Cost Of Living Christmas - South Hams

Cost of living help and guidance

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20 December 2022

Cost-of-living newsletter contents:

If you can, support local



Christmas will be different for many of us this year - we might all be buying a few less presents than normal and thinking more carefully about exactly how much food to buy.

There are great options locally for gifts, food and all things festive. In the South Hams, we're spoilt for choice with markets, boutique shops and traders.

When you're considering how to spend your money this Christmas, take a moment to think if you can support a local business. There are also lots of festive events and markets taking place, where you might find a seasonal treat and enjoy yourself for free regardless.

Which? - Affordable Christmas Shop


If you're planning to do your Christmas shop in the supermarkets, Which? has provided useful information on which is the most affordable supermarket for a Christmas dinner shop. 

Which? found that Aldi was the most affordable option for purchasing a whole Christmas dinner. The shopping list for a "Christmas dinner shop" includes turkey, a stock pot, potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, carrots and sprouts. In Aldi, you could get your Christmas shop for £22.30.

Find out more here: Which? Cheapest Christmas Dinner Shop

The graph below shows that Lidl came in a close second, with ASDA finishing in third place. Waitrose proved to be the most expensive.

Christmas Dinner Shop

To view the price comparison of a general food shop in November 2022, click below to see the data on Which?

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Trussell Trust Foodbank Donations

Food bank

The Trussell Trust, which supports more than 1,300 foodbanks, is helping hundreds of thousands of people across the UK keep food on the table this winter.

Figures from the organisation show more emergency food parcels have been given out this year than ever before. From April to September, 320,000 people were forced to turn to foodbanks for the first time. 

The organisation gave out 1.3 million emergency food parcels in this time.

The charity has warned that foodbanks are at 'breaking point' and are set to face their hardest ever winter.

Independent foodbanks and organisations will also be facing the strain, so all foodbanks and organisations supporting people through the winter will gladly welcome your donations.

If you'd like to help, you can donate food at foodbanks themselves, collection point in supermarkets, or see if your local school, church or workplace is hosting one. 

A typical food parcel donated by the Trussell Trust contains:

  • 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

These goods - along with many other types of food - are always warmly welcomed. You can also donate non-food items which will prove hugely helpful, including:

  • 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

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:

Simple steps to save on energy bills

warm christmas

The price of energy bills is daunting this winter, so Which? is offering simple advice on making your home more energy efficient, to lower your energy costs. It includes advice on:

Draught Proofing 

Stopping heat from escaping through unwanted gaps around doors and windows could help you save around £60 a year in a typical home, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

If you have an open chimney, draught-proofing it when it's not in use could save a further £90 a year. These savings are based on a typical, gas-fuelled, semi-detached home.

Even though it's not a huge amount of money, draught-proofing is one of the energy-saving measures that can also really help you to feel comfortable in your home and make a big difference to your quality of life, so it's well worth doing, especially if you're considering using the heating a little less than you're used to this year.

Smart Thermostats  

With a smart thermostat you can operate your heating remotely via the internet using your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Some can also learn your routine or adjust your settings depending on the weather forecast.

Coupled with smart thermostatic radiator valves, you can control exactly which rooms are heated, and which aren't. 

Electric Heaters  

For those who live alone or work from home, investing in an electric heater could save on heating bills if you just want occasional short, sharp bursts of heat while your central heating is off. 

It's worth noting that in all circumstances, electric heaters are best used sparingly though.

Click the button below to find out more.

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Beware of scammers this Christmas


Unscrupulous scammers will use any excuse to prey on people and sadly, the cost of living crisis and the festive season is creating many more opportunities.

Dishonest offers have been emerging for energy refunds, energy discounts, tax rebates, cost-of-living payments and food vouchers to steal your financial details.

Please be on the lookout as there are a number of different scams circulating at the moment, including:

Cost-of-living Payments

Beware of emails and texts asking you to claim or apply for help with the cost-of-living. The payments from Government are automatic and do not need to be claimed for if you are eligible.

If you think you haven’t received a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Cost of Living Payment or aren’t sure of your eligibility, visit for more information.

Council Tax and Household Support Fund

People pretending to work for your local council might phone you, saying you have overpaid your Council Tax and offer you a refund. You might also receive calls with people telling you you’re eligible for the Household Support Fund and ask for bank details. We will never contact you like this asking for bank details. 

Post Office Redelivery Scam Texts

The latest Post Office text message scam encourages you to take action by telling you that your parcel has been sent back to your local branch. It sends you to a legitimate-looking website under the guise of charging you for redelivery.

This can be very convincing, especially if you’re doing a lot more online shopping in the run-up to the festive season. But remember, the Post Office will never contact you like this.

Loan fee fraud

Loan fee fraud occurs when people pay an upfront or advance fee for a loan they never receive. It’s an increasingly common scam which is reported to the Financial Conduct Authority, with people losing £280 on average.

Always check the provider is authorised by the FCA before you borrow. Visit for more information.

Santander Text Scam

Scammers are sending texts impersonating Santander bank, asking people to click on a link to confirm a new payee or suspicious activity on your account. If you receive such a message, proceed with caution. This is a data harvesting scam and could lead to a bigger scam down the road – report any unusual messages directly to Santander by emailing 

How to protect yourself against these scams

If you have any doubts about a text, email or call you’ve received claiming to be from an organisation, contact the organisation directly yourself. Do not reply to suspicious messages or open links you’re not sure of.

Only ever use phone numbers or email addresses you will find on an organisation’s official website.

Don’t give out personal information like financial information to people calling on the phone or knocking at the door. Your bank and any other official source would never ask for this information via email or text.

Have you received an email that you’re suspicious of? Forward it to

If you think you’ve been targeted by scammers, you can report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud office. You can visit them online at or call them on 0300 123 2040.

Click the button below to find out more on scams currently happening across the country.

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Energy advice and drop-in advice sessions


South Dartmoor Community Energy's qualified energy advisors can give tips on how to reduce your energy use, tackle condensation and damp and make sure you're on the best tariff.

The organisation offers: 

  • Advice on lowering your energy bills and reducing damp and mould in your home.
  • Help with making sense of complicated fuel bills and getting help with arrears.
  • Support to see if you qualify for free energy efficiency improvements to your home.
  • Other support such as Priority Service Register, crisis grants, and Warm Homes Discount.
  • Information about smart meters
  • Information on reducing your climate impact
  • Help with fuel vouchers
  • Debt advice
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Energy matters, financial support and support for your home