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Grants and Carers

Find out how charitable funds may be able to help carers

Young woman and a girl with Down's syndrome

If you are a carer, financial and other support might be available from a charitable fund, if you meet its qualifying rules for help.

What is a charitable fund?

Charitable funds are usually run by charities or organisations that have grant giving as part of their aims and objectives.

Each charitable fund's qualifying rules will be specific to them, but most will assist people on low incomes who have something in common, such as:

  • Working or having worked in a particular profession, occupation or industry

  • Having a disability or illness - or being a carer of someone who has

  • Being a member of a faith or having a certain nationality

  • Living in a particular area of the UK

  • Belonging to a specific age group, e.g. ‘older people’ or ‘children and young people 0-18 years

  • Struggling with difficult situations, such as homelessness, unemployment, relationship breakdown, bereavement, addiction or fuel poverty

  • Difficulty paying energy and water bills.

Many funds also help the dependents of people their fund supports – e.g. their spouses, partners, ex-partners or children.

Some are very small and run purely by volunteers; others are larger and are managed by paid staff.

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.

Those listed on our Turn2us Grants Search will generally give grants. Some also offer other services as well.

What is a grant?

A grant is a sum of money, given as a gift or award by a charitable fund or organisation, so it doesn't have to be paid back.

The type of grants that charities provide vary, but might include:

  • Regular amounts of money to help you with your bills and other living expenses. These may be given to you for a limited time while you are experiencing difficult life changes, such as bereavement or job loss or granted on an on-going basis if you have had to retire from work for medical reasons or to care for someone and need help to pay your bills

  • One-off grants to help you pay for items or services you need, such as household goods, furniture disability equipment or house repairs. Some charities supply the actual item rather than giving money.

  • Educational grants to help with the costs of educational and training courses.

  • Funding to improve your job prospects or quality of life, e.g. respite breaks and travelling expenses.

Other services

In addition to grants, larger charities might also offer other services, which again will vary but might include:

  • Counselling, befriending, and/or social activities

  • Financial advice and debt counselling

  • Information, guidance and signposting

  • Employment programmes

  • Support for carers, such as respite care

  • Housing services, supported accommodation facilities and/or care homes.

What types of charitable funds might help carers?

Examples of charitable funds that might help carers include those that support people:

  • Who work or have worked in particular jobs or industries. Examples include Charity for Civil Servants, GroceryAid and Hospitality Action and many of the Armed Forces charities

  • Are affected by a particular health condition and their families. Some have specific funds for carers, such as the MS Society

  • Are caring for someone, such as Carers' Trust

  • Who are children or young people. They may help someone who is being cared for and their family or a young carer. Examples include:

    • Family Fund, which helps the families of children with severe disabilities

    • Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust, which helps children in need aged under 18 who have a parent who works or has worked in the fashion and textile industry

    • An educational charity that helps families on low incomes pay for school trips or outings, equipment, school uniforms, music or sports activities that a carer’s family might be unable to afford

  • A charitable trust attached to a water or electricity company that helps people on low incomes or in certain situations, with utility bills arrears. They may also provide social tariff schemes might also be to cut costs. See our Energy schemes guide for more details.

For more information about how charitable funds work, read our guide: About charitable funds and grants

How some charitable funds help carers who meet their eligibility criteria

Charity for Civil Servants

The Charity for Civil Servants, which supports UK civil servants past and present, has a Carers Passport scheme for current civil servants who are caring for someone who is ill, disabled or older. This gives the carer and their line manager information about how caring affects their work and details of any agreed solutions such as compressed hours or flexible working arrangements.

The charity also works in partnership with other organisations to help clients in particular situations. For instance, they work with the National Autistic Society to help civil servants who have children with autism.

Read about the support that the Charity for Civil Servants gives carers who work or have worked in the Civil Service

GroceryAid

GroceryAid supports people who work or have worked in any part of the UK grocery industry.

At least 25% of the people the charity helps are carers and many more have disabilities.

GroceryAid has put together a tailored support programme for clients who give unpaid care to others or are cared for by unpaid carers.

The benefits include:

  • Grants for respite care and to help with household costs

  • Annual visits by a GroceryAid caseworker to provide practical and emotional support

  • Access to expert support through the charity’s helpline and counselling services

  • Enrolment, where appropriate, on the charity’s employment re-entry programme

Learn how GroceryAid helped Taru have a break

Find out how GroceryAid helped Annie through their befriending service

Read more about GroceryAid’s services for carers

How do I find a charitable fund to match my circumstances?

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find possible charitable funds that might be able to help you, based on your background, situation and needs.

This easy to use, online tool contains details of around 3,000 charitable funds help people in financial need. It has several filters to make finding possible funds to help you easier.

You can also make online enquiries to some charitable funds through the Turn2us website.

For more information on using our Grants Search, read our How do I search for help using the Turn2us Grants Search guide and our How do I make an enquiry or application to a charitable fund guide