What help do charitable funds give?
Each charitable fund is very individual in the way that it works and the types of support it gives. Although the financial help offered is usually through grants, many funds also give other support in the form of advice and services.
Charitable funds often give financial help to people in need who qualify for their help in the form of a grant. This is a sum of money, given as a gift or award, so it doesn't have to be paid back. Some also give loans.
Grants may involve:
- Regular amounts of money to help you with your bills and other living expenses. This may be given to you for a limited time while you are experiencing difficult life changes, such as bereavement or job loss. It may also be granted as ‘on-going’ support, for example if you have had to retire from work for medical reasons and need help to pay your bills or to buy essentials such as food and clothing.
- One-off grants (sometimes called specific gifts) to help you pay for a specific item you need. This is often given as money. However, some grant-giving charities buy certain items, such as furniture, telephones and televisions, on behalf of their beneficiaries – especially if they can get a better price because they are a charity or through buying in bulk. Equipment to help someone who has a disability may also be bought by grant-giving charities and given as a loan (free of charge or at a low rental cost) rather than as a gift.
- Educational grants to help with the costs of educational and training courses. For example, to help children who require extra help because they have disabilities/special needs or who might miss out on educational opportunities because their family is on a low income. These type of grants might also be given to adults on low incomes who want to improve their job prospects.
- Vouchers or an amount paid in credit to a shop to allow you to obtain specific items you need, such as food or clothing.
- Funding to improve your job prospects or quality of life, e.g. respite breaks and travelling expenses.
- Help with house repairs, adaptations and decorating.
What other support might charitable funds give to the people they support?
Other services that a charitable fund might offer to the people they support, through their own services or by working in partnership with other charities, include:
- Career coaching and other employment services to help people who have been made redundant find another job
- Financial advice and debt counselling
- Housing services
- Information and guidance on managing money and aspects of daily living as well as links to other sources of help
- Illness/disability/mental health support
- Carer support
- Respite care
- Care homes
- Befriending, regular visits and other social activities.
Working with other charitable funds or organisations
Many charitable funds work with other charities and organisations to help the people that they support.
If the financial support you need exceeds the limits of a particular charitable fund, they may agree to give you part of the cost. You may be able to find the rest from another organisation that you have a connection to.
For instance, if you have a disability and have worked in a particular type of job, you may be able to get help from a relevant disability charitable fund as well as one for people who have worked in your occupation or industry.
Do charitable funds give emergency help?
Many charitable funds give help in an emergency or crisis. This may be given as a:
- Loan (usually on an interest-free basis and paid back at a rate that you can afford).
What is defined as an emergency will vary, but might include:
- Homelessness because of fire, flood or family breakdown
- Help with respite care costs for an older or disabled person because a carer has to go into hospital
- Repair or replacement of an item of household goods, such as a washing machine, if the person who needed it was disabled or aged and would be at risk without it
- Vital living costs that you cannot pay because of a sudden job loss or bereavement. If you qualify, the charitable fund may be able to arrange emergency help within a few days.
If you need emergency help, use our Grants Search to find charitable funds that you have a connection with. You can then contact them to find out what urgent support they might be able to offer you.
If you are on a low income and in receipt of benefits, help might be available to you through local welfare provision. See Emergency Assistance for more information.