The cost of living crisis for women and support available in Bristol

By Chloe Hughes, Bristol Women’s Voice volunteer 

The cost-of-living crisis in the UK is having a detrimental effect on many people’s financial situations. Inflation is at its highest level for 30 years, food and petrol prices are increasing, and energy bills are set to rise by over 50% for a large number of households. Compounded by the gendered impact of poverty, the current crisis will likely have a disproportionate impact on the lives of many women.

Women are already more at risk of being in poverty than men are. On average, 22% of women have persistent low income compared to 14% of men. Single women are most at risk of poverty, resulting in them not being able to build savings and needing to make sacrifices in order to buy food, heating and electricity. Additionally, nine out of 10 single parents are women and, while the weekly median gross pay for single fathers is £346, it is just £194.40 for single mothers. On top of this, women do at least twice as much unpaid care work such as childcare and housework as men. For many, this is in addition to their paid work. 

As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, women and low-income households will feel the strain the most. Below, we list some of the services and organisations available in Bristol that can support women and families through this crisis.

Support with household bills 

  • Bristol Energy Network – Can give advice on how to deal with debts to energy companies, accessing grants and find the cheapest energy provider for different households.  
  • The WHAM project – Supporting Bristol and North Somerset residents by giving advice on money, benefits, home repairs and energy. 
  • Bristol Emergency Payment This is applied for online, it can provide emergency help to afford basic furniture and household goods such as fridges and freezers.


Financial support
 

 

Food support 

 

Support and resources for babies and children 

  • Baby Bank Network – A free service that provides second-hand baby clothes, cots, prams and toys.  
  • South Bristol Children’s Centres- Offer support and information on cooking, access to food or parenting also supporting children with their speech and language and access to Forest Schools.  

 

Pension credit 

  • Pension Credit– Can offer a ‘top up’ to state pensions depending on eligibility which is based on earnings.
  • There are two parts to this benefit, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
  • Guarantee Credit can increase weekly income to £182.60 for people living alone and increase a joint income to £278.70 weekly.  
  • Savings Credit may be given to eligible people that saved money for their retirement.

 

Wellbeing support 

  • Womankind This charity offers professional counselling, group psychotherapy, befriending and a helpline service that are all free to women who are on low incomes and are unable to pay to get support.  
  • MissingLink Offers a ‘Help When You Need It’ service that supports women with practical and emotional needs. Once joined, this service can be accessed as and when women feel they need it.  
  • Bristol Wellbeing College Provides a wide range of free workshops, courses and weekly cafes to help people improve their wellbeing. Offers three different types of courses/workshops so everyone can find something that fits around their availability and commitment.  

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