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Local Crisis Support

A crisis is

  • an urgent need as a consequence of an emergency, disaster, unforeseen circumstance 
  • a pressing need that is different from the pressures generally associated with managing on a low income
  • where a household has insufficient resources to meet an urgent need that poses an immediate and large risk to their health and safety.


To qualify for an award, you must meet all the following conditions:

  • be 16 years or over;
  • be without enough resources to meet an urgent need that poses a serious risk to the health and safety of the applicant or their immediate family members;
  • a resident of and tenant/owner occupier in Gateshead;
  • a legal resident in the UK. 

We will not make an award if you, your partner or immediate family member has enough capital resources to meet your needs. For the purposes of this scheme, capital resources refer to:

  • savings in cash,
  • money in banks,
  • saving schemes, premium bonds, stocks, shares
  • investments in property or land.

We need your permission to allow us to check and consider other relevant sources of information held by us on your financial circumstances.

If you have no money and are waiting for benefits and there is a delay from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP), you can apply for a short term benefit advance. To do this you need to contact DWP on 0800 169 0140. To apply for a Universal Credit advance contact the Universal Credit Centre by telephone on 0800 328 5644.

If you need a budgeting loan or advance please contact the DWP 0800 169 0140 or you can apply online at

For further information and to apply to Universal Credit for an advance or budgeting advance contact the Universal Contact Centre by telephone 0800 328 5644. 

The Local Discretionary Payment Scheme states:
An award may be in the form of:

  • direct supply of goods;
  • a prepaid card, which the applicant can use to buy the agreed items, goods or service;
  • referral and recommendation for the required items to be provided by a voluntary or other agency directly;
  • a voucher or referral to access the Gateshead Food Bank;
  • any other method deemed suitable by Gateshead Council to meet the need applied for.

We will not make any direct cash awards except in very exceptional circumstances.

We will not make an award under the following conditions:

  • lost or stolen money with or without a crime number;
  • cash advances for benefit payments
  • benefit spent
  • lost income through benefit sanctions or disallowances
  • the crisis defined is a repeat occurrence. It may be within the allowable framework as detailed above, but may highlight a maintenance concern rather than an incident or crisis.
  • the applicant has made more than two applications within a rolling 12 month period, starting from the date their last application was received. Exemptions may be granted in exceptional circumstances.

There may be a need to repay the amount awarded in part or in full via the Council or the applicant may be required to repay the monetary value of an award.

Icon for pdf Local Discretionary Payment Scheme March 2018 [72.03KB]

How to apply

Apply for a local crisis payment (local discretionary payment)

To make an application for a local crisis payment (local discretionary payment) please use our online application form. You can also apply in the Civic Centre at the Information Desk.

Apply for a local crisis payment

  • by telephone 0191 433 3676 / 0191 433 4848
  • by post to (or hand delivery to):
    • Local Discretionary Payments 
      Benefit Team
      Gateshead Council
      Civic Centre 
      Regent Street 
      NE8 1HH 

We can help you to make a claim in person in exceptional circumstances only.

What happens next

Crisis Support will be

  • access to essential items (food and utilities)
  • signposting to other services and organisations.

We will arrange for any award of food to be delivered direct to your door at a pre-arranged time.

All applications will be processed by the Local Discretionary Payments Team

Monday to Thursday 9am - 4.30pm

Friday 9am - 3pm

We do not guarantee that a decision will be made or an award made on the day the application is submitted. All applications will be dealt with as soon as is reasonably practicable. Please only ring us on 0191 433 3676 if we have not responded within three days of your application.

Contact Crisis Support

For more information or to speak to a member of the Crisis Support team please call 0191 433 3676 or 0191 433 4848

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