BOPF Cost of Living – Community Support Hub
In March 2023, 103 out of 113 older people in Bristol (BOPF survey) told us they were affected by cost of living challenges.
- Energy and food costs are top issues, with housing, transport and health also a priority.
- Older disabled people and older non-White British people appear to experience greater challenge.
- Older people asked to think about the cost of living gave a range of responses, but are often fearful of the future for themselves, family or friends.
BOPF are working on priorities identified by an informal cost of living panel of members
- provide more information about cost saving measures and ensure messaging does not add to older people’s worries about the CoL increases
- focus efforts to support older people most affected, including supporting members to undertake social action
- promote social connection and peer support between members and their wider social circles.
Advice and support
If you’re struggling to manage your money, or have debt problems, get support from
Citizens Advice Bristol offer face-to-face support across Bristol and via their national advice line: Freephone 0808 278 7957 Textphone (for the hard of hearing) 0800 144 88 84 Lines are open Monday – Friday, from 9:00 – 5:00pm.
Age UK Bristol helpline. The reception line is open Mon – Fri, 10am – 1pm. One of the team will take your information and pass it onto the Information and Advice team.
The ‘Worrying about money’ leaflet contains details of more advice and support available in Bristol. The leaflet is available in different languages (Feeding Bristol).
Clean Slate offers Quids in! Money Guidance – a unique, free service for people on low incomes. They run drop-in services and virtual support (via phone and video call). Their Money Health Check (Clean Slate) uses 25 straight-forward yes or no questions to help you make a plan. The process is designed to increase digital, as well as financial confidence, leaving people, on average, over £1000 better off.
BOPF work with organisations in Bristol who give out the Household Support Fund (Bristol City Council).
We partner with equalities groups who provide specialist support and are part of the Bristol Equality Network.
Bristol City Council have useful information and advice on their website. If you’re outside Bristol get help with the rising cost of living (South Gloucestershire Council) and cost of living support (Bath & North East Somerset).
Claim what you are entitled to
Age UK’s Benefits Calculator can help you find out which benefits you could be entitled to. It’s free to use and the details you provide are kept anonymous. Get help to pay bills, boost income and pay for care or bereavement (Age UK). Make sure you’re getting the money you should be. Lots of people over state pension age aren’t receiving Pension Credit payments (Age UK) worth an average of £1900 per household.
Energy bill reduction
Age UK have useful advice on
- Government help for energy bills
- Energy saving tips to reduce your energy bills
- How to save on water bills
If you need immediate help with food, there are community groups and organisations that can help (Feeding Bristol). This free guide tells you how to get free or cheap food (MoneySavingExpert). BOPF members are also creating a free cookbook for older people. It will contain inexpensive and simple recipes that are seasonal and healthy. The cookbook will launch in January 2024. Details about the launch event coming soon!
Health and wellbeing
- NHS Talking Therapies offer a range of Talking Therapies for older adults, who live and are registered with a GP in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
- Healthier with Nature (Green Social Prescribing) have a directory of nature-based wellbeing activities across BNSSG. Open the link on full screen for better viewing.
- Improve your health and wellbeing and get support for long term conditions from specialist organisations.
- Connect with organisations who support older people to keep active to keep your mind and body stimulated.
We received member feedback on the problems with access to NHS dentists in Bristol and encourage older people to continue to share your views and experiences with Healthwatch.
- If you are swollen, bleeding, in pain or unable to eat you can ring NHS111 who are obliged to try and find you an appointment with an NHS dentist (although it may take some time).
- The Primary Care Unit at the Dental Hospital provides an emergency dental walk-in service for patients who do not have a registered dental practice. This is a triage service. Doors open at 8am. Patients must arrive before 10am. Bristol Dental Hospital, Lower Maudlin Street, Bristol BS1 2LY.
Changes Bristol offers free support groups across Bristol for individuals experiencing difficulties with their mental health or wellbeing. As well telephone befriending for individuals living within the City of Bristol. All information is available on the Changes Bristol website.
Healthier with Nature have done a directory of nature-based wellbeing activities. Open link on full screen for better viewing.
BOPF Housing Survey Report 2020 was the catalyst to the formation of our Housing Action Group (HAG) made up of older people with lived and professional experience. It has a direct role in influencing housing policy for older people across Bristol. The group collects and shares ideas and concerns with Bristol City Council and housing providers. It hopes to encourage innovation and creativity in housing for older people in Bristol. Recently we have developed a HAG Housing Policy Statement, which takes forward some of the findings of the 2020 survey. Contact us to get involved.
BOPF is a free membership organisation. Members are welcome to attend quarterly Open Forum Meetings in central Bristol (and online). We also run monthly online Meet Up Mornings, a Vinyl Record Club and other socials. All events are free and promoted in our newsletter and on this website. Follow BOPF Facebook page to hear about our activity and other interesting events in Bristol.
Friends Ageing Better (Age UK Bristol) run social groups for older people across Bristol.
Welcoming Spaces (Bristol City Council) are still open. Welcoming Spaces are open to all and most are run by local people for local people.
Rest Less is a free digital community for people in their 50s, 60s and beyond. They offer content, guidance and resources on a range of topics spanning Work and Careers, Volunteering, Learning, Money, Health, Lifestyle and Relationships.