pet critical to its health and wellbeing, where pet insurance is not in place. This does not extend to routine vaccinations, microchipping and neutering, worming or flea treatment. Local charity Animal Trust Birkenhead provides free consultations.
- General health needs. This may be for the limited cost of important health needs such as ‘Flu vaccinations, paid-for treatments and unexpected high prescription costs. Individuals must be ineligible for free access or other financial support for such needs.
Details should be included in the ‘financial help with something else’ section of the form.
Where possible, any written or electronic quotation, invoice or receipt should be uploaded to the form and any other relevant information noted in the free text box in this section. Please provide as much detail as you can, including the amount that you are seeking. This will help in processing your application more quickly.
If you are seeking help with car repairs, we will ask you to provide a copy of your car insurance and V5C (Vehicle Registration Certificate); these do not have to be provided now but we will be unable to provide help without being satisfied of ownership of the vehicle and insurance to drive.
By providing the details, either by typing in the form or by attaching a relevant document, the applicant is giving explicit consent for the council to contact the organisation or supplier identified to discuss the applicant’s request.
If an award is granted, some of these items may be provided directly through an external provider or the council may make payment directly to a third party.
Help may be available for other items or bills. Advice and help can be sought from the Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050.
If you have previously registered with the government as a clinically extremely vulnerable person (that is, you were 'shielding') you will be asked to provide your NHS number when you apply for support. This will help us to support the implementation of future shielding if required.
If you are applying at the weekend, and cannot wait until Monday, please call 0151 666 5050 to speak to our out of hours service. The out of hours service is only for people facing crisis at the weekend.
What you can expect
If you request support, we aim to process your application for food or utilities within two working days. We aim to process your application for other welfare support within five working days. We may request additional information or documentation from you at the time of your application and as part of the assessment. If you applied to us yourself (that is, not through a referring agency) we may refer your details to Citizens Advice Wirral who will contact you to give you further advice. Citizens Advice Wirral may share with us information about the outcome of any referral.
Please do not apply again while you are waiting to hear from us. This may affect the time it takes to process your request. We are working hard to get residents the help they need as quickly as possible. We will notify you of the outcome of your application by text message.
If you do not agree with a decision that has been made regarding the outcome of your application and you have additional information that you feel needs to be taken into account, you may contact Wirral Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 to discuss this further.
Get help to complete the forms
If you need help completing the forms, you can call the Wirral Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Support workers or other agencies can make applications on behalf of someone else. Friends and family can also help someone with an application.
Get help if English is not your first language
'Wirral Change' supports residents who may have barriers to accessing the Wirral Foodbank service via the Helpline or online form if their first language is not English or if they have other needs.
For advice and guidance from Wirral Change:
- phone 0151 649 8177
- email firstname.lastname@example.org