Cost of Living - South Hams

Cost of living help and guidance

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16 December 2022

Cost-of-living newsletter contents:

Dress Smart, Not Pretty


This current cold spell has been nicknamed the ‘Troll from Trondheim’; on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday a resident of Trondheim in Norway explained that the way to beat the chill is to ‘dress smart, not pretty’ to help keep you warm and cosy.

Layer up properly

It’s an old adage, but when the weather is this cold, it's smart to ‘layer up’. If you're being careful with when to have your heating on, this can be a good strategy for indoors too.

A long-sleeved thermal top and thermal leggings or long johns can be a good base layer.

For your top half, ideally next a roll-neck jumper or similar to keep the neck area cosy, followed by a jumper/hoody, then ideally a sleeveless vest top/gilet (zipped is good) to keep the body core extra warm. You can top off with a fleece jacket.

For your bottom half a pair of warm trousers (fleece is excellent); and if you’re still chilly, add an additional pair of trousers.

Feet, hands and head

It's important to keep your extremities warm as well as your core.

A pair of thick thermal socks on top of your normal socks will help keep your feet cosy. A pair of fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm, while still enabling you to use them. If you prefer fingered gloves, you can now buy gloves that allow you to use smartphones without taking them off.

The old wives' tale about losing half of your body heat through your head might not be true, but top your outfit off with a warm hat regardless.  

If you don’t have enough warm clothes or you’re concerned about keeping warm enough, contact Tamar Energy Community on 0800 233 5414 or email

Bridgetown Community Warm Space

warm space

Bridgetown Community Hall in Totnes is holding a community café every Tuesday from 11.15 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

There will be free hot drinks, biscuits and crafts.

To find out more on The Bridgetown Community Café, click here.

St John's Community Café are hosting a warm space every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St John's Church, Bridgetown, Totnes TQ9 5AD.

This is a "pay what you feel" café, with hot drinks, homemade cakes knit and natter table, and Mindful Making classes upstairs, which are free.

To find out more about the St John's Community Café, click here.

To find out more on Mindful Making, click here. 

Click the button below for more on warm spaces in South Hams.

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Canned food


If you're struggling with rising food costs, there are foodbanks and initiatives here in the South Hams that could help you navigate the winter months.

Across the district, you can get support from:

Visit our website for more information on foodbanks. 

If you want to support your local foodbank, consider donating the following items:

  • Cereal
  • Soup
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Tinned tomatoes/ pasta sauce
  • Lentils, beans and pulses
  • Tinned meat
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Tea/coffee
  • Tinned fruit
  • Biscuits
  • UHT milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Toiletries – deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand wipes
  • Household items – laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid
  • Feminine products – sanitary towels and tampons
  • Baby supplies – nappies, baby wipes and baby food

Safe Food Hacks Campaign

food shop

The latest Food Standards Agency Consumer Survey found a growing number of people are taking food safety risks because of money pressures and rising energy costs.

32% of participants reported that they had eaten food past its use-by date, at least once in the past month, because they couldn’t afford to buy more food.

It also showed that 18% of participants turned off a fridge and/or freezer containing food, at least once in the last month, to reduce energy bills and save money.

The FSA is reminding people how they can stay safe while making their food go further and save money.


Make the most of your weekly shop 

Knowing how food should be stored will make your groceries last longer and stretch every penny that bit further.

To keep your food safe:

  • store any food with a 'use by' date, as well as cooked dishes, salads and dairy products, in your fridge 
  • keep chilled food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible during preparation
  • cool cooked food quickly at room temperature and place in the fridge within one to two hours
  • follow storage instructions on packaging, including the best before and use-by dates

If you want to stretch food even further, make full use of your freezer. It acts as a pause button - food in a freezer won't deteriorate and most bacteria cannot grow in it. You can freeze pre-packaged food until midnight on the 'use by' date. Leftovers and homemade goods should be frozen as soon as possible.  Cool any warm dishes before putting them in your freezer.

To stop the cold air in your freezer from drying out your food:

  • place food in an air-tight container
  • wrap it well in freezer bags or freezer wrap

Get more advice here: Chilling | Food Standards Agency


Microwave leftovers

Why not store and reheat food for another night? Here are some safe food hacks for using a microwave to reheat food:

  • Previously cooked and frozen meat should only be reheated once
  • Stir halfway through to make sure it gets properly heated throughout
  • Make sure that it is steaming hot all the way through before eating. Eat immediately after reheating.

Find out more on the Food Safety Agency website.

Pensioner Cost-of-Living Payment


More than 11 million pensioners will receive regular winter fuel payments boosted by an extra £300 this year as a 'Pensioner Cost-of-Living payment.' 

Click the button below to find out more about the winter fuel payments and exactly what you or a loved one could be entitled to.

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Help with meals for Devon children


Families in Devon on low incomes, whose children receive free school meals, will get support this winter to help them buy food during the school holidays.

Before the end of this term, each eligible child will automatically be sent a £45 supermarket voucher to use during the Christmas holiday and February half term break to replace the meals they would have had at school during the day.

It’s the equivalent of £15 per child per week of the two school holidays, and is being distributed in one lump sum now to allow families some flexibility on how they spend the vouchers and try to help with the additional pressure the festive period puts on household budgets.

With the end of term fast approaching, Devon County Council has already sent these supermarket vouchers to families whose children currently receive free school meals, so please check your inbox and redeem them.

If you were expecting to receive the vouchers, but didn’t, get in touch with our team as soon as possible by emailing or calling 0345 155 1019.

People’s circumstances change all the time, so if you didn’t previously qualify for free school meals but your income has recently reduced or stopped, apply online here. It’s the quickest and easiest way for your eligibility to be assessed and you will get an instant decision.

Energy matters, financial support and support for your home