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Q&A session – Cost of Living Fund – for prospective Referrers

  • Start: 8th November, 2023 @ 10:00AM
  • End: 8th November, 2023 @ 11:00AM
  • Zoom

Community Referral Pathway to Southwark Council Cost of Living Fund (November 2023 to March 2024)

 Southwark Council are pleased to confirm that the Community Referral Pathway will re-open for eligible residents from the 13 November 2023 to 29 March 2024.

We will be holding an online briefing session on the new Community Referral Pathway Scheme 2023/24 on Wednesday 8th November 2023 at 10am. This session is for all organisations to join and ask questions regarding the scheme. Click here to join the meeting.


What is the Community Referral Pathway?

This initiative will support Southwark residents who are on low incomes and pay towards energy for their home. Last year, the Community Referral Pathway supported nearly 17,000 households, thanks to the efforts of our referral partners.

The core principle of the Community Referral Pathway is that it offers partners an opportunity to do more for residents they already work with. By participating in the Pathway this year, your organisation will be able to refer vulnerable households who need support to the Southwark Cost of Living Fund. Those who are successfully referred will receive a one-off payment Post Office Payout voucher of £100. These payments will offer a vital lifeline to households who find themselves unable to pay for food, energy or other essentials.

Next step – On-boarding

If your organisation wishes to take part in the Community Referral Pathway, a Memorandum of Understanding can be found here for you to sign. Once signed, your organisation will receive detailed guidance on how to make a referral and unique log-in details for an e-form through which you will be able to start making referrals. The process is quite simple and is explained in the guidance notes.

How it works

It will be for the community organisation to decide whether a household is vulnerable and in need before making a referral. There is no formal means-test, but we ask all referring partners to exercise reasonable discretion before making a referral.

Referral criteria

Community Support organisations should proactively consider whether their customers might receive help from the scheme – customers do not need to ask for it but should always give their consent before being referred.

Organisations can make referrals via the Community Referral Pathway to the Southwark Cost of Living Fund where the customers are people on low incomes who meet all the following criteria:

  • The customer must live in Southwark or have been placed in temporary accommodation by Southwark Council outside the borough.
  • The customer must pay energy bills for their home.
  • The household must have been identified as vulnerable and in need by the referring partner – note there is no formal means-testing of those referred and the Council will not probe the circumstances of referrals
  • You can refer people who share their home and bills with others. Please note there will only be two payments made per property.
  • You can refer households who are receiving means-tested welfare benefits.

A household which received a payment in the period up to 31 December 2023 may receive a second payment in the period 1 January 2024 – 29 March 2024 if the above criteria are still met.

Further information

Before starting to make referrals, we ask that referring partners sign the Memorandum of Understanding by the 10th of November 2023.

We will shortly be sending out an information pack providing guidance and support for our referral partners, as well as the online form for partners to use when referring households.

Organisations can email communityreferrals@southwark.gov.uk to send enquiries and questions about the Community Referral Pathway on-boarding process. If you prefer, you can call our team on 02075255598 between Monday – Friday (9am – 5pm).