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Emergency support

Southwark Emergency Support Scheme (SESS) can help you if you are a Southwark resident who is:

  1. Experiencing a time of crisis, emergency, or disaster and as a result you or your family are at risk of significant harm, or
  2. At risk of having to move out of your home and community and go into care, or
  3. Moving back into the community after spending time in an institution, such as a care home or hospital.

If your claim is successful you will normally receive goods or services rather than cash.  For examples you might qualify for white goods, flooring, bedding, clothing or food.  Cash awards are only available in exceptional circumstances.

Who can receive help?

In most cases, to receive help under SESS you need to:

  • Meet one of the three criteria above, and
  • Be resident in Southwark for at least three months, and
  • 16 years of age or older, and
  • Receiving one of the following benefits: Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (income based), Employment Support Allowance (income based) or Guaranteed Pension Credit

How to apply to the scheme

You can apply online here or make a claim by phone on 020 7525 2434 

When you make a claim we first see if you meet the requirements above, but this is a discretionary scheme with limited funding so we can only help those with the greatest need.  No claim to the scheme guarantees an award.

We may ask you for evidence to support your claim.  If you are unable to provide the information we ask for your claim may be refused.

We will refer you to local support and advice services if we think it would be of help to you.  In some cases, we may refer you to these services rather than grant you an award under SESS.

We will also reject your claim and refer you elsewhere if we feel that a claim to another scheme or fund would be more appropriate, such as the schemes that are still run by Jobcentre Plus mentioned below.

If we suspect that your claim is fraudulent we will carry out an investigation and appropriate sanctions will be pursued where fraud is proven.

Why was this scheme introduced?

From April 2013, SESS has replaced Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants, which were part of the Social Fund run by Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus can still offer help through Budgeting Loans and Short Term Benefit Advance.  You can speak to you local Job Centre advisor for further information about these schemes.

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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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