Essential Living Fund
This scheme is a grant system and is open for anyone to claim. The scheme is run by Southend on Sea Borough Council for the whole of Essex. Brentwood Borough Council can not deal with any enquiries about the scheme.
To see whether you qualify for the award you will need to answer questions about your income, earnings and savings. You also need to give proof of your financial situation.
The scheme can cover applications for:
- furniture - such as a bed, settee, armchair, wardrobe, table
- furnishings - such as carpets, curtains, bedding
- white goods - such as cookers, fridge, washing machines
- household equipment - such as cooking utensils, small electrical appliances
- fuel connection (or re-connection) charges
- clothing and footwear
- general living expenses - these are day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, cleaning/hygiene products, money for pay as you go fuel meters.
If you are awarded the grant you will not be paid in cash or into a bank account. Instead it will be:
- food or supermarket vouchers
- AllPay cards
- high quality recycled furniture from reputable charity
- white goods from a reputable local dealer.
How to apply for an Essential Living Fund grant
For General Living Expenses (e.g. groceries, nappies, toiletries, hygiene products and fuel) apply by calling us on 0300 7900124 between 8:45am - 5:15pm.
For furniture/white goods/clothing and footwear/household equipment by using the online application form:
- For residents of Brentwood or those who live in any other part of Essex than Thurrock or Southend use the Essex online form
- If you live within the Southend on Sea Borough use the Southend on Sea online form
- If you live within the Thurrock Borough use the Thurrock online form
Note: any furniture, furnishing or household equipment will be secondhand. White goods will be reconditioned.
This is operated by Southend on Sea Borough Council and not by Brentwood Borough Council.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Who do I contact about the Essential Living Fund?
In all instances Southend on Sea Borough Council's Essential Living Fund Team. Call them on 0300 7900124 (this number is charged at local rates from any number including mobiles and must be included in any minutes you have with your mobile contract) Opening hours: 8.45 to 5.15.Brentwood Borough Council does not deal with queries about the Essential Living Fund.
Q) I work and receive an income, can I still apply for an Essential Living Fund?
Yes you can. You can make an application if you are in receipt of benefit or working and receive a low income. All applications are considered and all financial information and personal circumstances will be looked at to determine whether you are eligible. This decision will be made by the Essential Living Fund Team of Southend on Sea Borough Council. Brentwood Borough Council has no say in the decision making process at all.
Q) How many times can I use the fund?
In order to protect the fund from persistent claimers Southend on Sea Borough Council decided to limit the number of applications. Limiting the number of repeat claims will ensure that the fund is not abused and is available for those in true need.
For help with furniture, furnishings, household equipment, clothing, footwear it will not normally be appropriate to make an award for the same expense if it has been less than 12 months since the last application, unless, there has been a relevant change in circumstances that require a reapplication for the same expense - for example an application is made and agreed for a bed, the bed is destroyed in a house fire and the applicant applies for another bed.
For help with 'general living expenses' no more than 3 awards should be given in any 12 month rolling period.
NOTE: For each application within the 12 month period the ELF team may offer additional advice or direct you to those who have more advance expertise in helping you overcome financial issues and budgeting problems.
Q) I have lost my award letter or forgotten my reference number what shall I do?
If you lose your award letter or forget your reference number contact the ELF team on the Hotline number 0300 7900124 do not contact Brentwood Borough Council.
Q) I have been granted items or furniture, how do I go about getting them?
The Essential Living Fund Team will explain how you get the items in a decision letter.
Q) I have been awarded an AllPay card. What is it and how does it work?
An AllPay card will be awarded in the main for the following:
- Gas and Electric emergency top ups
An AllPay card is similar to a Visa debit card. The card can be used in any store that accepts Visa. The card is only to be used for the purchase of the items applied for in the application form.
An amount of credit will be loaded onto a card. The Essential Living Fund Team will tell you the specific allocation point you need to pick the card up from and what you will need to bring in order to receive the card.
Once you have the card the letter that accompanies the card will have an activation code. You will need to contact Allpay using the phone number on the letter to activate the card. Once activated you will be able to use the card in the relevant shops to purchase your goods or to top up your gas and electric. The letter will also detail the terms and conditions on using the card for example what shops the card will not work in and that the card can not be used in a cash machine.