Welcome to Access Southampton

More information about the range of support available for people living in Southampton. Click the links below to jump to the relevant section:

Access to WorkGeneral support
Armed Forces Community SupportMental Health
Benefits, Money and Cost of LivingNeurodiversity
ChildcarePregnancy and parenting
CommunitiesRefugees and Asylum Seekers
DBS checks and disclosureSkills Development
DebtThings to do
Employment RightsThe Zone

Access to Work

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work can help you get or stay in work if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability. The support you get will depend on your needs. Through Access to Work, you can apply for:

  • a grant to help pay for practical support with your work
  • advice about managing your mental health at work
  • money to pay for communication support at job interviews

How to apply

Check you’re eligible and then apply for an Access to Work grant.

Access to Work Mental Health Support Service

This confidential service delivered by Remploy is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and is available at no charge to any employees with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work. If you or your colleague would like support, please email a2wmhss@remploy.co.uk

Please note that due to the Covid-19 outbreak, our team is working from home. Our service is still fully operational, and we aim to contact you within four hours. Our specialist advisers provide:

  • Tailored work-focused mental health support for nine months
  • Suitable coping strategies
  • A support plan to keep them in, or return to work
  • Ideas for workplace adjustments to help them fulfil their role
  • Practical advice to support those with a mental health condition.

To access this service, individuals need to be in permanent or temporary employment and have a mental health condition (diagnosed or undiagnosed) that has resulted in workplace absence, or is causing difficulties to remain in work.

If you or a colleague would like support and cannot email us, you can call us on 0300 456 8114 between the hours of 10:00 – 16:00.


Health Adjustment Passport

The Health Adjustment Passport (HAP) is now available on GOV.UK and can be used to support you to identify what help and changes (known as reasonable adjustments) are available to help you move into work or stay in a job.

This could include support from Access to Work, such as funding for specialist equipment, support getting to and from work or support when in work. 

The HAP is owned by you, and you can decide how you want to use it and who you share it with. Completion is voluntary, and your work coach or support worker can help you to complete it if needed.

Armed Forces Support

Support for the Armed Forces Community

Southampton’s Armed Forces Community Covenant document is a voluntary statement of mutual support between Southampton’s civilian community and its local armed forces community, both past and present.

It complements the national armed forces covenant which outlines the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the armed forces at the local level.

You can find out more information via the Southampton Armed Forces Community Covenant document and visit Hampshire County Council’s website for information and support for the armed forces community.

We estimate that 76,207 adults and children are part of the Solent Armed Forces community. The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership have worked together to understand the needs of this community and you can read the full needs assessment. Our handy infographic gives some headline information from the assessment.

RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity

The Forces Employment Charity provide life-long, life-changing support, jobs and training opportunities to Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families. They provide a range of practical tools and advice for gaining employment and the challenges that occur when transitioning into civilian life, including:

  • Advice on career choices
  • Researching the job market
  • Job matching
  • Training
  • Recommendations for courses and education opportunities
  • Support for writing a CV
  • Advice on interview techniques
  • Expert industry knowledge and updates
  • Events and employment fairs

Find out more: RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity

Veterans’ Hubs project

Veterans’ Hubs are places for veterans to drop in and share the company of others who have served. The hubs are also gateways for advice, guidance and support services all under one roof.

Where is my nearest Veterans’ Hub?

Surrey County Council have created a map of all the Veterans’ Hubs across the South East. You can view the map here: Veteran Hubs and Drop-ins in the South East (arcgis.com)

Benefits, Money and Cost of Living

Citizens Advice SouthamptonCitizens Advice Southampton – Help and advice for everyone
Government WebsiteWelfare – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
SARCSARC – quality advice and representation in welfare benefits and employment
Southampton City CouncilBenefits & Welfare (southampton.gov.uk)
Understanding Universal CreditUnderstanding Universal Credit – Home

Cost of Living Support

Find out what cost of living support you might be eligible for:
Cost of Living Support – Get government support to help with the cost of living

For Easy-Read guidance, please visit:
Help with the Cost of Living (understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk)

Cost of Living Support in Southampton: Getting help with the cost of living (southampton.gov.uk)

Cost of Living Payment

For guidance on getting extra payments to help with the cost of living if you’re entitled to certain benefits or tax credits, please visit: Cost of Living Payments 2023 to 2024 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

You may be able to get up to 5 payments to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits.

You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits. This includes if you’re found to be eligible at a later date.

Second 2023/24 Cost of Living Payment dates announced
Millions of UK households will shortly get a Cost of Living Payment of £300. The payment will be made to eligible customers between 31 October and 19 November 2023.
This is the second of three payments over the financial year totalling up to £900. Eligible pensioner households will also receive a further £300 payment later this year as an addition to the Winter Fuel payment.
Eligible tax credits-only customers who do not qualify for a payment from DWP will receive £300 from HMRC between 10 and 19 November.
Customers will receive the payments automatically. They do not need to contact DWP or do anything to receive the payment.
From 20 November, people who have become retrospectively entitled, or think they should have had a Cost of Living Payment but have not received one can report it via GOV.UK. If the person is not able to use the internet or they do not know someone who can help them, they can report a missing payment via their benefit telephony line.
Read more information about the Cost of Living Payments on GOV.UK.
For further information about the government’s cost of living support package, please visit Help for Households on GOV.UK.

Household Support Fund

Additional funding has been made available from the UK Government to local councils via Household Support Fund to help to support those most in need to help with rising living costs.

To find out about the Household Support Fund in Southampton and to self-refer, please visit Household Support Fund (southampton.gov.uk)

Energy Company Support Funds

Some energy companies have support funds and hardship grants available for customers who are struggling. Below is a list of energy suppliers who offer grants to their customers:

If you can’t get a grant from your own supplier, you might be able to get a grant from the British Gas Energy Trust. These grants are available to anyone – you don’t have to be a British Gas customer to be eligible.

For further advice and support, you can visit the following websites:

FoodCycle Southampton

FoodCycle is a national charity with the Vision of making food poverty, loneliness and food waste a thing of the past for every Community. They are running a free communal meals service every Wednesday at 6pm at the Sholing Salvation Army, 93 North East Road, SO19 8AF.

Website: FoodCycle Southampton – More than a Food bank | Free Food homeless charity
Phone: 02077 292 775
Email: southampton@foodcycle.org.uk

Universal Credit Support Website

DWP has launched a new website to help people understand what Universal Credit means for them: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk

  • This site provides customers with support to direct them to claim the right benefit, whether that is Universal Credit or one of our other existing benefits.
  • With clear content and easy to follow navigation, the site will be a valuable source of information for both customers and organisations.
  • Customers should still continue to claim Universal Credit at www.gov.uk/universal-credit. There are links to this page and support for how to fill out the claim on the new Understanding Universal Credit website.

DWP Benefits Checker

The DWP have launched a new benefits checking tool to help people who think they might be eligible for Universal Credit. It takes a few minutes, and doesn’t require any detailed information, nor does it process or store personal data. It is an easy first step for anyone who is unsure whether they want to start a claim.

Benefits Checker: What could you claim?

Check what benefits and financial support you might be entitled to

Check benefits and financial support you can get – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Benefits information available via WhatsApp

People can now access the most up-to-date benefits and support information via their smart phones, using WhatsApp.

The service, which can be accessed by sending ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to 07860 064 422, has been launched to help combat the spread of incorrect information and to make the correct information easily accessible.

The GOV.UK service currently has more than 312,000 unique users, and has sent more than 2.6 million messages since its launch on 25 March 2020.

DWP is one of the first government departments to provide information via the service which includes information on benefits support available, how to check if you are eligible and how to apply.

British Sign Language (BSL) Universal Credit Videos

The DWP has produced a range of BSL videos on coronavirus and benefit changes. These include new content for Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay.

You can view these videos on the DWP YouTube Sign channel

The ‘New Style’ ESA Claimant Guide Update

The ‘New Style’ ESA claimant guide on gov.uk has been updated and republished.

The new guide includes a table of scenarios to help claimants understand when they may wish to claim ‘New Style’ ESA on its own, or with Universal Credit, or just Universal Credit.

It also includes a link to a leaflet in PDF format which can be printed out locally and handed to a claimant to reinforce a discussion on ‘New Style’ ESA.

Help to Save

Help to Save is a type of savings account. It allows certain people entitled to Working Tax Credit or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over 4 years.

Help to Save is backed by the government so all savings in the scheme are secure.

Find out more: Get help with savings if you’re on a low income (Help to Save)


Childcare Choices

Could you do with some help with your childcare costs?

Over a million families are entitled to government-funded childcare support that could be worth thousands of pounds. Whether you have toddlers or school kids, you could get support with your childcare payments.

It’s easy to find out about all the offers online, just visit ChildcareChoices.gov.uk for more information on what support you could receive. Don’t miss out on the help you could be entitled to.

Childcare Choices Website

Southampton Family Information Service

The Southampton Family Information Service gives advice and support to parents, and help for childcare providers. This includes advice on:

  • Nurseries and pre schools
  • Local childminders
  • Parenting and family support
  • Parent and toddler groups
  • Children’s health
  • Breakfast clubs
  • After school activities
  • Out of school/holiday activities
  • Working with children

For more information please email fis@southampton.gov.uk

Alternatively you can search the Southampton Information Directory


Southampton City Council’s Stronger Communities Team

Practical information, tips and policies for community groups to help start, fund and run a local community group.

Keeping in touch with Stronger Communities:

DBS checks and disclosure

DBS Check Processes Explained

In response to COVID-19, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place, to provide standard and enhanced DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the adults’ and children’s Barred Lists, free-of-charge. This applies to healthcare and social care workers in England and Wales, being recruited in connection with the provision of care and treatment of coronavirus, or those being recruited to backfill roles because of the impact of the pandemic.

Disclosure & Barring Service have developed a short video which aims to show the process of a standard and enhanced DBS application in a more user-friendly way.

Advice around Disclosure

Nacro Disclosing criminal records to employers – Nacro

Unlock Applying for a new job? Do you know what you need to disclose to an employer? – Unlock


Frontline Debt AdviceFrontline Debt Advice – Life after debt
Christians Against PovertyCAP UK | Get help near you
Southampton City Council Debt ToolkitHelp with debt (southampton.gov.uk)

Employment Rights

AcasAcas | Making working life better for everyone in Britain
Tel: 0300 123 1100     
Tel: 023 8043 1435

General support

Searching for Social Care support

If you’re searching for information on adult or children’s social care support, visit Southampton City Council’s new-look directory of support services webpage. It lists organisations and groups that can provide help with:

  • Childcare
  • Respite care
  • Parenting/carers
  • Employment
  • SEND
  • Wellbeing

These are just some of the topics that you’ll find. Search by keyword, postcode or organisation. Help is just a click away.

Flexible Working for over-50s

Flexible working advice for older workers can be found from page 15 of this toolkit: www.ageing-better.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-09/Timewise-Flex-Working-toolkit.pdf

Mental Health

Helplines and Emergency Support

If you need help during a mental health crisis or emergency, NHS urgent mental health helplines provide:

  • 24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for
  • help to speak to a mental health professional
  • an assessment to help decide on the best course of care

Find a local NHS urgent mental health helpline

In a health emergency, always call 999. Deaf people can use 18000 to contact 999 using text relay.

Samaritans –To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone) or email jo@samaritans.org

Solent Mind Support Line – a support line and web chat for anyone in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who feels low, anxious and needs someone to talk to. Call 023 8017 9049 Weekdays: 9am -7pm andWeekends: 10am – 2pm

SANEline – If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day)

Shout– Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. TEXT ‘SHOUT’ TO 85258


Every Mind Matters – quizzes, information and videos to help you deal with anxiety

Anxiety UK is a charity that supports people to deal with anxiety. Helpline: 03444 775 774 | Mon-Fri 9:30am – 5:30pm

Mind provide advice on their website about anxiety, panic attacks and self-care


Every Mind Matters – tips and videos to help you deal with feelings of low mood and depression

Mind have information on their website about depression

Rethink help people experiencing mental illness and have information and factsheets on their website

Steps2Wellbeing offer psychological therapies for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress. There is a wealth of support available for Southampton residents including courses, webinars, video consultations, workbooks and resources


Kooth is a free anonymous, confidential, safe, online wellbeing service, offering professional support, information and forums for young people.

This is a quick and easy guide for children and young people to read for support in signing up to Kooth.

Find out more and sign up at Kooth.com

Information resources on how to sign up to kooth.

Business in the Community Mental Health Toolkit for Employers

Business in the Community has partnered with Public Health England to produce a free, online toolkit to help every organisation support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees. It will help employers take positive actions to build a culture that champions good mental health and provides a greater understanding of how to help those who need more support.

This toolkit will help employers pick out the most valuable resources, and help to develop an approach that works. For larger organisations, the toolkit is also a useful resource to share with businesses in their supply chain and across their network.

Every organisation has an opportunity to support and develop a mentally healthy workforce and it doesn’t need to be complicated – this toolkit will help you understand and act, step by step.

Business in the Community Mental Health Toolkit for Employers

Solent Mind Self Harm Support Hub

Solent Mind Self Harm Support Hub – Solent Mind has launched a new Self Harm Support Hub to provide support to parents, carers and professionals in Hampshire & the Isle of Wight. Supporting a young person who self-harms can be a difficult journey. The new hub includes information and toolkits in addition to access to new peer support groups, training resources and wellbeing information provided by Solent Mind


Employment Support for people with neurodivergent conditions

Visit our webpage for more information: access-southampton.co.uk/learning-disabilities

DARE Autism and Employment Resources

Discover Autism Research & Engagement (DARE) have produced lots of resources around autism and employment: dareuk.org/resources

Pregnancy and Parenting


PATH is an EU-funded project which will enable women, families and healthcare professionals to prevent, diagnose and successfully manage mild to moderate perinatal mental health issues. PATH’s online hub has lots of resources and information for parents, families, employers and healthcare professionals: PATH_UK (path-perinatal.eu)

Managing Anxiety During Pregnancy and the Postnatal Period

Parent Support Link

Supporting and informing the families and friends of people who use drugs and alcohol. Is your Child, Partner or Friend using drugs or alcohol? Parent Support Link offer confidential support and information. Call 023 8023 0645


Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Support for Refugees

The Universal Credit Communications Team have been working with The Home Office and The Refugee Council to develop a product that will help refugees get the support they need at the appropriate time. The new product encourages refugees to act quickly to ensure accommodation and financial support is in place at the end of the ‘move on’ period. The product outlines how important it is that refugees take appropriate action once they have received leave to remain in the UK.

View and Download the leaflet here

You can also find a flat-text version of the leaflet here on www.gov.uk.

Support in Southampton is also available from CLEAR Project and EU Welcome

Refugee Employability Programme

The Refugee Employability Programme (REP) launched across England on 4 September 2023.

REP, commissioned by the Home Office, aims to remove barriers faced by refugees that cannot be fully addressed by mainstream services when seeking employment and adjusting to life in the UK (England only). 

REP will provide support for refugees and those granted protection who have arrived through safe and legal routes to fully integrate into life here, contribute to the economy and build a sustainable and long-term future for themselves and their communities.

REP is only available to those who are capable of and looking for work.

To contact Palladium or to make a referral: REPEnquiry@thepalladiumgroup.com

Or call Palladium at: 0800 002 5940

Skills Development

Events & Training calendar

Visit our Events & Training calendar to see the latest training courses, open events and careers fairs to help you develop your skills.

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service is adapting the way it delivers its offering to ensure it can continue to provide an uninterrupted service to thousands of citizens across the region.

The National Careers Service provides free, professional and impartial advice on getting a new job, changing careers, training, education and the labour market.

While the face-to-face service is unavailable, individuals can still access support using a range of channels including telephone appointments, webchat, video call and social media.

Our FREE service can support individuals to:

  • Build confidence
  • Complete a skills assessment
  • Review/ update their CV
  • Develop online interview skills
  • Identify online training opportunities
  • Get new qualifications
  • Plan the next steps of their career

Our service is also able to support if you have:

  • Been furloughed
  • Not furloughed but concerned your job may be at risk
  • Made redundant

At this time, there is also a great deal of opportunity to explore online learning. Our advisers are best placed to help individuals identify the right learning opportunity and have access to thousands of courses and training providers.

The National Careers Service is completely free of charge, and accessible to adults living in England. To access the service, call 0800 100 900, or https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/

Young Women’s Trust Free Support Services

Young Women’s Trust run the Work It Out service – free 1:1 coaching and CV support for all young women aged 18 – 30 in England and Wales.

Coaching can help you to unlock your potential and achieve your goals. 

Have up to 6 free sessions with a friendly, professional coach over the phone or Whatsapp at a time that suits you (including evenings and weekends).
You can talk to your coach about lots of things including identifying your skills and strengths, feeling more confident and resilient, planning your next steps and more. 
There is an interpreter service available with coaching.

“My coach has been excellent. It has been really good for my mental well-being to be able to talk through the challenges that I have been facing with someone external and receive reassurances and a confidence boost, especially in these difficult and isolating times.” – Young woman.

More info and sign up here: www.youngwomenstrust.org/get-support/coaching

CV Support to improve your job applications and land that interview!

You can submit a CV, job application or cover letter and get detailed, personalised advice and feedback by email from an HR expert to help you be your best self on job applications. 

More info and sign up here: www.youngwomenstrust.org/get-support/help-cv-job-applications/

Read Easy Southampton

Read Easy provides free and confidential one-to-one reading coaching for adults. People can learn to read or improve their reading skills at their own pace and without pressure. It’s friendly, flexible and fun!

Contact southamptoncoordinator@readeasy.org.uk for more information

Things to do

Holiday, Activities & Food Programme (Southampton HAF)

The Department for Education (DfE) has provided funding to local authorities to coordinate a programme that is designed to provide healthy food and enriching activities during the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays to children who receive benefits-related free school meals.

The programme offers valuable support to families on lower incomes, giving them the opportunity to access rewarding and active activities alongside healthy meals over the school holidays.

Following the success for the programme in Southampton in 2021 we are delighted to have been awarded funding to run the programme for the next three years in the city.

The video below celebrates the great work of Southampton City Council and its partners in delivering the HAF project over the summer of 2021, showcasing the wealth of provision, partnership working and commitment to supporting our city’s children. The project supported eligible children receiving free school meals in Southampton, offering families a safe environment to be active, educated, entertained through enrichment activities and the added provision of health meals.

To find out more and register for activities in 2023, please visit
HAF Holiday Activity and Food Scheme (southampton.gov.uk)

The Zone

The Zone

The Zone is a network of IAG professionals who are supporting people in and around Southampton to find education, employment and training.

The Zone has a mailing list for organisations to promote their training and personal development courses that are running in Southampton to IAG professionals who can refer people to this provision.

If you are an Information, Advice and Guidance practitioner who would like to join the Zone mailing list, please email thezone@southampton.gov.uk

If you are a college or training provider who would like to advertise your courses on the Zone, please email Daniel.Stickland@southampton.gov.uk

Skip to content