What sort of help can you get?

There are many charities that can offer different types of support if you can’t get help elsewhere.

You may be able to get:

  • small one-off payments or vouchers for things like food or clothes
  • larger amounts for household goods, such as a washing machine or cooker
  • a one-off grant to cover an emergency or unplanned expense
  • a grant towards a holiday or respite care
  • disability equipment or aids
  • help towards housing maintenance, repairs or removal costs
  • help with travel costs.

Charities won’t usually pay for luxury items, foreign holidays, legal fees or debt. And they won’t usually help with items or services that should be provided by your council, the NHS or a government scheme.

Finding a charity

Most charities support people in financial need who have something in common such as:

  • a profession, trade or employment
  • religion or faith
  • membership of a society, club or trade union
  • a medical condition, illness or disability
  • living in or coming from a specific geographical area.

Many charities will also help the dependents of the people they support, such as partners or children.

The charity Turn2us has an online grants search tool to help you find grants or other types of support.

Our factsheet Extra help with essential costs if you're on a low income has more information about how to find a charity.

Before you apply

Most charities will only help you if you’re already getting all the benefits and other help you are entitled to. Before you apply for a grant from a charity:

If you need more advice about what you could be claiming, call our Helpline on 0800 319 6789 and arrange to speak to an adviser.

How to apply

Each charity will have its own application process so you’ll need to contact them to find out how and when to apply. You may have to fill in an application form or write a personal letter. The charity may ask for evidence that you’ve been turned down for other sources of funding.

Some charities have case workers or welfare officers who can help you to apply. You can also get help through organisations such as Turn2us or Citizens Advice.

Next steps

To find your local Citizens Advice, go to citizensadvice.org.uk

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