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10 useful things to know during the festive season

This year might feel more difficult than previous years but don’t feel alone. There’s support available through the holidays and into the new year. No matter who you are or what your situation is, we’re still here to help you! Even if we have revised our opening hours for Christmas (for more info please see here), our website has lots of advice and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Below we have gathered some useful information as we head into the festive break. From Tuesday 3rd January, be reminded that our Adviceline opening hours have been extended to cover evenings and Saturdays, meaning that you can call us when it suits you!

10 useful things to know:

1. What to do if you’re finding things hard this Christmas With the extra pressure that the festive season can bring, our worries and fears may seem worse. You may be feeling like you aren’t enjoying the things you usually do, and you may be worried about friends and family or other things happening in the world. It's important you check in on yourself and look after your well-being. You’re not alone. You can call Samaritans on 116 123. 2. If you’re worried about your finances and thinking about borrowing money We know Christmas can be expensive. If you're worrying more about money at this time of year, it may seem tempting to borrow money to cover costs. Most people will need to borrow money at some stage to tide them over in an emergency, to buy larger items, or to fund a special event. Before you borrow money, it's important to make sure you will be able to keep up the repayments, otherwise, you could be taken to court and might even lose your home or other valuable possessions. Find out more here about the different ways to borrow money, how to borrow sensibly and how to avoid some of the pitfalls of borrowing which can lead to problems with debt. 3. If you’re struggling to afford food If you’re struggling to afford food, you might be able to get help from a food bank. Food banks are community organisations that can help if you can’t afford the food you need. You’ll usually need to get a referral to a food bank before you can use it. This includes all food banks run by the Trussell Trust. You can get a referral for yourself and any family members you live with - including your partner. You might be able to use some food banks without a referral - for example, if it’s run by a church. Contact your local food bank to see if you need a referral. 4. If you or someone you know needs emergency housing If you’re worried about yourself or someone you know becoming homeless contact Shelter. Shelter can also give you information about night shelters and emergency housing issues. 5. If you need help with the cost of living If you don’t have enough money to live on, you might be able to get help to afford essentials like bills and food. This includes the Household Support Fund and cost of living payments. You should check if you can claim benefits - you might be able to do this even if you have a job. For more information, please visit Citizens Advice website. 6. If you’re struggling to pay your bills With the cost of living rising you might be struggling to afford your bills. There are things you can do if you're struggling to pay your bills - for example, your energy bills, rent, and council tax. But don’t feel alone, we can help. Check Citizens Advice website for more help. 7. If you can’t afford to top up your meter You can get temporary credit if you can’t afford to top up your meter. Your supplier might add this to your meter automatically when you run out of credit, or you might have to contact them and ask. Find out who your energy supplier is if you're not sure. During the festive season, remember to check the opening times for your top-up point as most shops and Post Offices will be closed during bank holidays. 8. If you are thinking to work out your budget The new year is a good time to start budgeting. Use our budgeting tool to help you understand what you’re earning and spending, and where you might be able to cut costs 9. If you’re worried about gambling The festive holidays can be a difficult time for people that are trying to control their gambling and/or are affected by gambling harms. If you're worried about your gambling, you can read more here. You might also want to:

  • limit how much you gamble

  • talk to someone about your gambling problem

  • get help to deal with debt

  • check if you can get a refund if you’ve borrowed money

  • complain if you were allowed to gamble after you self-excluded

  • get support if you’re finding things difficult

You can also get help if you’re worried about someone else’s gambling. Whether you are looking for support for yourself, a friend, or a family member, GamCare can help. 10. If you need help with something you’ve ordered but hasn’t arrived If you bought something from a business to be delivered, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. If the seller used a courier, they should chase the courier to find out what’s happened to your order - it’s not your responsibility. Check the delivery address you gave the seller. Then contact them and ask where your order is. If the seller claims they've delivered it or don't know where it is, you can ask for a re-delivery. You might be able to get a refund in some circumstances. For more information, please see here.

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