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There are a number of independent organisations which offer advice on a range of subjects, from disability and ill health to wellbeing and financial worries. Find out more about the services they offer below.

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Energy and fuel advice

Looking for free impartial advice and information on your energy bills? Visit the Simple Energy Advice website for tips on how to make your home warmer, greener and ways to save money. 

If you need support from a food bank this winter, use the links below to find your local one with information on how to use it.

Kent County Council

The Trussell Trust

East Hampshire District Council

Fare Share

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Money Advice Plus

Money Advice Plus is a registered charity with headquarters in Hove, helping and supporting people experiencing difficulty managing their money or financial affairs. In partnership with Surviving Economic Abuse Money Advice Plus operate The Financial Support Line for Victims of Domestic Abuse.

Money Advice Plus is the only UK charity that provides dedicated support to victim-survivors of domestic abuse with their money worries to increase financial stability.

Surviving Economic Abuse is the only UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of economic abuse and transforming responses to it.

Please go to The Financial Support Line for Victims of Domestic Abuse for further information. You can also access additional resources here: I need help - Surviving Economic Abuse

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Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS)

If you are having serious difficulties managing your income due to a crisis or if you are facing exceptional pressures because of an emergency, loss of employment or as a direct result of the coronavirus, the Kent Support and Assistance Service (KSAS) may be able to help you.

There could also be help available if you or someone in your household is returning to the community after living in supported housing, an institution, or a care setting.

You will need to fill out an application form to apply for help.

If successful, and you have no other current means of support, KSAS will offer short term support by means of goods and/or services such as:

• supermarket vouchers
• pre-paid energy and clothing vouchers for school uniform (non-branded)
• or household items required to meet your basic needs if there are no other means of assistance available.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide money.

Wherever possible we want to help you stay in (or move back into) your local community and can offer support up to three times in a rolling 12-month period (but can only offer help for the same reason once during this period except in exceptional circumstances).

The service is discretionary and offers support as much as it can however, unfortunately there are some circumstances where it's unable to help. For example:

• the replacement of broken items
• continued or long-term support where it has already provided help
• your circumstances don’t meet minimum requirements for support from this service

Further information is available here.

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Children & Families

Children & Families is a charitable group which aims to address child poverty and food poverty through different initiatives, such as:

  • Children Centres
  • Nurseries
  • Early Years Development & Support
  • Family Support Work
  • Budgeting & Money Management
  • Fuel & Water Efficiency Advice
  • Family Food Bank
  • FareShare Kent

It provides universal services all families can access as well as targeted services to those in need of additional support. Its work broadly focuses on ensuring children can be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing.

Its aim is to provide high quality services that are value for money and deliver positive outcomes.

For more information visit: www.children-families.org

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Citizens Advice Canterbury District

Citizens Advice Canterbury District has been in existence since 1940 when it was set up as Canterbury and Whitstable Citizens Advice Bureau and Herne Bay Citizens Advice Bureau. It is a local charity and part of the national Citizens Advice network. It provides free, confidential, impartial and independent advice to residents of the Canterbury District, delivered by a team of friendly, trained advisers.

Most people who contact Citizens Advice are seeking advice about money/debt, benefits, housing or employment issues, but they also tackle a range of other issues as well, from consumer matters to immigration and relationship issues. If they can't help you with your problem they promise to signpost you to an organisation that can.

For more information, visit their site here.

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Citizens Advice Maidstone

Citizens Advice Maidstone has been in existence since 1940 when it was set up as Maidstone Citizens Advice Bureau. It is a local charity and part of the national Citizens Advice network. It provides free, confidential, impartial and independent advice to residents of the Borough of Maidstone, delivered by a team of friendly, trained advisers.

Most people who contact Citizens Advice are seeking advice about money/debt, benefits, housing or employment issues, but they also tackle a range of other issues as well, from consumer matters to relationship issues. If they can't help you with your problem they promise to signpost you to an organisation that can.

For more information, visit their site here.

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Citizens Advice Swale

Citizens Advice Swale is part of the national Citizens Advice network. It provides free, confidential, impartial and independent advice to residents of the Borough of Swale, delivered by a team of friendly, trained advisers.

Most people who contact Citizens Advice are seeking advice about money/debt, benefits, housing or employment issues, but they also tackle a range of other issues as well, from consumer matters to relationship issues. If they can't help you with your problem they promise to signpost you to an organisation that can.

For more information, visit their site here.

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Citizens Advice Hampshire

We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. Citizens Advice believes no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.

That’s why Citizens Advice is here to give people the knowledge and the confidence they need to find their way forward - whoever they are, and whatever their problem. The network of independent charities offers confidential advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free.

Citizens Advice also gives advice on consumer rights on the consumer helpline, support witnesses in courts through the Witness Service and give pension guidance to people aged over 50.

For more information, visit their site here.

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Citizens Advice North and West Kent

Citizens Advice in North and West Kent (CANWK) is an independent charity affiliated to national Citizens Advice. It provides advice and support to anyone in need across Dartford, Gravesham, Sevenoaks, Swanley and Tonbridge & Malling.

It gives people the knowledge and confidence they need to find their way forward – whoever they are and whatever their problem. It also provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to people with a wide variety of issues, including debt and money matters, benefits, employment, housing and immigration. In addition to advice services, it also works proactively to help people develop the skills and knowledge to avoid reaching crisis points, for example through budgeting and money management, scams awareness and energy saving sessions across our community.

For more information, visit their site here.

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Citizens Advice Wealden

We can all face problems that seem complicated or intimidating. At Wealden Citizens Advice, we believe no one should have to face these problems without good quality, independent advice.

We offer confidential advice over the phone, via email and in person, for free. When we say we’re here for everyone, we mean it. People rely on us because we’re independent and totally impartial.

We help people with a range of problems including issues with housing, debt, benefits, employment, relationships and consumer rights. Sometimes people have more than one issue they need help with.

For general information click Citizens Advice or for more specific advice…

Free phone 0808 278 7811 Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm

Text to Call - simply text ADVICE with your name & postcode to 81400 and we will call you back

Email via www.wealdencitzensadvice.org.uk

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Age Concern Hampshire

Age Concern Hampshire has a dedicated team of staff and volunteers which provides services to promote wellbeing and support older people and their carers.

Services include but not limited to:

  • Help at Home - Whether you need someone to do housework, have a chat or run errands they can help make life easier for you
  • Information Services - Staffed by a team of highly trained volunteers, the service has been highly praised for the dedication of its volunteers and the quality of its information. They can also help with form filling with applications such as the Attendance Allowance or the Blue Badge scheme
  • Footcare - Age Concern Hampshire’s toenail cutting service helps over-50s to stay active and remain mobile. The service is available in Andover, Basingstoke, Locks Heath, Odiham, Overton and Havant
  • Community Volunteers - For those in rural areas, volunteers can help people find the information and support they need to stay living safely and independently
  • Care and Wellbeing Centres - Age Concern's Care and Wellbeing centres specialise in supporting people who require extra assistance due to their physical or mental health needs. As well as the practical things like help at meal times, bathing and personal care, they provide a caring and safe environment where you can make friends and have fun. Throughout COVID they are also offering wellbeing calls and home visits for older people living alone to provide companionship

Find out more: https://www.ageconcernhampshire.org.uk/

Address: Age Concern Hampshire, Centre Way. Locks Heath, Southampton, SO31 6DX

Telephone: 01962 868545

Email: enquiries@ageconcernhampshire.org.uk

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Money Helper

At South East Water, we are committed to supporting our customers who experience money worries.

Whilst we are doing all we can to help our customers, we recognise there may be other debts that you need help and advice with. If you are worried about debts or have missed payments, there is also free and independent debt advice available.

The government sponsored Money Helper can help you find support via: https://adviser.moneyhelper.org.uk/en

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Mid Kent Mind

Mid Kent Mind is a dedicated team based in Maidstone which provides mental health support to people experiencing mild-to-moderate mental health problems in Maidstone, Ashford, Swale and the surrounding areas.

Services include, but are not limited to:

Community Groups: Designed to bring people together to learn new skills such as cooking or arts and crafts whilst also benefitting from the positives that peer-to-peer support brings with it.

Cognitive Behavioural Coaching Courses: Structured courses providing both adults and young people with a safe space to learn more about what they are experiencing and develop skills for coping with those problems. Its most popular adult course is called ‘Coping with Life’ and explores anxiety, depression and stress amongst other subject matter.

Low Cost Counselling: Low-Cost talking therapies designed to provide people with a safe space and time every week to talk to a counsellor and gain support for whatever difficulties they may be experiencing. 

Out-Of-Hours Support: Support in the form of drop-in Café services, currently running virtually, designed to provide people with an opportunity to offload and seek support out of hours. (Please be aware this does not currently cover crisis support).

To find out more details on all services, please visit: https://www.midkentmind.org.uk

Telephone: 01622 692383

E-Mail: mindhelp@midkentmind.org.uk

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Care for the Carers East Sussex

Do you look after a friend, family member or neighbour who couldn’t manage without your help?

If you are looking after someone who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction could not cope without you, you may be an unpaid carer.

Care for the Carers is the Carers Centre for East Sussex. It can help unpaid carers of all ages with:

  • Information, guidance and support
  • Free carers activities including cookery classes and wellbeing sessions
  • Counselling for adults, parent carers and 12-18 year olds
  • An emergency plan if you are unable to look after someone
  • Connecting with other carers through carers groups
  • Registering for a carers card to receive discounts and offers

Visit: www.cftc.org.uk

Call: 01323 738390

Text: 07860 077300

Email: info@cftc.org.uk

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Kent Fire and Rescue Service

Kent Fire and Rescue Service offer a free Safe and Well home visit service for people living in Kent and Medway.

From testing, fitting and relocating smoke alarms, to looking out for potential fire hazards and planning escape routes - one of our friendly home safety officers can help to make your home fire safe. Book a free visit for yourself or a loved one today by calling 0800 923 70000 or visiting our website for further information.

Find out more: https://www.kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/home-safety/safe-and-well-visits/

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SeeAbility

SeeAbility delivers specialist social care support for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to help them achieve their ambitions within the communities where they live.

Registered as The Royal School for the Blind, SeeAbility is one of the oldest disability charities in the UK and has pioneered specialist support for over 220 years.

Services include but are not limited to:

  • Accommodation and support services - we provide highly specialist support for people with learning disabilities and autism, many of whom have sight loss. SeeAbility’s comprehensive in-house team of specialists, ensures that each person we support gets exactly the right kind of expert attention they need when they need it, so they can make more choices about what they want from life every day. If you would like more information about being supported by SeeAbility now or in the future email referrals@seeability.org
  • Eye care services – people with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to have a problem with their eyes (28 times more likely for children). SeeAbility provides resources and information on how to be eye care aware, get the right support and who to contact for an accessible sight test. Visit https://www.seeability.org/eye-care for more information.
  • Digital inclusion– people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss are more likely to be digitally excluded and face financial, accessibility and skills barriers. SeeAbility provides resources, training and information for individuals and community groups to improve their digital skills. To find out more visit: https://www.seeability.org/digital-inclusion/staying-connected
  • Supported employment - Ready, Willing and Able is SeeAbility’s supported employment programme which provides support to both participants and employers to provide opportunities for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to move into work, develop their career and realise their ambitions. Find out more here: https://www.seeability.org/supported-employment-ready-willing-and-able.

Find out more: https://www.seeability.org/

Address: SeeAbility, Newplan House, 41 East Street, Epsom, Surrey KT17 1BL

General enquiries: Telephone:01372 755500 Email: enquiries@seeability.org

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The Kent Autistic Trust

Family support information service providing:

  • Information on Autism and related subjects
  • Information on education, social and health services
  • Information and support on disabilty benefits
  • Promote awareness of Autism and quality services needed
  • Training on Autism and associated subjects
  • Various support groups
  • Information email network group
  • Autism alert card


Contact/links for services:

Support groups: www.katfamilysupport.co.uk/support-groups


Autism Information Advisors:

office@kentautistic.com

FAQ's: www.katfamilysupport.co.uk/q-a

Call: 01634 405168

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Basingstoke and District Disability Forum

Basingstoke and District Disability Forum (BDDF) offers support for anyone affected by disability within our local community, including Disabled people and their families, carers, our fellow charities and local businesses. BDDF promotes inclusion and opportunities for anyone living with a disability, chronic pain or impairment.

Our aim is to healthily promote both visible and non-visible disability and those who live it by increasing awareness, providing information and bringing people together. BDDF is a free to join, membership-based organization. We are committed to delivering all our services completely free, which include the following activities:

  • Weekly mobility improving seated yoga
  • Weekly guided fully accessible walks
  • Monthly Cuppa & Chat
  • Monthly Chronic Pain Support Group meetings
  • Disability signposting service
  • Basic IT and digital confidence courses
  • Annual Disability Awareness Days
  • Fundraising Chineham & Sherfield Park Scarecrow Trail with opportunities to volunteer

Our website has more information on all our services Basingstoke & District Disability Forum

Contact us at info@BDDF.org.uk or telephone 01256 423869

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East Sussex Hearing

East Sussex Hearing is a small independent charity that has been serving the deaf and hard of hearing community for over 20 years.

The centre is open for everyone for free advice on all aspects of hearing loss. The sessions are every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4pm.

The services provided are:

Demonstration of hearing assistive equipment such as amplified telephones, extra loud doorbells, TV and personal listeners

  • Sign language classes
  • Lipreading classes
  • NHS hearing aid maintenance and replacement batteries (please bring your brown NHS battery book)
  • Deaf Awareness Training (DAT)

You can contact them at For more information email: mail@eshrc.org or head to the website at www.eshrc.org

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Support for over 60s

Providing support for over 60s including:

  • Information & advice – helping people to know their rights and make the best choices for later life.
  • Health & care - putting people in control of the care they receive and sharing best practice to improve services.
  • Wellbeing - tackle loneliness, get older people active, and support people to stay independent for longer.

Age UK National: 0800 678 1602

Age UK Gravesend: 01474 564898

Age UK Maidstone: 01474 564898

Age UK East Sussex: 01273 476704

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/

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Involve

Involve is a charity based in Maidstone. Its focus is to improve health, empowering people and communities to live well and tackling the root causes of ill health including isolation, loneliness, disadvantage and frailty.

It believes age is not a barrier to good health, and works to the World Health Organisation definition of health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

Services

Actively Involved
A new Kent service which improves health and happiness for those 55 and over or living with complex health conditions. Its aim is to help find the support you need to improve your health, empowering you and people in your community. It wants to tackle the root causes of ill health, which can include isolation, loneliness and frailty.

Carers
For those who provide care, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without support.

Young Adult Carers (West Kent)
For those who provide care and help look after a relative or friend who could not manage without their support and are aged 16-24.

Connect Well Directory (West Kent)
Connect Well West Kent is an online directory with over 600 services and activities accessible to people living in West Kent.
www.connectwellwestkent.org.uk
Email: wk.connectwell@nhs.net

Community Projects
A diverse range of projects aimed at reducing loneliness, increasing wellbeing and resilience and improving health across Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling areas. Clients include the most vulnerable and socially isolated to promote empowerment through integration within the community.

Wellbeing Groups - Community Projects (Maidstone)
A selection of groups aimed at promoting wellbeing and resilience for those who are socially excluded or isolated with the aim of improving wellbeing through empowering activities and peer support.

Cancer & Bereavement Support - Community Projects (Maidstone & Malling)
Its cancer support services provide emotional, practical and non-statutory advocacy support to people living in Maidstone and Malling affected by cancer. Involve understands that living with Cancer can feel lonely and may cause a range of emotions and needs that affect daily life.

The Bereavement Group offers an opportunity to meet and talk with others who are going through similar experiences over tea and coffee in a friendly and supportive environment.

Helping you Home (Hospital Discharge Service – Maidstone Borough only) - Community Projects
Involve Kent works alongside Maidstone Borough Council and Hospitals in and around Maidstone to provide a Helping You Home Service to assist with Changing locks, Key Safes, installing light bulbs, Moving Furniture, Prevent slips, trips and falls, Smoke Alarms, Stair rail, Home Safety Check, Installing Life Lines (lifeline24).

Connect Well Directory (West Kent)
Connect Well West Kent is a directory with over 600 services and activities accessible to people living in West Kent.
www.connectwellwestkent.org.uk

Email: wk.connectwell@nhs.net

Transport (Maidstone)
For people who live in the Maidstone and Malling area and do not have access to public transport because of age, frailty, illness and disability or injury. Journeys can be anywhere in the UK – it covers trips to London Hospital’s as well as specialist hospitals and clinics around the country.

Volunteering
Is at the heart of what it does and often creates a symbiotic relationship between volunteer and service user. If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch.

Email: communitynavigation@involvekent.org.uk

Call: 03000 810005

www.involvekent.org.uk

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