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Information and Support

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This page was published on 17 Dec 2015 and some of the information may now be out of date.

More information

If you’ve been affected by issues raised in Sister Rita to the Rescue or Operation Meet the Street, there are organisations which offer advice and support.

Alcohol addiction

Aquarius helps people, their families and friends overcome the harms caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling.

Visit Aquarius' website

Alcoholics Anonymous provides opportunities to share experience, strength and hope to recover from alcoholism.

Phone: 0800 9177 650

Visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website

Drinkline is a confidential helpline for those worried about their own or someone else's drinking. They can put you in touch with your local alcohol advice centre for help and support.

Phone: 0300 123 1110

AddictionNI provides support and treatment to people affected by alcohol or drug addiction in Northern Ireland.

Phone on 0289 066 4434

Visit the AddictionNI website

Alcohol Focus Scotland works to reduce alcohol harm by providing information on alcohol consumption, how to recognise problem drinking and how to help someone with a drink problem.

Visit the Alcohol Focus Scotland website

The Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline is a bilingual helpline providing information or help to individuals, their families, carers, and support workers

Phone: 0808 808 2234 (24/7)

Visit The Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline

COAP, Children Of Addicted Parents And People provides support to young people living with a family member's addiction to drugs, alcohol or behaviour such as gambling

Visit the COAP website


Information relating to benefits in the United Kingdom can be found on the website

The Child Benefit Helpline offers advice and information on Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance.
Phone: 0300 200 3100 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm Sat 8am-4pm)

Visit The Child Benefit Helpline's website

The Tax Credits Helpline offers information on tax credits.
Phone: 0345 300 3900 (Mon-Sat 8am-4pm)

Visit The Tax Credit Helpline's website


Citizens Advice Service online offers information on benefits, employment and housing and help on debt, credit and legal issues.

Visit the Citizens Advice Service website

The Money Advice Service provides free and impartial money advice. An independent service originally set up by government.
Phone 0300 500 5000 (Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Sat 9am-1pm)

Visit The Money Advice Service website

My Money Steps is a free, interactive online debt advice service, which provides a personalised action plan for dealing with your debts.

Visit the My Money Steps website

National Debtline offers free, impartial, debt advice.
Phone: 0808 808 4000 (Mon-Fri 9am- 9pm Sat 9am-1.30pm)

Visit the National Debtline website

StepChange Debt Charity helps people in financial difficulty by providing free, confidential, independent and realistic debt advice.
Helpline: 0800 138 1111 (weekdays 8am-8pm; Sat 8am-4pm).

Visit StepChange's website

Debt Action NI offer free, confidential and impartial debt and money advice services across Northern Ireland.
Phone: 0800 917 4607 (Mon-Fri 8am- 9pm Sat 9am-3pm)

Visit the Debt Action NI website


Age UK provides free information, advice and support on the issues that matter to older people. Phone:
0800 169 6565 (England & Wales)
0808 808 7575 (Northern Ireland)
0845 125 9732 (Scotland)

Visit the Age UK website

Contact the Elderly tackles acute loneliness and isolation among older people aged 75 and over by organising free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups, in the homes of volunteers across England, Scotland and Wales.

Phone: 0800 716 543

Visit the Contact the Elderly website

Royal Voluntary Service provides personal, practical support to older people to help alleviate the loneliness that can set in when getting out and about is difficult.

Phone: 0845 608 0122 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm)

Visit the Royal Voluntary Service website

The Silver Line offers information, friendship, advice and protect and support those who are suffering abuse and neglect.

Phone: 0800 470 8090

Visit The Silver Line website

Community Network combats social isolation and loneliness by bringing people together on the phone to form Telephone Communities, to socialise, share experiences and support each other.

Visit the Community Network's website

Family Lives provides help and support in all aspects of family life, including bullying, volunteer befriending, and support for specific communities.

Phone: 0808 800 2222 (Mon-Fri 9am-9pm; Weekends 10am-3pm

Visit the Family Lives website

Get Connected offers free, confidential advice to young people under 25 who need help but don't know where to find it.

Phone: 0808 808 4994

Visit the Get Connected website

Home-Start helps families with young children by providing emotional and practical support with a wide variety of issues.
Information Line: 0800 068 63 68

Visit the Home-Start website

Netmums offer information to mothers on everything from finding playgroups to healthy eating and connect with other mums for chat and support.

Visit the Netmums website

TheSite provide non-judgmental support and information for 16 to 25 year-olds on everything from sex and exam stress to debt and drugs

Visit TheSite's website

WaveLength provides televisions and radios for isolated and lonely people and those living in poverty, at no cost to the recipient.

Visit the WaveLength website

Community centres and organisations

Community Matters' Advice Service provides guidance on all aspects of managing a charity, including the role of trustees, managing its premises, activities, and social and contractual relationships.
Phone: 0845 847 4253 (Mon, Wed, Fri 9.30am-1pm)

Visit the Community Matters website

UK Community Foundations help individuals, families, entrepreneurs, companies, charitable trusts and public sector bodies connect with, support and invest in their local communities across the UK.

Visit the UK Community Foundations website

Find a community support group or organisation in England and Wales

Councils for Voluntary organisations throughout the UK provide information and support voluntary and community organisations:

National Council for Voluntary Organisations

Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Wales Council for Voluntary Action

Mental health and depression

Mental Health Foundation provides a guide to Mental Health problems, topical issues and treatment options via their website

Visit the Mental Health Foundation website

Mind provides advice and support on a range of topics including types of mental health problem, legislation and details of local help and support in England and Wales.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (weekdays 9am - 6pm)

Visit Mind's website

Rethink Mental Illness can provide practical advice and information on therapy and medication, benefits, debt, criminal justice and your rights under the Mental Health Act
Phone 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri 10am-2pm)

Visit Rethink Mental Illness's website

YoungMinds offers information, support and advice for children and young people. Help for concerned parents of those under 25 is offered by phone 0808 802 5544 (Mon –Fri 9.30am-4pm)

Visit the YoungMinds website

Niamh Mental Wellbeing (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) provides local services to support the mental health and wellbeing of people across Northern Ireland.
Phone: 028 9032 8474

Visit Niamh Mental Wellbeing's website

SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) can answer general mental health enquiries, advise you on your rights and signpost you to your local services.
Phone: 0141 530 1000

Visit the SAMH website

Community Advice & Listening Line offers emotional support and information on mental health and related matters to people in Wales.
Phone: 0800 132 737,(24/7) or text "help" to 81066.

Visit the Community Advice & Listening Line website

Action on Depression provides information and support services to people in Scotland affected by the condition.

Visit the Action on Depression website

Depression Alliance is for anyone affected by depression, it helps people meet and chat to others in local areas, join a self help group, and learn more about depression, treatment and recovery.

Visit the Depression Alliance website

Samaritans is available 24 hours a day for anyone struggling to cope and provide a safe place to talk where calls are completely confidential.
Phone: 116 123

Visit The Samaritans' website

SupportLine offers confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults on a wide range of subjects.
Phone 01708 765200

Visit SupportLine's website

Breathing Space offers a confidential phone and web based service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.
Phone: 0800 83 85 87 (Mon-Thu 6pm-2am, weekends 24 hrs).
A BSL service is also available via the website.

Visit the Breathing Space website

Lifeline provides support to people suffering distress or despair in Northern Ireland, regardless of age or district.
Phone: 0808 808 8000 (24 hours a day)

Visit Lifeline's website

Poverty and homelessness

The Trussell Trust works with local communities to run foodbanks that provide three days’ emergency food and support to people in crisis.

Visit The Trussell Trust website

Changing Lives work with people who are or have been homeless, in addiction and recovery, as well as offering specialist support services for women and families and help with employment. Services offered vary from region to region.
Phone: 0191 273 8891

Visit the Changing Lives website

Crisis works with single homeless people and delivers services including education, employment, housing and well-being services addressing individual needs.
Phone on 0300 636 1967 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm))

Visit Crisis' website

Shelter helps people struggling with bad housing or homelessness, via their website, helpline and face to face services.

Phone: 0808 800 4444

Visit Shelter's website

Shelter Cymru provides free specialist legal advice and advocacy to anyone with housing difficulties in Wales.
Phone: n 0845 075 5005

Visit Shelter Cymru's website

Shelter Northern Ireland works to secure rights to housing for all households in Northern Ireland.
Phone: 028 9024 7752

Visit Shelter Northern Ireland's website

The Salvation Army offers friendship, support and practical help to people of all backgrounds, ages and needs, including accommodation and support centres for homeless people,
Phone: 020 7367 4500

Visit The Salvation Army website

StreetLink is a website that enables the public to alert local authorities in England about people sleeping rough in their area.
Phone: 0300 500 0914

Visit the StreetLink website

The Big Issue offers homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income by selling a magazine to the general public.
Phone: 020 7526 3200

Visit The Big Issue website


The Do-It Trust website offers a search facility to find volunteering opportunities according to interests, skills and location.

Visit the Do-It-Trust website

vInspired offers a range of volunteering opportunities to young people aged 16 - 25. A search facility is available.

Visit the vInpspired website

Information on volunteering throughout the UK can be found on the websites below:


Northern Ireland