Southwark Emergency Support Scheme

Southwark Emergency Support Scheme (SESS) is a discretionary scheme providing emergency support to Southwark residents who have experienced an emergency, crisis or disaster, where they or their family are at risk of significant harm as a result.


Community Southwark is commissioned by Southwark Council to reconcile awards/payments between the council and the providers delivering SESS: Family Fund and London Mutual Credit Union.

SESS assists those who are at risk of having to move out of their home and community and go into care, and those who need assistance moving back into the community after spending time in an institution, such as a care home or hospital. Support provided might include a rent in advance payment, cooker or fridge, furniture, food, flooring and curtains amongst other items.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) 

Southwark Council is making temporary changes to the scheme so those affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) can get urgent support.   

If you’ve had a sudden loss or reduction to your income and can’t meet your household’s basic needs, you can now apply for support if: 

  • you’re on a zero hours contract, or have lost your job, and are now without work 
  • you’ve applied for Universal Credit and haven’t received your first payment 

To be considered for an award, you will need to show:

  • That your circumstances are as those described in the paragraph above
  • That you have been resident in Southwark for at least 3 months
  • That you are over 16 years of age
  • That you are in receipt of – or about to receive – one of the following qualifying state benefits: Income Support; Jobseeker’s Allowance (income based); Employment Support Allowance (income based); Guaranteed Pension Credit; Universal Credit

How to apply?

Applications will be judged against qualifying criteria, but it is a discretionary scheme with extremely limited funding, so awards will only be made to those with the greatest need and most compelling circumstances. Applying to the scheme does not guarantee an award.

Call 020 7525 2434 to apply.