You are now leaving the Turn2us site. Turn2us is not responsible for content on third party sites.

Grants - what you need to know

Read our frequently asked questions to find out about charitable grants, how to search for a grant and how to apply.

Grants FAQ

What is a grant?

Grant-giving charities (also known as 'charitable funds') give financial help in the form of a grant to people in need.

This may be a sum of money, given as a gift or award, and it doesn't have to be paid back. Grants can be given as money, products or services. Some charities offer advice, information and support alongside financial grants. Check their website or contact them to find out more.

In most cases, charitable funds have been set up to help people in need who have something in common. To qualify for a grant, you will need to meet the eligibility rules for that grant. 

Who can use the Grants Search?

The Turn2us Grants Search contains information on charitable funds that may help:

  • UK citizens living in the UK
  • Citizens of other countries living in the UK
  • UK citizens living abroad
  • Students who are UK citizens or normally resident in the UK
  • Students from other countries wanting to study in the UK.
Isle of Man and Channel Islands

The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK and have their own governments, benefits system and charity registration schemes.

Although our Grants Search does not list charities that specifically help people in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, many national charities, such as occupational and health related funds, may help people who live in these territories. Contact any funds you find that seem to match your background, needs and circumstances for more information.

Our Find an Adviser tool includes information on advisory organisations for the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. These may be able to provide you with more information about local organisations.

How do I use the Grants Search?

The first part of the Grants Search asks you to put in key information:

  • Location - Funds in your local area will appear followed by national funds
  • Gender – Some funds only help men or women
  • Age – Some funds help a certain age group

The results will show funds that match where you live, your age and your gender. 

There are some funds that only give grants based on specific eligibility criteria, such as what you do for a living (or did in the past), or if you are suffering from a particular illness. The best way to get these type of funds to show in your results, choose from the occupation, health, religion or nationality categories at the top of the results page.  

Charities have very strict grant-giving rules, so make sure you definitely meet their eligibility criteria before you apply. If you don't meet their criteria then they won't be able to help you.

IMPORTANT TIP: It's worth searching for yourself, your partner/ex or the child/adult you're caring for - you may get different results.

What information will I need to apply for a grant?

  • Personal details like date of birth and address
  • Work history and proof of occupation
  • Reason you are applying for help
  • Details of your income: from benefits including Carer's Allowance, Tax Credits, earnings from employment, State Retirement Pension, occupational pensions and any other sources
  • Details of your savings, investments and other capital. You may need to provide bank statements
  • Details of rent or mortgage payments
  • How much your annual Council Tax bill is and whether you get any help with it

How many online enquiries can I make?

Each person who registers to use Turn2us’s services can have three online enquiries at any one time. 

Some funds say I must apply through an intermediary. Why?

Some charities will only accept applications through an intermediary or support worker who's applying on your behalf. Intermediaries who can help you apply might include:

  • Health and social care professionals, such as nurses, GPs, therapists and social workers.
  • Advisers from Citizens Advice and other advice organisations.
  • Staff and volunteers from charities working with people in financial need.
  • Someone who speaks on your behalf (advocate or representative) - for example advocates for people with learning disabilities.
  • Teachers.

Charitable funds may be able to help you find someone to apply on your behalf. Try contacting them or check their website if you can’t find an intermediary. Use our find an advisor tool to find an intermediary

How quickly will the charitable fund reply?

Charitable funds try to reply as quickly as possible to applicants. However, how long the grant application process takes 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 in order to consider your request for help. Some charitable funds use committees to assess applications. How frequently these meet will vary - they may meet once a month or less frequently. Others have caseworkers or other support staff who assess the applications and, in some cases, make home visits to applicants.

Make sure you complete the enquiry and application forms fully and provide as much information as possible to support your case. If details that they have asked you for are missing or you do not supply documents they have asked for, this will delay the process.

If the fund accepts my initial enquiry will I get a grant?

No. This means that, based on the information you have provided on your enquiry form, the charitable fund thinks they may be able to help you. They will then progress your enquiry to the more formal application stage where they will assess your needs and eligibility for a grant in more detail and decide whether or not they can help you.

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

If successful how will my grant be paid?

This will depend on the charitable fund awarding the 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 won't pay the grant directly to the person requiring help but to an intermediary organisation involved in their care.

Some charities 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?

There is no 'entitlement' to charitable grants, which are given at the discretion of each charitable fund.

Unfortunately, your application to a charitable fund may be refused. The fund should give you a reason when replying to you to tell you that they cannot help you.

This may be because:

  • You don't meet the qualifying rules
  • The charity does not provide grants for the type of help you want
  • You have too much income and/or capital to be eligible for support
  • For some other reason that is specific to the charitable fund you have applied for.
  • The charity may suggest other sources of help for you to try.

You can also use the Turn2us Grants Search 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.

Grants and Welfare Benefits

Most funds will not give a grant if there are welfare benefits you could be claiming.

If you get regular payments from the fund they are not counted as income and will not reduce your benefits.

If you get goods instead (payments in kind), this is ignored as income unless you are getting Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and are involved in a trade dispute.

Irregular charitable payments count as capital rather than income.  However, if you are involved in a trade dispute, they can count as income for Income Support (IS) or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (iJSA).

If an irregular payment takes your capital above the higher capital limit of £16,000, you will lose your entitlement to means-tested benefits, with the exception of Guarantee Pension Credit (GPC). If you are receiving GPC, no capital limit would apply to Housing Benefit.

Whether it is counted as income for tax credits depends on whether the charitable income is taxable. You should inform HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) who would be able to confirm.

You should get advice from a benefits expert on this subject.  You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local expert.

Search for Grants

Search for a grant

Look for funds that might be able to give you a grant and/or other types of help.

Use the Grants Search tool