New research from Turn2us, part of the national charity Elizabeth Finn Care, has revealed a stark lack of awareness of the support available through charitable grants amongst people in financial hardship, and the measures they are taking before seeking help.
Over two-thirds (67%) of Turn2us website users said they were completely unaware of charitable grants before finding out about this help through Turn2us. Worryingly, over a third (36%) had been struggling financially for over a year before checking what support could be available to them.
As a result of their situation, almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents had no choice but to rely on the financial support of family and friends, and over three-fifths (64%) have been forced to cut back on food and heating. In addition, over a quarter (27%) have resorted to using credit cards to pay their bills and essentials, and over a fifth (22%) have taken out a short-term or payday loan.
This is echoed in the main reasons for respondents experiencing financial difficulties, with debt reported as one of the top three most common causes, alongside illness and disability and struggling on a low income.
Turn2us has released these new research findings to coincide with the launch of its grants awareness campaign ‘Go for a Grant’. The campaign is encouraging anyone in financial hardship to use the free online Turn2us Grants Search tool to check their eligibility for grants and other support depending on their particular needs and circumstances.
There are over 3,000 grant-giving charities available in the UK, distributing £288 million in grants and services to individuals in need every year*. Each charitable fund is set up to assist people on low incomes according to their current or previous occupation, the area they live or for a specific health condition or disability.
Individuals who have used the Turn2us Grants Search tool have seen an average annual income increase of over £2,400 in regular charitable grants and over £550 in one-off grants.
Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said: “Our research shows that more needs to be done to help raise awareness of the vital support provided by grant-giving charities. We know that people in financial difficulty can be reluctant to turn to charities for help and as a result are forced to go without everyday essentials or are taking on increasingly large amounts of debt. Yet feedback from individuals using our services shows that once they have sought help, receiving a grant has an overwhelmingly positive financial and emotional impact on their lives.
“With new reports showing that there are an extra 300,000 households living in poverty in the UK than previously thought**, the need for support has never been greater. Through our campaign we hope to reach out to more people in need and encourage them to check their eligibility for help today.”
The ‘Go for a Grant’ campaign is being supported by a number of charities across the UK to increase awareness of the help available to those in need. As part of the campaign, Turn2us is also releasing a new research report providing insights in to how the grant-giving charity sector operates and plans for future developments.
For more information about the campaign, please visit www.turn2us.org.uk.
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For further information and interviews with Turn2us case studies or spokespeople, please contact: Emma Lamberton, Communications Officer, Turn2us, Email: Emma.Lamberton@turn2us.org.uk Telephone: 0208 834 9259
Notes to Editors
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Turn2us’ online survey completed by 1161 Turn2us website users between 10 September and 31 October. Respondents were individuals looking for financial help for themselves
*Directory of Social Change 2014 (link opens in a new window)
**Institute for Fiscal Studies and Joseph Rowntree Foundation 5 November 2014 (PDF file size 15.69kb)
There are over 13 million people living in poverty in the UK.
- Turn2us is part of the national charity Elizabeth Finn Care
- Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face-to-face through our partner organisations
- The Turn2us free, accessible website - http://www.turn2us.org.uk/ is designed to help people access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other help
- The website has a number of tools to make the process simpler, including a Grants Search, Benefits Calculator and ‘find an adviser’ tool to help locate someone to speak to
- Turn2us works in partnership with organisations across the UK, including AdviceUK, Association of Charitable Organisations, Citizens Advice, Child Poverty Action Group, Home-Start UK and Money Advice Trust to develop our services and reach the many millions of people that need our help.