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Local Council Support: What you can get from your local authority for free

Local councils provide several different services, support schemes and freebies if you know where to look. Before you find out what’s available in your area, you need to make sure you’re speaking to the right people.
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Local councils provide several different services, support schemes and freebies if you know where to look. Before you find out what’s available in your area, you need to make sure you’re speaking to the right people. 

If you work far away from where you live, and you’re in need of work-related benefits, that might fall into a neighbouring council’s jurisdiction. Similarly, if you’re trying to get support for your child who attends a school in a different, nearby council area, you might need to speak to them instead of your own local authority. 

Once you’re in the right place, there’s lots of stuff you can access, at no charge, from your council - like free PPE, use of a computer, a variety of classes, swimming lessons, cycling training and help with debt advice.


James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk said: “If you’re keen to find out what services your local council has available, a great place to start is your local library.

“Many of the council funded classes, schemes and free support packages can be found here, so it’s worth checking out their website or popping in for a visit. 

“The sites should be updated periodically, but it’s also a great idea to sign up to any mailing lists or local WhatsApp/Facebook groups to keep on top of any changes or newly introduced schemes.  

“Two of the most popular local classes are usually swimming lessons and free cycle training, which are both available in dozens of local authorities across the UK.

“The exact details vary with location and depend on the ages of the people applying – however you should be able to find all the information you need on your local council website. If you’re not sure where to look, put your postcode into the Government council page and it’ll direct you to the right place.

“Although it’s a given these days that everyone has access to a smartphone, it’s easy to forget that there are still those with no access to a regular desktop or laptop computer. 

“Since many things are now optimized for mobile, this might not sound like much of an issue. However, there are still dozens of bills, forms and tests that require a traditional computer to do properly, causing a problem for anyone without easy access to one. 

“If you don’t have a computer at home or at work, your local council should have a list of all the locations that will give you access to a computer and a printer, as well as the times you’ll be able to use them for free.

“Even though we’re over a year into the pandemic, there are still hundreds of people across the UK supporting vulnerable family members and friends. If you’re working as an unpaid carer to someone in the community, you might be able to pick up a shipment of free PPE to help keep you safe. 

“If your council does offer this as a service, the details will be on the local authority website – usually found under their COVID page. Although the PPE can usually be picked up from a number of collection points, you’ll likely need to get in touch beforehand to check if you’re eligible for the scheme. 

“If you’re still struggling to cope with any household bills or other financial matters, perhaps due to overdue bills or debts, check out the money.co.uk guide to managing debt during the pandemic, found here: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/managing-your-debt-during-coronavirus.htm”.

Press@money.co.uk