Skip to main content

Community help, advice and volunteering

Latest advice for those shielding

Find out more about the latest shielding advice from the government .

How to get help and support

People in need to help and advice should go to our website  to find help quickly. Organisations from across the county have contributed to the online information, which includes a new search tool, and support for people struggling to feed themselves or their families, debt and housing advice, benefits and financial grants, mental wellbeing and more. There is also a list of different mental health and wellbeing support options in Cumbria on this section of our website.

For residents who need urgent help finding food and essential items, or if they are struggling to cope with their current situation for whatever reason, they are advised to call our Support Helpline on 0800 783 1966 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 4.30pm).

Allerdale Citizens Advice 

Go to their website or call the Allerdale office on 01900 604735. Free advice on debt, benefits and housing problems, and making sure you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. Including advice on struggling to pay your bills.

West Cumbria Community Money Advice

Go to their website or their offices at the Bridge Centre, Central Square, Workington Tel: 01900 62677) and The Hub, 2 Market Street, Cockermouth (01900 821100). If you are struggling with debt then contact for free, confidential, and impartial advice.

Affinity Credit Union

Go to their website or their local office at Campbell Savours Way, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 2AB or call 01900 65723 (Workington) or 01900 702841 (Maryport)

Affinity Credit Union is now offering subsidised new saving accounts for those who are suffering hardship due to Covid-19. This is to encourage people to get into the habit of saving for the future but also offering an option to take a loan from Affinity rather than high interest lenders.

Ways to Welfare (Cumbria County Council)

This service provides information and signposting to services in your area. Providing information on financial assistance, food, housing and more. Go to their website.

Age UK West Cumbria

Provides free information and advice to people aged 50+ in Copeland and Allerdale on a range of issues, including benefits, heating and bills, daily living aids, social isolation, and housing. Tel 08443 843 843.

Community food projects (CFP) are open to all and are not means tested. The majority of the food is surplus from supermarkets, redistributed by an organisation called FareShare. Visiting a CFP can help to lower food bills but also helps the environment. FareShare helps to reduce the amount of food that goes to landfill by redistributing good quality, surplus food, to community groups.

Aspatria Dreamscheme

Rainbow Room, King Street, Aspatria, CA7 3ES Contact: Email 

Offer: 'Rainbow Pantry' Fridays 10am -4pm and 5pm-7pm, open for everyone. Select food for a donation. See ‘Rainbow Room’ on Facebook for details.

Flimby Vulnerable Persons Group

Flimby Band Room, Wedgewood Road. Contact: Facebook 'Flimby Vulnerable Persons Group'

Offer: Community food pantry every Friday 10.30am to 12pm.

Harriston Community Food Pantry

Harriston, Aspatria, CA7 2ED. Contact: Phone 07795907985, or Facebook 'Harriston Village Hall'

Offer: Food pantry every Tuesday 1-3pm, open to everyone. Weekly food club each Thursday, referrals only. Currently accepting new referrals.

Highfield Community Centre

Highfield Road, Cockermouth, CA13 9JF Contact: Facebook 'Highfield Community Association'

Offer: Community food pantry on the second and fourth Friday of every month.

Kings Church Meal Share

The Hub, 4 Market Street, Cockermouth. Contact: 01900 821100,, Facebook 'King’s Church Cockermouth'

Offer: Open Thursday’s 2:30pm for food, pre-prepared meals and debt advice.

Moorclose Community Centre

Needham Drive, Workington, CA14 3SE. Contact: Facebook 'Moorclose Community Centre',

Offer: Regular community food pantries. See Facebook for details.

Northside Community Centre

Trinity Drive, Northside, Workington. Contact: 01900 68739, Facebook 'NC CL'

Offer: Community shop and food pantry. Please see Facebook for details.

Silloth Community Hub

21 Eden Street, Silloth. Contact: Facebook 'Silloth Community Hub'

Offer: Open Tuesdays 5-7pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 10am-2pm

Wigton Food Pantry

St Cuthbert’s Church Hall, Wigton, CA7 9HU. Contact:, 016973 42379

Offer: Every Wednesday 11am – 1pm

Workington Derwent Rotary Community Food Pantry

Contact: 07505 243677, email, Facebook 'Workington Derwent Rotary'

Offer: Community food pantry the first and third Friday of each month. Contact the group for further details.


The North Lakes Foodbank

They can be contacted on 07502311452 and operates across Allerdale at the following locations and times:

  • Maryport - St Mary's Church, Netherhall Corner, CA15 6LL Tues/Thurs 12pm - 2pm and Fri 4pm - 6pm.
  • Cockermouth - Lorton Street Methodist Church, CA13 9RH Tues/Wed/Thurs 10am - 12pm
  • Workington - Bridge Centre, Central Square, CA14 3BG Mon/Wed/Fri 12pm - 2pm
  • Wigton - Cornerstone Methodist Church, 50 High Street, CA7 9PG Tues/Fri 10am - 12pm

Healthy Start Vouchers

Go to healthystart.nhs for eligibility
You could be eligible for free vouchers every week to spend on a variety of food and other goods, such as infant formula milk and vitamins. You could qualify if you're on benefits, or if you're pregnant and under 18.

Free school meals

If you are on a low income and have children attending school, you may be
entitled to free school meals. Check your eligibility and apply online .

Universal Credit

If you’ve lost your job or had your hours reduced, then you might be able to claim. Many miss out because they don’t know what they’re entitled to. You can check by visiting or if you prefer to talk to someone, you can contact Citizens Advice. If you’ve not claimed benefits before, you can find out more about it online .

Test and Trace Support payment scheme

You must self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If you are working and on a low income, you may be entitled to a £500 support payment. For information go to our website page .

Winter Warmth Fund - Age UK West Cumbria

If you are aged 60 and over and struggling with the cost of heating your home, you may be eligible for a grant of up to £250. To apply, please contact: Age UK West Cumbria (Allerdale) 01900 844670.

Help with housing/council tax

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, or are at risk of eviction or homelessness , you can find more information on our website .

If you're having difficulties paying for housing, you should contact your landlord, housing association or mortgage company. Below are your local housing association contacts.

Westfield Housing

Income Management Officer Nicola Pears on 07884752133 or 01900 602906 or email

Impact Housing

Contact or 0344 873 6290 Castles and Coasts - Call 01228 635492 or 0800 085 1171, or email the team at

Home Group

Home Group have trained Financial Inclusion Partners who can give advice and help you get what's rightfully yours. They can also help complete benefit application forms. Contact 0345 141 4663 or speak to your housing manager.

Safeguarding children

People can report concerns about children in the following ways:

Protecting against domestic violence

If you are suffering from domestic violence you do not have to suffer in silence. 

If you need to leave your home contact our homelessness team on 0303 123 1702. You can also call the police on 101 or in an emergency 999.

There is more information in our news release on domestic violence.

Being neighbourly

With more people at home, there is the chance that people may see and hear their neighbours more. Please respect each other. 

There are some simple things you can do to be a better neighbour, such as discussing with them your requirements if you need some quiet time for work. Loud music late at night is also likely to cause trouble.

And if you can't resolve the issue, then give us a call on 0303 123 1702.

Volunteering in your community 

Vulnerable people and elderly people in your community who are staying at home, self-isolating or shielding may need the support of volunteers - could you help?

If you want to help and volunteer your services, register with the GoodSam app online .

Food Bank support

If  you can't make it to any of the Food Bank drop-off points, you can donate money direct to them via their web page .

Advice for volunteer groups

The latest government guidance for staying at home and away from others says people may leave home 'to provide care or to help a vulnerable person' - we hope this will reassure people that it is still OK to shop for neighbours, friends or family members. We would advise volunteers to make themselves familiar with the guidance below and the latest guidance on

More advice is available via these websites:

Other groups that offer help and assistance

The council is coordinating efforts to help communities. There website has a wealth of information for residents.

The are many established community and volunteer groups such as Cumbria CVS, as well as Cumbria Community Foundation (CCF) who may be able to provide financial help.

Go to the Cumbria CVS website

Go to the CCF website

People First, in conjunction with other agencies, has put in place a Covid-19 support service for people with learning disabilities or autism. Called Keeping People Connected, it includes check and chat calls to understand and assess their current situation, including issues such as health and well-being and food supplies. The contact is Chris Tolley by email .

Beware of fake Covid marshals and medical professionals

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has received reports of incidences involving people pretending to be COVID marshals and medical professionals to gain access to people's homes.

This particular version of the scam is an updated form of one witnessed during the pandemic in the summer involving fake healthcare professionals offering bogus COVID-19 tests to gain access to homes.

The marshals, officially called COVID-19 secure marshals, do not have the power to enforce social distancing, issue fines, or the right to enter homes.

Council Strategy design

Cumberland Council

On 1 April 2023 local government in Cumbria changed, with Cumberland Council providing all your council services.  

Don't worry though, your bins will be emptied as normal, and you'll still be able to speak to the same team about any enquiries to do with things like council tax, benefits, planning or any other service.

Find out more about the changes.

Keep up to date by finding and following the new council on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

Sign-up to receive updates straight to your email inbox.

Accessibility and language tool

Use the ReciteMe toolbar for accessibility and language options