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Quick guide to grants

If you are new to grants, read this step-by-step beginner's guide to find out more about grants, charitable funds and how the Turn2us Grants Search can help you.

What are charitable funds?

Charitable funds are run by grant-giving charities to give grants to people in financial need.

In most cases, charitable funds have been set up to assist people in financial need who have something in common. See who can apply for help.

See About Charitable Funds and grants for more information on how they work.

Use our Grants Search database to find charitable funds that might be able to help you, based on your personal circumstances, background and needs.

What help do charitable funds give?

Each charitable fund is very individual in the way that it works and the type of support it gives.

Most will give financial help in the form of grants for specific purposes. Many also provide other forms of support, such as information, advice and services.

See About Charitable Funds and grants for more information on how they work.

What is a grant?

A grant is a sum of money that a charitable fund gives to people in need who qualify for its help.

Grants are given as a gift or award, so they don’t need to be paid back.

See About Charitable Funds and grants for more information on how they work.

Who can apply for help?

All charitable funds have specific qualifying rules or eligibility criteria setting out who they are able to support. The criteria usually relates to:

  • Particular disabilities or illnesses
  • Jobs or industries currently or previously worked in
  • Faith
  • Nationality
  • Income level
  • The area you live in
  • Your age group, such as ‘older people’ or ‘children and young people aged under 18’

Many funds also help the dependents of people their fund supports – e.g. their partners, ex-partners or children.

The listing for each charitable fund on our Grants Search database includes information about who is eligible for its help.

See About Charitable Funds and grants for more information on how they work.

Is emergency help available?

Many charitable funds give financial help in an emergency or crisis – as a grant or a loan.

What is defined as an emergency will depend on the particular charitable fund.

See Emergency help for more information.

How can the Turn2us Grants search database help me?

Our Grants Search database makes searching for grants much easier.

It contains details of 3,000 charitable funds that give grants for welfare or educational purposes.

In many cases, you can also make online enquiries to charitable funds through the Turn2us website.

See Using the Turn2us Grants Search database for more information.

How do I search for a grant using Turn2us?

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to build up a picture of your background and situation to find possible charitable funds that may be able to help 

See Searching for grants for more information.

How do I apply for a grant?

Each charitable fund has its own enquiry and application process that applicants asking for help have to follow.

However in most cases, there are two stages involved:

  • Making an initial enquiry
  • Submitting a formal application for help

See Applying for help for more information.

What help is available to help me apply for grants?

Help may be available from:

  • The charitable fund
  • Advisers and health/care professionals (intermediaries) involved in your care
  • Local advisers that you can find by using the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool.

See Help to apply for more information.

How quickly will my application be processed?

Charitable funds usually try to reply as quickly as possible to applicants. However, a lot depends on:

  • the resources they have available, in terms of staff and funding
  • what procedures they use to assess your application
  • the necessary checks they need to make.

The charitable fund should be able to advise you how long their application process usually takes.

If successful, how will I receive my grant?

You may be paid by cheque or through a direct bank transfer using a system likes the Bankers Automated Clearing System (BACS).

Some charities also give grants as 'gifts in kind'. This means that they would buy certain items, such as furniture, telephones, televisions or disability equipment on behalf of their beneficiaries – especially if they can get a better price because they are a charity or through buying in bulk.

Sometimes, items such as disability equipment are given as a loan (free of charge or at a low rental cost) rather than as a gift.

The charitable fund will advise you further.

What if my application is refused?

Unfortunately, your application to a charitable fund may be refused. The fund should give you a reason when replying to you.

This may be because:

  • You don't meet the qualifying rules
  • It does not provide grants for the type of help you want
  • You have too much income and/or capital to be eligible for support.

You may wish to return to the Turn2us Grants Search database to search for other charitable funds that may be able to help you, depending on your personal circumstances, background and need.

Unfortunately, in some cases, you may not qualify for help from any organisation listed on our database.

Find grants online

Search for charitable funds and grants using our grant search tool.

Search now

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