Local Offer SEND Information Hub
Here is an easy read leaflet from winter 2022/23 about help for people in Manchester. It includes what to do if you get ill, support with money and ways to keep warm.
Go to the Local Offer SEND Information Hub.
Digital and online support
Manchester City Council's Digital Inclusion team can support residents in getting online.
The service offers free telephone support to people who have internet at home but don’t have the skills or confidence to use it effectively. Text 07860 064128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re a Manchester resident over 18 and finding it difficult to pay for data on your device, you can get a free SIM that comes loaded with free data. This will give you free internet access for six months, no monthly top up required. Just call into your local library. Low-cost devices are available from the team’s partners: https://shop.communitycomputers.co.uk/. To boost your digital skills, there are many locations across the city offering free classes and drop-ins - see Manchester Adult Education Digital Skills or go to the directory and search by postcode or ward to find your nearest class. Find out more on www.letsgetdigitalmanchester.com.
AbilityNet IT support: AbilityNet’s digital accessibility services provide free IT support to people with disabilities of any age. They also have lots of other free resources and information.
Cheaper broadband: Millions of households are missing out on cheaper broadband bills. Many providers offer social tariffs for households on certain welfare benefits, such as Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance. They’re delivered in the same way as normal packages, just at a lower price. Visit Ofcom to find out more.
Staying safe online: As many families spend more time online, cyber security threats and fraud are increasing. Here's some guidance to help keep you safe and secure:
- Government guidance on cyber security threats and being cyber-aware
- Zoom-bombing – how to prevent hackers from gate-crashing and posting disturbing content in your Zoom get-togethers
- Inclusive Digital Safety - Resources to support parents and professionals working with a range of children with vulnerabilities, including children with special and education needs and disabilities.
- Action Fraud have guidance in this area. This is also the place to report cyber crime.
ENERGY NEWS (Autumn 23): Greater Manchester Combined Authority is helping low income and vulnerable households to access free energy efficiency measures that could lower energy bills. Find out more and check if you might be eligible.
CITIZENS ADVICE MANCHESTER: Manchester Citizens Advice have specialist Energy Advisers who can support you with managing energy costs or accessing available support. Check out their Energy Advice information.
THE NEA: The NEA Action for Warm Homes has helpful guidance around energy bills. This includes advice around contacting your supplier, energy schemes like the Warm Home Discount and Winter Fuel Payment, signing up to the Priority Register, and making your home more energy efficient. They also have a Home Energy Checklist leaflet, including what to do if your supplier goes bust.
HELPFUL VIDEOS: Did you know that heating rooms makes up 65% of your home energy costs? Take a look at this short video on using simple tricks to reduce your heating costs at home. STEP Energy also have videos on reducing bills when using hot water, laundry appliances and lights.
Priority Services Register: The Priority Services Register is a free support service to help people in vulnerable situations, including if there is a powercut. National charity Contact are encouraging parents of children with disabilities or who rely on medical equipment to sign up to the Priority Services Register ahead of possible power cuts this winter. Contact your energy supplier directly to join their register. Find out more.
Here is easy read guidance around support with water and power cuts and how to get on the priority register.
What to do if your supplier goes bust (October 21): Due to the increase in wholesale global gas prices and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may see more suppliers than usual exiting the energy market. You won’t stop receiving gas and electricity. Ofgem, the energy supplier regulator, will automatically switch you to a new supplier so there won't be any interruption. If you are notified that your energy supplier is going out of business, there are some simple steps you can take:
- Check out this advice from Ofgem.
- Make a note or take a photo of your meter reading as soon as possible
- Download any bills while you're waiting for your new supplier to contact you
- If you're in a vulnerable situation, check out what extra help might be available from Ofgem.
Disabled Living: Disabled Living is a charity, offering free, impartial information about services for disabled individuals and those that support them. This includes advice about products and equipment from a specialist Equipz team. They also have a Supplier Directory.
Fledglings non-profit Shop: Fledgli ngs is part of the charity Contact and sells clothing, toys and sensory products.
Cheap eats: To find out places where kids eat for free (or for a £1) during school holidays, see Money Saving Centre.
Food banks in Manchester: See Greater Together Manchester's information on food aid providers in Greater Manchester.
Preventing waste: Love Food give advice about how to make food stay fresher and last longer; they also offer ideas on what to do with leftovers. You can find out about where to store food to help it last longer and recipes that make the most of the food you have and prevent waste.
School meals: For information on free school meals, see this Manchester City Council information.
(April 2023) Research carried out by Contact reveals that a third of eligible disabled children are unable to access their free school meal due to medical and sensory reasons. The charity is supporting a parent-led campaign calling for food vouchers to be given to these children, the equivalent of £570 a year in financial help. Some parents have successfully argued for a food voucher instead of a cooked meal in school. They used the law that says that schools should make reasonable adjustments for disabled people so that they don’t face disadvantage. Read more on Contact’s website.
Evictions and enforcement action: If you're struggling with rent, it's important to seek help early. Get in touch with Citizens Advice Manchester - see their website. Manchester City Council can help you if you are at risk of losing your home.
Housing guides: There are some housing guides for autistic and/or learning disabled people produced by the Greater Manchester Autism and Learning Disability Housing Implementation Group, including renting a home and threat of eviction.
Manchester Citizens Advice: For information on support options around mortgages and renting, contact Manchester Citizens Advice – see their website for contact details and their Out of Advice Service (6pm-9pm, 7 days a week).
If your rent has increased and you can’t afford the payments, the best thing you can do is talk to your landlord and try to reach an agreement. If you don’t feel confident speaking to your landlord, contact Citizens Advice.
Help with water bills: United Utilities are asking customers having difficulty paying bills to get in touch. There is support for people who are struggling. See their website for more information.