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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?

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.

Charitable funds are run by grant-giving charities to give grants to people in financial need.

In most cases, charitable funds have been set up to assist people in financial need who have something in common.

What information do I need to do a grants search?

Before you start to use our Grants Search database, we suggest that you collect together the information that you will need if you decide to make an enquiry or application to a charitable fund - for yourself or on behalf of someone else. This will also help you when you are searching for grants.

Who can use the Grants Search?

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

  • UK citizens living in the UK
  • Irish citizens living in the Republic of Ireland
  • Citizens of other country 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.

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. 

What is an Intermediary?

Intermediaries who  work with people in financial need include:

  • Health and social care professionals, such as nurses, GPs, therapists and social workers
  • Advisers from Citizens Advice, Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) 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.

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 I am 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.

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