Low-cost and financial wellbeing courses
Responding to the cost of living crisis, we are delivering courses that will help residents to reduce their household bills and gain qualifications to boost their career opportunities and earning potential.
Courses & Services We Offer
Haircuts & Beauty Treatments
Free or £5
Residents of Colchester can also benefit from low cost (£5) haircuts and free beauty treatments at the ACL Colchester centre, whilst being a model for learners on health and beauty courses.
Essential Skills Courses
Could be Free
Residents who struggle with financial wellbeing and find maths or other essential skills tricky are being offered free foundation level courses to boost skills in English, Maths & Digital skills.
We offer a wide range of FREE courses to help people to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Could be free
Gain GCSE qualifications to improve job prospects, gain support to help their family deal with the cost of living crisis, and receive help managing anxiety and stress.
Microsoft Office Courses
Microsoft Office is a range of great programmes to learn for many reasons, it can help you both in your career and also while studying and creating documents for personal use.
For employed residents who would like to progress to management or team lead roles or other roles. Or for those who are looking to start in the workplace or change careers.
Flexible Learning Qualifications
Could be free
Whatever your ambitions start fulfilling them! Take the next steps in your career with a course you can complete at a time that suits you.
Running a Business
For residents seeking an entrepreneurial path, ACL is also offering the chance to take low cost (from £13) ‘Running a Business’ courses to help them start-up on their own.
Low-cost Family Activities
A short workshop to give you lots of ideas to keep your family happy without breaking the bank.
Confident Cooking on a budget
Food is so expensive. We will show you how to make the most out of your weekly shop.
Where to go for help for “Cost of Living” support
Top tips to share on where you can go for local support with the cost of living crisis.
Top tips to make your money go further
Do you ever wonder where your money goes? We can show you how to make your money go further.
How to explain cost of living to your children
Does your child want the latest toy or pair of trainers? We can show you how to explain to children that you cannot always have everything you want at once.
Talking Financial Security Online
This is aimed at parents and children 14+ . Does your child have their own bank account? Do they understand about financial security online? We can give you hints and tips to support you.
Build your confidence with getting help
Getting help is fine if you have the confidence to access the help that is on offer. Are you worried about reaching out and asking for help? This workshop is the first step. We are here to give you the tools to get the help you need.
“Vintage Celebrations” – sustainable and cost saving
We will show you how to make your celebrations sustainable without breaking the bank.
Supporting SEND children with explaining cost of living
How to explain to our SEND children that things are getting more expensive.
How to save money on your energy bills
Do you know how to shop around for the best energy deal? Do you know how many energy you are using? We can help you.
Difference between needs and wants
Explaining the difference to children in what you may need and what you may want so they understand.
Financial wellbeing in difficult times
Times are hard! Let us help you improve your financial confidence.
Having money conversation with 11 + aged children
Does your child understand about money? We can help you start that conversation
Finding the Right Support
Help for Households is offering support to help you prepare for a challenging winter. Make sure you’re ready by finding out what you’re entitled to.
Many local councils are also offering additional services and funding. You can find out more about what is available by visiting your local council’s website:
- Castle Point
- Epping Forest
You can also get advice on money, debt and benefits on Essex County Councils website.
The ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ means a typical UK household will pay no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bill. The Energy Price Guarantee will be in place from 1 October 2022 until April 2024. You can save money on your energy bills by reducing the amount of energy you use. Visit Energy Saving Trust to find out how you can save money on your energy bills
Get specialist advice
You could get help from a specialist energy advisor if you are finding it hard to pay energy bills or have debts with energy suppliers. They might be able to help you get a grant to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
- Get advice from Warm Homes Essex
- Contact the Citizens Advice Warm Homes team on 0300 3033 789
- Visit the Ofgem website for support and guidance with your energy bills and supplier
Warm spaces in your local community
Essex Libraries are hosting the Warm Welcomes scheme to encourage people to use their local libraries this winter. As well as providing a safe place to keep warm libraries will be offering hot drinks, social spaces, and a range of activities such as cooking demonstrations and homework clubs.
- Visit the Essex Libraries website to find out more about what your local library is doing, or to sign up to be a Warm Welcomes volunteer
Get extra help from your energy supplier
All energy suppliers and network operators keep a Priority Services Register. This is a free service to make sure that extra help is available for people in vulnerable situations.
You can register if you are of pension age, have a disability or medical condition, are pregnant or have young children.
- Visit the Ofgem website to find out more about the Priority Services Register and who is eligible
You could get help with childcare costs, including:
You may be eligible for more help, including national funding and free healthy food vouchers.
Children in reception, year 1 and year 2 automatically get free school meals. This is called Universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) and you do not need to apply for it.
Children in year 3 and above may be eligible for free school meals.
Children and young people aged 2 to 19 may also be eligible for free meal vouchers during the school holidays.
Children in primary or secondary school could be eligible for free school transport.
The Essex ActivAte programme offers free clubs for eligible children and young people during the school holidays. Booking usually opens on their website a few weeks before the holidays.
If you need emergency money or food, you may be eligible for a budgeting loan or grants and charitable funds.
The government has introduced a £150 Council Tax rebate. If you live in an eligible property and you pay your council tax by direct debit, your local council will generally make the payment directly to your bank account. Payments started in April 2022. If you live in an eligible property and you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, contact your local council.
You could be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction if you’re on a low income or claim benefits. You can apply if you own your home, rent, are unemployed or working.
Funding towards household costs
If you are facing hardship, you can get help with your essential household costs. You can also get advice and support from Citizens Advice and other voluntary and community organisations.
Foodbanks give free food to people who are struggling financially. The Salvation Army also offers emergency assistance to people in need.
- Visit the Trussell Trust to find a foodbank near you
- Find out about emergency assistance from The Salvation Army
If you’re a low-income family receiving Universal Credit or other benefits, you could be eligible for a discounted broadband service.
Essex Highways have put together a list of money saving tips for travelling around Essex on public transport. This includes park and ride discounts, concessionary bus passes and saver bus tickets.
Other Money Saving Tips
Turn Your Heating Down
Did you know that by turning your heating down one degree could help you save up to £80 a year? Try adding layers and blankets before turning up your heating.
Learn to Cook
Takeaways and ready meals usually cost more than making a meal yourself from scratch. We have courses to help you to learn to cook meals at a lower cost.
Swap Baths for Showers
You can save money by swapping baths to showers or by reducing the time you spend in the shower even by a minute.
You can save money by turning the temperature down on your washing machine and/or making sure your washing machine is full before switching it on rather than doing lots of smaller washes.
Free School Meals
Use the Microwave
Did you know using the microwave can be a lot cheaper than the oven? Just make sure you turn it off standby when you are done.
Don't Overfill the Kettle
Only filling the kettle with the amount of water you need will save you money, if you are only making one drink try only adding enough water for that.
Turn Off Standby
Turn appliances of standby to save around £55 per year.
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