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Community Support Scheme

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Middlesbrough Council administers the Community Support Scheme (CSS), divided into two main areas: Crisis Awards and Community Support Awards. This replaces the Social Fund.

No cash payments are made - assistance is given via vouchers and/or access to items and products. Any award values are at the discretion of the council.


For both Crisis Awards and Community Support Awards the applicant must be:

  • aged 16 or over
  • resident in the Middlesbrough local authority or moving into the Middlesbrough local authority following a stay in supported or temporary accommodation
  • without sufficient resources to meet their short-term needs or those of their family

Please note that awards will not be made to cover the following:

  • if you've lost your money
  • if you're not responsible for paying rent or Council Tax in your own right (for example, if you live with your parents, you're 'sofa-surfing', or you have no permanent address)
  • if your benefit has been sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - please note, we may be able to help with a referral to a local foodbank
  • if you've spent your money before your next payment is due
  • you're not classed as resident by the DWP
  • if you can apply for other income which may be available to you straight away

For further details please see the Community Support Scheme Policy.

Crisis Awards

Crisis Awards are considered where the applicant is in crisis and there's a severe risk to the health or safety of the applicant or an immediate family member. The support will only be considered if there's no immediate access to any other form of financial assistance.

The type of support that will be considered:

  • PayPoint vouchers for food or a referral to a food bank
  • PayPoint vouchers for gas and electricity
  • PayPoint vouchers for essential clothing

Apply for a Crisis Award

As the need for a Crisis Award is immediate, the preferred method of contact is by telephone. Please call Freephone number 08081 789 278 to speak to a Community Support Officer who will help with your application.

Phone lines are open: 9am to 4pm (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), and 10am to 4pm (Wednesday).

Alternatively, you can also apply online if you would rather do this.

Apply online now for a Crisis Award.

Emergency food

If you need help with food in an emergency, the White Feather Project offers help 7 days a week, from 9am to 10pm. If you need support, please contact the White Feather Project on 07552 830185.

We also offer emergency help through the Community Support Team (Monday to Friday), who can be contacted on 0808 1789278 (Freephone).

Community Support Awards

Community Support Awards help an applicant to remain in the community or support them to move back into the community after a stay in accommodation in which significant and substantial care and supervision was received. The applicant must also be receiving Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment Support Allowance, the maximum rate of Universal Credit or any type of Pension Credit.

The type of support that will be considered:

  • vouchers for household furniture
  • awards of white goods
  • PayPoint vouchers for household linen and kitchenware

Apply for a Community Support Award

Apply online now for a Community Support Award.

If you have difficulty with the online form, call the Freephone number 08081 789 278 for help.

After your application

Your application will be considered based on your individual circumstances and you'll be notified of the decision whether your application is successful or unsuccessful.


If you disagree with our decision you can ask for a review within one calendar month of the date of the decision. You can only ask for a review if you can show that a factual error has been made or new evidence has come to light which was not provided with your original application.

To request a review you must fill in the Community Support Scheme review form.