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Grants to support you as a carer

As a carer, you may worry about how you or the person you care for will manage financially. Or you may feel that you just about make ends meet, but that your quality of life would be improved if you were able to afford additional items or experiences. These could include an adaptation to the person you care for’s home to allow them to get around more safely, a piece of mobility equipment like an electric wheelchair so they can get out and about, or a holiday together where you can bond away from the stresses of day-to-day life.

This is where grants can help. You might be surprised how many charitable trusts are out there that want to help people just like you. There are thousands of trusts across the country that have been set up with the sole purpose of helping people in need to have a better quality of life. There are often no strings attached to their grants and you normally do not have to pay it back.

Some of these charitable trusts are particularly keen to support carers, and some will prefer to support the person you care for instead. Others might help you if you are on a low income, live in a specific area or have had a particular occupation.

The best way to find the funding you could be eligible for is to use a grant search service. Some of the most useful ones include:

  • Turn2us. Their online grant search tool is free and simple to use. If you prefer to talk to someone on the phone instead, you could call their helpline on 0808 802 2000.
  • Disability Grants. This is a website which lists details of charitable trusts that give grants to people with a disability or their carer.

We recommend doing a search based on your own particular set of circumstances to find the grants that you would be eligible for. But to give you an idea of the sorts of funding that is out there, we have provided some examples of grants that might be relevant to you below.

Grants based on being a carer

Some funders are keen to support people specifically because they are carers. A couple of examples include:

This fund provides grants of up to £300 for individual carers over the age of 16. You can apply for funding towards an item or activity that will help you in your caring role. Examples could include funding for home appliances like a cooker, washing machine or fridge; short-term respite care to give you a break; training courses or other educational materials to develop your skills; or holidays either with or without the person you care for. You can apply for this funding through your local Carers Trust Network Partner.

This fund provides grants of generally between £100 and £300 for respite holidays for carers, with the aim of giving you a complete break away from your caring responsibilities. In certain exceptional circumstances, they will consider providing a holiday for you to go away with the person you care for. All applications must be made through a social worker, community nurse, carers organisation or similar person or agency who works with you, and the funding will be made to them rather than directly to you. After your application is submitted, the Fund usually takes around 6 to 8 weeks to make a decision. More information can be found on the Margaret Champney Rest and Holiday Fund website.

Grants based on being in financial need or facing other challenging circumstances

Many charitable trusts want to provide assistance to those who are on low incomes or who are facing particularly difficult circumstances. A couple of examples include:

This fund provides grants to people who are facing financial hardship as a result of 'a life-changing event' in the last year. This can include having a recent injury or diagnosis of a health condition or disability. They will provide funding to help with specific needs which are 'essential to financial stability, wellbeing and independence, to maintain normal daily living'. The application must be made through a partner organisation and each one has their own eligibility criteria and application process. You can find a list of the organisations who can make the application for you on their website. You should contact the relevant organisations directly and ask if they will help you to make an application.

These aim to prevent families and individuals who are in financial need from reaching a crisis point. To be eligible you must be on a low income, particularly living on benefits, as well as also fitting into one of their other categories. These include:

    • Being aged 60 or over.
    • Being disabled or unwell.
    • Being an adult with a clinical diagnosis of a mental health problem and living in the Greater London area.
    • Being a recent victim of domestic abuse and living in the Greater London area.

They provide grants of usually between £200 and £300 to meet essential needs, including funding to promote independence, improve quality of life and reduce isolation.

In addition, they also provide grants for disability aids for the home, items needed to allow someone to be discharged from hospital, and recuperative holidays for women living in Greater London who have faced a long illness.

Applications must be made by a referring agency such as a charity, housing association or GP.

Grants based on where you live

Many charitable trusts are quite small and therefore like to operate on a local level, helping people who live in specific areas or regions. These can be found through the grants search above, but your Citizens Advice Bureau may also be aware of other local funds that can help. A couple of examples of trusts that fund people living in specific geographical areas include:

This charity provides grants of up to £275 for people in crisis to allow them to buy essential household items. Those benefitting must live in an area where the Skinners’ Company has links including The Square Mile in the City of London, the London Boroughs of Camden, Enfield, Hackney and Hounslow, West Kent (particularly Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells) and Romney Marsh (Kent only). They must also be facing one or more of the following situations:

    • Having a physical disability or chronic illness.
    • Being in recovery from drug or alcohol use.
    • Experiencing mental health challenges.
    • Being a victim of domestic violence.
    • Being in receipt of a State Pension.
    • Being a family with dependent age children on a very low income.

Applications must be made by a charity or support agency like social services, meaning you cannot apply to them directly yourself. They consider applications on a monthly basis, so you should get a response quite quickly. For more details, take a look at their website.

They provide grants for essential items like school uniforms and cookers to people in financial need living in the ME1 or ME2 postcodes in Rochester, Kent. They can also provide small pension top-ups for older people and support for trade apprentices under the age of 25. Your application will need to be accompanied by a letter of support from social services, your GP, a school or another professional organisation. Everyone who applies will need to be interviewed by a Trustee. They won’t give you the funding directly but will purchase the items needed for you. For more information, have a look at their website.

Grants based on a disability or illness

Lots of charitable funds are set up to support people with a disability or illness. A couple of examples include:

They provide grants to support children and young people under 18 years old with a disability or serious long-term or life-limiting illness whose family are on particular benefits. They will consider requests for a wide range of items as long as it will make a substantial difference. This could include washing machines, sensory toys, family holidays, outdoor play equipment, days out and computers. They have quite detailed eligibility criteria, so it is worth checking before you apply to make sure you are eligible. You can apply to them directly if you are the parent or guardian of a young person who meets their criteria. For more information, take a look at their website.

This charity provides grants to people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) living anywhere in the UK. They provide funding for a wide variety of purposes, reflecting the diverse nature of the needs of people with MS. They will consider applications for practical items, aids, adaptations and equipment including adapted cars, wheelchairs, scooters and stair lifts. They will also consider applications for services which might improve the quality of life of someone with MS or their carer including respite care. They often work with the MS Society to jointly fund grants. You can apply to them directly yourself or on behalf of someone you care for. For more information, take a look at their website.

Grants based on your current or previous occupation

Many carers are surprised to find out that they could be eligible for funding on the basis simply of a job they once had. There are hundreds of charitable trusts, often known as ‘benevolent funds’, whose purpose is to support people from particular occupations who are facing difficult situations. It often doesn’t have to have been your most recent job either, so it is worth thinking back to all the different roles you have had over your working life and seeing if any of them make you eligible to apply. Here are a couple of examples:

They support people currently working in the UK hospitality industry or who have worked in it for a five-year period in the past. They provide grants to help people facing financial hardship to help them with everything from heating to home adaptations or just general living costs. They have previously stated that they are particularly keen to support carers and have helped several already through a partnership with Carers Trust. Take a look at their website for full eligibility criteria and details about how to apply.

This is a charity run by Turn2us. They can help if you are on a low income, have less than £4,000 in savings and either you, your partner or ex-partner have a professional background. This usually means working in a job that requires a degree, a high level of responsibility or an NVQ4 or above. They give grants of usually around £1,000 to £1,500 to help with living expenses, aids, adaptations, equipment, respite care, transport costs, rent deposits, moving expenses, training and a wide range of other costs. Take a look at their website for a full list of the professions they will support and their other eligibility criteria, as well as further details about how to apply.

Grants based on your age

Some funders also target particular age groups, usually children and older people. A couple of examples include:

This is one of the Skinner’s Company’s charities. They provide grants of up to £1,500 to support young people aged between 16 and 26 from low-income backgrounds to get vocational qualifications that will help them move into employment. To find out more, take a look at their website.

They provide small grants of usually up to £400 to vulnerable older people in need. They give funding in four categories:

  1. Home essentials – grants to help with replacing appliances and furnishings, small home repairs and adaptations.
  2. Digital connection – grants to help older people get and stay online.
  3. Financial support – grants to help with unexpected bills and large costs such as moving fees or funeral expenses.
  4. Essential living costs – grants for clothing, food, medicine, books etc. if these things have become unmanageable.

You must be resident in England or Wales, of or over State Pension age, live on a low income with less than £4,000 in savings and not fit the criteria of other funders. You cannot apply directly so the application must be made on your behalf by a referral agent. They aim to respond to applications within four weeks. For further information about who can act as a referral agent and how to apply, take a look at their website.

Grants based on other factors

Alongside these, there are a wealth of other criteria that charitable trusts can use to decide who they would like to give a grant to. These can include being male or female, having a particular religion or nationality, attending a specific school or even having a certain surname.

Further grants information

For some additional advice about getting grants to have your home adapted, take a look at our guide ‘Financial support for home adaptations’. For more information about applying for a grant towards your household bills, take a look at our guides ‘Help with your energy bills as a carer’ and 'Help with your water bills as a carer’.

Online Help and Advice

Visit our online support section where we have provided advice and guidance on a range of relevant topics to help you in your caring role.

Online support
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