Recycling and Waste - If your collection day falls on Good Friday (30th March) we will collect your recycling and waste on Saturday 31st March.

Your collection day will not change following the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Essential Living Fund

This scheme is a grant system and is open for anyone to claim.

To see whether you qualify for the award you will need to answer questions about your income, earnings and savings. You also need to give proof of your financial situation.

The scheme can cover applications for:

  • furniture - such as a bed, settee, armchair, wardrobe, table
  • furnishings - such as carpets, curtains, bedding
  • white goods - such as cookers, fridge, washing machines
  • household equipment - such as cooking utensils, small electrical appliances
  • fuel connection charges
  • clothing and footwear
  • general living expenses - these are day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, cleaning/hygiene products, money for pay as you go fuel meters.

If you are awarded the grant you will not be paid in cash or into a bank account. Instead it will be:

  • food or supermarket vouchers
  • AllPay cards
  • high quality recycled furniture from reputable charity
  • white goods from a reputable local dealer.

How to apply for an Essential Living Fund grant

For General Living Expenses (e.g. groceries, nappies, toiletries, hygiene products and fuel) apply by calling us on 0300 7900124 between 8:45am - 5:15pm.

For furniture/white goods/clothing and footwear/household equipment by using the online application form:

  • if you live within the Southend on Sea Borough use this online form
  • if you live within the Thurrock Borough use this online form
  • if you live in any other part of Essex use this online form

Note: any furniture, furnishing or household equipment will be second-hand. White goods will be reconditioned or new where appropiate.

The application form relies on pop ups. To get round it follow the steps below.

1. Click on the option marked “Tools” at the top of the page

2. Highlight the option marked “Pop-up Blocker” 

3. Click on the option marked “Always Allow Pop-ups from This Site”. A new tab will open when you select Make an Application you will then be able to continue with the form.


After you have applied

General Living Expenses

General Living Expenses Applications are treated as priority. We aim to have the supermarket vouchers/food vouchers/fuel top ups (made by All Pay cards) processed within same working day as the application.

Note: Depending on the time of day you call you may not be able to collect the voucher or AllPay card on the same working day.

You will be told at the end of the phone call whether your claim has been successful. You will also be given a unique reference number and other information you will need to get the food or supermarket voucher.

All vouchers and AllPay cards will be picked up from allocated points around the borough within a set time. You will be told of the pick up point and time in the phone call.

All Other Applications

You will be told if your application for furniture, household furnishings, white goods, clothing or footwear is successful by letter. The letter will have more information on how to get the items and what you need to take with you to get your items.

AllPay Cards

An AllPay card is similar to a Mastercard debit card and an amount of credit will already be loaded onto the card. The card can be used in any store that accepts MasterCard. The card should only to be used to buy the items you applied for.


The card is only valid for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks the card will be cancelled and made invalid. Any money left on the card will be refunded back to the Essential Living Fund scheme.


You can request a review of Essential Living Fund grant decisions if you disagree with our decision.

You can ask for reconsideration by writing to us at:

Essential Living Fund, Southend on Sea Borough Council, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, Essex, SS2 6ER

This must be done in writing within 1 month of the date you got your notification letter.

A member of the Benefits Management Team will then decide the final outcome. You cannot appeal against the final decision.

Further Information

For more information please view the ELF policy in the related downloads section.

Page last updated: 09/01/2018