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How a grant can help when times are tough

  • 18/05/2015
  • Author:alissasteiner

A guest article by our friends at The Charity for Civil Servants.

We know that one unexpected change in a household can be enough to push them into hardship. When this happens, the first step is to find out which benefits you’re entitled to

But there are times when a household needs extra support. In those times, it can seem easy to go for a fast option such as a payday loan – but free help does exist in the form of charitable grants. 

How the Charity for Civil Servants can help

“Without your help I wouldn’t have a home..”

“I came to you in desperation after I’d tried every avenue I could.  You sent me a lifeline to help us get back on our feet...”


Purse strings are tight...we know that. Every day The Charity for Civil Servants supports people who are feeling the strain of rising living costs and who have exhausted their options for living more frugally. But ‘life’ still happens to these people.  On average, each month, 150 people seek our help and financial support because of one change, one unexpected life event that sends them into financial and emotional turmoil.  Illness, bereavement, redundancy and relationship breakdown can all result in reduced income, loss of employment, homelessness and long term physical and mental ill-health.    

Even for those not living on a strict budget, life can be significantly impacted by one-off changes to their circumstances.  For example, a two income household suddenly becoming one income, through divorce, job loss or death can result in severe financial instability.  

In the UK, the problem for low income workers is bigger than ever, so when one change occurs in a household that ‘s already struggling, people simply do not know where to turn.  Where can people go in these situations? We’re the occupational charity for the Civil Service, which includes former, current and retired staff.  We’re here to support people who find themselves in difficult situations at any stage in their lives.  Occupational benevolent organisations, like ours, can provide people with financial support and information, advice and guidance when these situations arise.
 

How to find a grant


The Turn2us Grants Search helps you access a database of over 3,000 charitable funds that could provide extra support when it’s needed most. Jayne’s story shows how a grants search can turn things around: 

Jayne was living with her husband and son in Manchester when they were forced to declare bankruptcy back in 2008. The family were just getting back on track, when two years later her husband lost his job and their financial worries “spiralled, again, out of control”.

Unable to afford even basic everyday items and getting behind with her mortgage and bills, the couple’s debt was mounting. Finally, Jayne decided to have a look to see if there was information about dealing with debt, which is where she found out about the Turn2us Grants Search tool.

With a working history both the civil service, Jayne realised that she was eligible to apply to a couple of specialist charities. Turn2us put Bernadette in touch with The Charity for Civil Servants, and kept in touch with her by email while her applications were being processed.  

The Charity for Civil Servants offered Jayne a grant of £400 towards daily living costs and to replace an old mattress. Jayne also found help through the Bank Workers Charity, which helped her purchase a new cooker and pay off household debts. 

Jayne says she now feels much better about her finances and is really pleased to be out of a downward cycle of debt and to be able to buy her son the things he needs. In fact, now loving her voluntary position with a local charity which helps primary school children learn to read, Jayne says she’s got her confidence back and is feeling positive about training to become a teaching assistant. 

If you can relate to Jayne before she found help, find benefits and grants now to see what help could be available to you.

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