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Local Welfare Provision and emergency/additional financial assistance

Local Welfare Provision

What is Local Welfare Provision (LWP)?

Local Welfare Provision is a financial assistance scheme run by us to help people who are in a crisis or emergency situation and where additional financial assistance would help prevent the crisis or emergency from escalating. Our Local Welfare Provision grants are limited to the funding that we receive from the Government. There is no statutory right to a grant and all awards are discretionary. We consider each application based on the circumstances of each applicant.

If you need help with food, we may be able to provide you with a voucher for a food parcel from a local foodbank. Please contact us directly for further information.

If you are eligible to apply for a Budgeting Loan, Budgeting Advance, or Hardship Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions, you must do this before applying to our scheme. If you do not do so, we may deduct any value from a potential LWP award that we think that you may qualify to receive.

We are also not able to assist with general living expenses or cover a shortfall of income whilst awaiting the outcome of an application for benefit, such as Universal Credit.

To apply for Local Welfare Provision you must be at least 16 years old and

  • Be a resident of Wokingham Borough, or
  • Have been housed out of the area by us, or
  • Have moved to Wokingham Borough after leaving care or prison
  • Not have savings that can be relied upon to meet your needs
  • Not be excluded from applying for public funds on the basis of immigration status
  • Not have received a Local Welfare Provision award in the past 6 months, unless they can demonstrate significant exceptional need
  • Not have been refused a Local Welfare Provision award for the same need in the past 6 months, unless they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances
  • Be without sufficient resources which would in turn cause serious risk to your own, or your family’s health or safety or well-being
  • Not be eligible to receive or have received assistance for the requested funding or support from other public funds


  • You need essential help to become established, or to remain, in the community


  • You need essential help with an emergency (e.g. illness/emergency travel costs) 

The way in which you can apply will depend upon the nature of help that you need.  

Crisis applications

Crisis applications for help with items such as gas or electric if you have a pre-payment meter, or some other emergency that needs an immediate response, you should come to our offices at Shute End and we can help you with your application. This is a face to face application process and you will need to bring evidence of your identify with you, and also the following

  • A bank or building society statement covering the last full month up to and including the date of your visit to our office for all accounts held
  • Your pre-payment gas or electricity key/card to confirm that you are liable for the charges (if asking for help with gas or electric)   

You may be asked to provide other evidence or information. You should call us on 0118 974 6000 or email benefits@wokingham.gov.uk for further details if you are unable to come to our offices.

For all other non-crisis applications, such as needing help with the cost of items to help you establish yourself in the community, you can download and print our application form and return it to our Shute End offices as soon as possible.

Documents needed to support your non-crisis application

You will need to provide documents to support your application. This would include items such as identification, proof of address, proof of savings, income and any benefits you receive. We are likely to need this information for all the people who live with you. Read our Local Welfare Provision evidence (PDF document) for more details. You will find more details in our Local Welfare Provision Policy (PDF document.)

What happens next?

Your application will consist of a face-to-face interview, during which you will be asked details about your personal and household circumstances. However, no matter what type of application is being made, it is important that you give as much detail and information to support your claim and help us understand the nature of your situation. 

We will give you advice about other support services that might be available to you, such as the Citizens Advice and debt advice agencies, along with other sources of financial help that may be available.

We will aim to make a decision about your application within 1 working day for emergency assistance, such as help with gas or electricity.

For all other applications, as soon as practicably possible following receipt of all information that helps us to make a decision.

How will you contact me about your decision?

When a decision has been made you will be notified by letter, telephone, email or in person.

When we receive your application we will check

  • Whether your claim meets our eligibility criteria
  • Whether you should be making a claim on a different fund, and
  • Whether there is still any Local Welfare Provision fund available

In addition, we will also have regard to your household circumstances, including:

  • Any sources of credit such as cash cards, store cards, credit cards, cheque cards, cheque accounts, overdraft facilities or loan arrangements
  • Any help which is likely to be available from other funds, such as Short Term Advances and Budgeting Advances issued by the Department for Work and Pensions or appropriate support facilities via 3rd Sector providers
  • The financial circumstances of the applicant, any partner, their dependants and other occupiers of their household
  • The income and expenditure of the applicant, any partner, their dependants and other occupiers of their household
  • The level of indebtedness of the applicant and their family
  • Any medical issues, or other exceptional needs, of the applicant, partner or dependants, or other members of their household
  • Whether the circumstances of the applicant are such that a Local Welfare Provision award would alleviate the problems of the applicant
  • The possible impact on the Council of not making such an award, e.g. the applicant becoming homeless and the costs associated with this
  • Any other special circumstance of which we are aware

Read our Local Welfare Provision exclusion and priority consideration list (PDF document) for more details about how we assess applications.

Local Welfare Provision awards will usually be paid in the form of goods, vouchers or services. Cash will only be paid in exceptional circumstances as a last resort.

If you don’t agree with our decision, whether it is a refusal or against the level of an award, you can ask us to look again at the decision, or make an appeal. You must do so in writing within 1 month of the decision being made, setting out why you think our decision is wrong and giving us any additional information you can.
Where possible, we will try to resolve the matter by explaining the reasons for the decision either verbally or in writing. 

Where agreement cannot be reached,  the decision will then be reviewed by a different officer to the one who made the original decision. The officer will look at the case and decide whether to change the outcome or leave the original decision in place. 

Because the fund is discretionary, you can't make an appeal to the Tribunal Service. 

Other benefits you might be able to claim

If you aren't eligible for a Local Welfare Provision award, and in some cases, even if you are given an award, you might be able to claim for the following:

The above benefits should be claimed by you or your household in all instances if you meet the relevant qualifying criteria.

You can contact us for advice by

Debt advice

For advice about debt visit the following websites

Other sources of help


There are other organisations that provide help for which we act as a referral agency. We can determine if this is appropriate in your particular circumstances.     

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