Financial insecurity: guidance to local authorities over winter 2021-2022

Guidance to assist local authorities in deploying funding to support households experiencing financial insecurity over the winter 2021-2022.

The national helpline

The Coronavirus National Assistance Helpline was set up by Scottish Government as a resource to connect those who have queries or issues relating to COVID-19 and require help to access local services. Once the caller is connected to the relevant local authority, call handlers advise individuals on local sources of support (which can include help with practical things such as food or essential medicine delivery, or social support) or refer them on to other specialist services. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

  • Telephone (0800 111 4000)
  • Text phone service (0800 111 4114)

A text phone number is available to enable those who are hard of hearing to access the helpline.

Community food organisations

In order to enable people to access food that meets their needs and preferences, and to reduce the need for food banks, the Scottish Government is promoting cash-first responses as the first port of call when someone is experiencing an income crisis. Further information.
Community food organisations often provide a range of wellbeing supports, including opportunities to grow, prepare and share food, food parcels, and meal and shopping delivery services. Many are open to all and also provide food aid when needed. Nourish Scotland and the Dignity Peer Network have produced advice on how to maintain dignity in community food provision.

  • FareShare distribute surplus and donated food from the food industry to community organisations. They operate from four regional depots and are able to reach organisations in every local authority area. For more information, visit: FareShare Scotland - FareShare
  • The Food Train work to prevent older people from becoming malnourished, including through the delivery of groceries, meals and befriending services. For more information, visit: About Us - The Food Train

The Scottish Community Development Centre and Public Health Scotland have produced guidance for community organisations on restarting services and creating covid-safe spaces.

Support with energy costs

  • Home Energy Scotland provide free, impartial advice across Scotland on reducing energy bills and making homes warmer and cheaper to heat.  They can also make referrals for financial assistance, where required.  Visit  for more information or email  to find out more about working in partnership.

  • The Fuel Bank Foundation work with national and local partners to provide same-day emergency energy pre-payment top ups, accompanied by easy to action advice with the aim of tackling self-disconnection Through their Fuel Bank Heat Fund they can also organise deliveries of fuel for those using solid or liquid fuels, e.g. coal or LPG, who would otherwise be unable to afford to purchase it.  To find out about partners in your area or to become a partner, contact 
  • Advice Direct Scotland (ADS) operate the Home Heating Support Fund which provides financial support to households at risk of self-rationing their energy use and can include support with energy debt.  To find out more, including how to work in partnership with ADS visit their website.
  • The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) operate the Social Housing Fuel Support Fund which helps social landlords to support tenants who are struggling with fuel costs.  For further information on the application process and successful projects in your area, please contact

No recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Migrants’ Rights and Entitlements to Local Authority Services and Support sets out the legal framework and good practice guidance to assist local authorities in meeting their statutory duties when working with people who have NRPF. 

There is also supplementary guidance to support local authorities in the context of Covid-19.



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