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Support Available to Families

If you’re struggling with energy, food and water bills, or other household essentials, please read the information below to find out where you may be able to find additional support.

College discretionary fund

The Household Support Fund has been extended again into this financial year by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to support those most in need with the significant rising cost of living. They gave schools, colleges and early years settings a very small one-off discretionary grant to support low-income households with children up to the end of September 2024.

This is far less than we have had before, but if you urgently need funding for the following, please follow the link to the Google form below and fill it in. 

  • Energy and water: a set amount towards energy and water bills 
  • Food: a set amount is available

Please click the link below to complete the form:


Please note, we are no longer receiving funding for holiday meal vouchers.

Food Vouchers

Households in receipt of council tax benefit can claim one food voucher worth £50 from their district or borough council.
Households in receipt of housing benefit only can claim one food voucher worth £80.
Information about how to access this voucher can be found here:
Support for families and children | Children and Families | Hampshire County Council (

Community Pantries

Pantries are open to everyone in the community and provide access to food at a lower cost. They offer a range of fresh, frozen and general foods, which change each week. Access to the Community Pantry is by membership and, for a small weekly contribution, members can select food to a significantly higher value.

Many of these pantries have cafes and meeting spaces and offer other forms of support. They offer a friendly and safe space for all users. Pantries organise activities, provide wrap around support services and an opportunity to meet with others.

Details of local pantries can be found here:
Community pantries – Hampshire | Children and Families | Hampshire County Council (

The community pantry closest to Swanmore College is the Wickham Pantry. Wickham Community Pantry is at:
Wickham Community Centre
Mill Lane
PO17 5AL

Food bank

Meon Valley Food Bank is church led and community focused, offering help to families who are at crisis point and need support through the provision of food. It is based in Wickham and serves towns and villages in the Meon Valley, including Bishops Waltham, Swanmore, Waltham Chase, Droxford, West Meon, Wickham, Whiteley and Knowle, together with other villages in the surrounding area.

You must be referred to the Meon Valley Food Bank to be able to use it. You can find a list of Referral Agents here. We are a Referral Agent; if you would like to enquire about a possible referral, please email


Too Good To Go

Created to fight food waste, this app allows you to “save surprise bags of good food at better prices from restaurants and shops near you”!

Every day, unsold food goes to waste at your favourite cafes, restaurants, grocery shops and shops – just because it hasn’t sold in time. The Too Good To Go app lets you buy and collect this food – at a great price – so it gets eaten instead of wasted. You won’t know exactly what’s in your order until you pick it up – it’s all part of the surprise. Find out more here.

Download the app to get started: iOS App Store | Android – Google Play


Another app designed to reduce waste. OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus stuff can be shared, not thrown away. Find out more here.

Download the app to get started: iOS App Store | Android – Google Play

Kitche: save food, save money

The home food waste app that helps you save food, money and the environment! The average UK family ditches £70 worth of good food a month, most of which can be easily avoided by using Kitche, download and start your journey to zero waste. All features are free to use. Kitche can: Track your food; Get more savvy in the kitchen and see your progress and positive impact. Find out more here.

Download the app to get started: iOS App Store | Android – Google Play

Social tariffs for cheaper broadband and phone packages

Ofcom (Office of Communications) has a list of available tariffs for people claiming Universal Credit, Pension Credit and some other benefits. These are generally cheaper, and some providers call them ‘essential’ or ‘basic’. Ofcom is encouraging providers to offer these social tariffs, which have a range of benefits in addition to a lower price.

Find out more and look at the list of available tariffs here:

Ofcom | Broadband and phone social tariffs

Support for energy and water costs

Households struggling to meet the cost of their utility bills for water, gas or electricity can contact their local Citizens Advice.
Details of local Citizens Advice offices can be found here:   Advice – Citizens Advice Hampshire (

The Environment Centre (tEC) offers direct guidance and support to households on a range of energy-related topics either remotely or face to face. tEC has provided grants to 150 households on means-tested benefits or low income and vulnerable for essential heating and hot water works, or for practical household items to reduce energy or help them to keep warm.

To contact the Environment Centre either ring 0800 804 8601 or email

Warm Welcome Spaces

The Warm Welcome Campaign is a seasonal campaign and makes it possible for you to find a warm and welcoming space if you’re finding it hard to stay warm at home. It’s also an opportunity to meet with others, particularly when dark evenings and cold winter months can be isolating.

There are over 7,000 Warm Welcome Spaces in the UK of various kinds: community centreslibrarieschurchescommunity cafesarts centreslocal businesses, and schools. Every Warm Space is unique and offers different kinds of support and activities.

Click here to find out what’s available in your area:

Warm Welcome Spaces | Find a space

Emergency housing support

This is available from district and borough councils. This does not include ongoing support for rent or mortgage payments. Details of how to access emergency housing support can be found here:

Support for housing costs – Hampshire | Children and Families | Hampshire County Council (

Further information from Winchester City Council

If you live in the Winchester City Council area, you can find more information about help available to you by visiting this page on their website:

Winchester City Council | Cost of living

This includes clothing, and wellbeing support.

Free Sanitary Products

There are a variety of free sanitary products available for all pupils. You are welcome to come and get whatever you need during break times from the following locations:

  • Welfare Office
  • Pupil Reception
  • The Year Team office
  • The Pupil Centre
  • Mrs Benton and Mrs Francis (S1HB, S Block)

Free School Meals

Free school meals are available to eligible pupils. To check your eligibility, please click here:
Free school meals for pupils up to 16 years old | Free school meals | Education and learning | Hampshire County Council (

If you would like to apply for new or check your eligibility for continued free school meals on the HC3S online system, please click on the link below:

You will need to enter your name, address, national insurance number or asylum support service number. In addition, you will need to provide your child’s name, date of birth and identify the school they are attending.

For more information about Pupil Premium at Swanmore College, please click here.