Toggle menu

Household Support Fund

Household Support Fund 3 (HSF3) - October 2022 to March 2023

Councils have been given further funding by the Government to support low income and vulnerable households that are struggling with cost of living pressures - especially energy costs.

HSF3 is also a very small part of the overall support that the government is providing to households. Please look on for details of other government help available, additional help with energy costs/energy efficiency, and other support services/schemes.

The Sunderland Council HSF3 Scheme is based on the Department for Work and Pensions Guidance and is made up of the following support. HSF3 is not intended to be a Crisis Support Scheme and all awards are discretionary rather than being a legal entitlement and are also based on available/remaining funding.

Targeted Automatic Support Payments

The following payments will be made automatically based on the information that the council held in November 2022 and that Together for Children hold for Free School Meals entitlements. Households do not need to apply for these:

  • Payments to all low income pensioners receiving Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit and/or Pensioners receiving Adult Social Care Services from the council (and where not in Residential Care). The value of the payments will depend on final numbers of households' that are being supported but it's estimated that approximately 12,500 households' will receive support
  • Payments will be provided to many low income long term disabled households receiving Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit and that also receive Adult Social Care Services from the Council (and where not in Residential Care) or that have a range of powered equipment  - it is estimated that up to 4,500 households will receive support

Households that fit into more than one of the above groups will receive a single payment. Payments will be made directly into bank accounts where the council holds the details or via other means where it does not. The date of payments is to be confirmed but should be by January/February 2023 and all households will receive an award notification letter.

In addition:

  • Winter support vouchers to the value of £60 per child will be provided during the Christmas holidays to low income vulnerable families using free school meal entitlement as an initial criteria
  • Targeted support for Care Leavers and vulnerable customers of the Financial Safeguarding Team will be provided by Together for Children and the council respectively

HSF Application Process

Approximately one third of available HSF3 funding is being made available to other vulnerable and low income households that are struggling with cost of living pressures via an application based process:

This could include for example households in work but not receiving DWP or HMRC means tested benefits or tax credits, sick and disabled people receiving higher level contributory benefits or pensions or where households missed the qualifying dates for the Cost of Living Payment (COLP) or did not receive them for other reasons.

Households that have received significant COLP ( but are still in need or where the payments did not cover need, may still qualify for help. This will include households:

  • Receiving DWP means tested benefits and/or tax credits. Applicants may be advised that they will normally need to wait a month after receiving any of these payments before they can apply for HSF and will need to provide additional evidence for why they are financially struggling  
  • It may also include households that did not receive significant support from the COLP - for example they only received help with their energy bills and/or the £150 Disability COLP payment

Applications can be made in the first instance via the following Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) based organisations and they will confirm the information and evidence that they will need to see in order to make an award. The majority of these organisations will provide support to households in their areas/their ward. See below for details.

Coalfield Area -  for people that live in Shiney Row, Copt Hill, Houghton and Hetton

OrganisationEmailContact numberOpening times
Active Families 324 537Wednesday and Friday 9.30am to 5pm
Veterans in 567 1878Monday to Friday 9am to 2.30pm
Sunderland BME Network 380 653Monday 9am to 4pm, Wednesday 12pm to 4pm, Thursday 12pm to 4pm
Sunderland and County Durham Royal Society for the
0191 567 3939Monday to Friday 9:30am to 3pm
Grace 435 2088Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

East Area - for people that live in Hendon, Millfield, St Michael's, Ryhope and Doxford

OrganisationEmailContact numberOpening times
Back on the MapEnquiries@backonthemap.org0191 514 7844By appointment Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

North Area - for people that live in Castle, Redhill, Southwick, Fulwell and St Peters

OrganisationEmailContact numberOpening times
Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Projectn/a07394 071 125 (text service only)Monday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm
Community Opportunities (Castle or Redhill) 537 3231Phone lines open every weekday 9am to 5pm

Washington Area -  for people that live in Washington

OrganisationEmailContact numberOpening times
0191 537 3231Phone lines open every weekday 9am to 5pm

West Area - for people that live in Pallion, St Anne's, Barnes, Sandhill, St Chads and Silksworth

OrganisationEmailContact numberOpening times
Youth Almighty
07938 581 965Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm
Pallion Action
07534 983 971
0191 514 2011
Monday to Friday 9am to 12pm
Community 537 3231Phone lines open every weekday 9am to 5pm


In addition the council continues to provide additional support. Households should call 0191 520 5551 in the first instance. Normally households can receive only one HSF3 award via an application to either the VCS or the council.

The council also operates its own Local Welfare Provision Crisis Support Scheme (, for people in severe financial hardship that mainly lack any funds to buy food, and where food bank provision is unsuitable to meet needs and/or to top up prepayment meters. Applications can be made to the council on 0191 520 5551 or 0800 234 6084.

Please be aware that VSC providers will be closing their schemes to new applicants' during March as their funding runs out and the council will be closing its own HSF application scheme to new applicants from the 17 March - although it will process any outstanding applications it has received by then.

Extra support is being given to foodbanks and food aid organisations to help assist them in managing some additional demands and help to supplement their current food offers.


Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email