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About charitable funds and grants - What help do charitable funds give?

In this section, you can learn more about how charitable funds work and the support, including grants, that they give to people in financial need.

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 have other services.


Charitable funds often give financial help to people in need who qualify for their help in the form of a grant. This may be a sum of money, given as a gift or award, so it doesn't have to be paid back.

Grants can be given as money, products or services.

Grants may involve:

  • Regular amounts of money to help you with your bills and other living expenses. This may be given 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, are on a low income 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 an essential item you need. This is often given as money. However, some grant-giving charities buy certain items, such as white goods, 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 awards 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. This type of grant might also be given to adults on low incomes who want to improve their job prospects or who are studying a particular subject, such as engineering.
  • Vouchers or an amount paid in credit to a shop to allow you to obtain specific items you need, such as food or clothing.
  • 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 - that they run themselves or work with other organisations to provide - 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, such as counselling.

  • Carer support

  • Holidays

  • 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.




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