Charities that help financially in a crisis


20th Jan 2020 Life

Charities that help financially in a crisis

There are hundreds of charities throughout the UK that can help if life takes a turn for the worse. Knowing the charities you can turn to when you face life’s challenges could make a huge difference for someone at crisis point

The Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) is running its first national awareness campaign on January 22, 2020, One Day Changes Lives, to highlight the lesser-known charities people can go to. 


You have probably heard of big-name charities such as the Royal British Legion or Macmillan Cancer Support. But did you know virtually any occupation has a charity supporting those and their families who have ever worked in that profession? 

Nurses, accountants, retail staff, veterans and entertainers all have their own charities. Or if you have ever been part of a membership body or are a part of a certain section of society, such as an older or disabled person, there are charities supporting these groups with a range of different services. These are known as benevolent funds or grant-giving charities. 

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Benevolent funds

Benevolent funds are charities that give financial grants that do not need to be repaid to people facing a life-changing crisis. This could include someone (including a family member) suffering an injury, illness or disability, or facing redundancy, leaving them unable to work and facing additional costs. 

If you are employed but are working part-time or on a zero hours contract, or are retired, and cannot make ends meet, then a sudden household repair or unexpected bill may ruin a family already struggling to get by. This is where grant-giving charities can help. 

Most of these charities were established hundreds of years ago, before the welfare state existed. Each charity would represent a different occupation or group in society to support people who fell on hard times. But despite their centuries-old heritage, these charities are used more than ever today to help people get by in challenging times. 

Grants can be awarded in all kinds of situations, as applications are often judged on a case-by-case basis. Situations where grants have been awarded that you may not have thought of include:

•    Home adaptions for disabled people
•    Ordering replacement white goods and furniture
•    Help with school equipment, childcare and uniform costs. 
•    Respite breaks for families or carers
•    IT equipment 
•    Winter fuel payments

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What other help can these charities give?

Most benevolent funds are increasing the services they offer to help people tackle other issues, and to help them get out of a difficult situation. 

This includes running mental health, wellbeing and counselling services, offering career or legal support, giving debt, retirement and money management advice, and operating befriending services to combat loneliness. 


Why do we still need these charities?

Since the 2008 financial crash the welfare state’s support for those in need has shrunk. In 2013 the Social Fund—a discretionary welfare benefit that provided financial support in exceptional circumstances—was abolished. There have also been cuts to local services as they faced tighter budgets. Charities have since been filling this gap.

There may also be times where benefits cannot help a person in need. They could be a student, apprentice or lower-paid person in a profession. On a zero-hours contract or part-time employee struggling to make ends meet. They could be someone facing long wait times getting on to Universal Credit, facing benefits sanctions or waiting for their first pay cheque in a new job. A person may also need money urgently to respond to a situation. These are all circumstances where grant-giving charities can step in. 

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One Day Changes Lives—get involved!

On January 22 ACO is holding its first awareness campaign One Day Changes Lives. Stories from charities across the country will be shared in the press and on social media to show where they have turned someone’s life around. 

Please let others know about One Day Changes Lives and follow the conversation on social media(@acobenevolence). ACO also encourages members of the public ever helped by a grant-giving charity to share their stories using the hashtag #OneDayChangesLives on January 22.  


About the ACO

ACO unites 120 benevolent charities to encourage collaboration, learning and best practice in the charity sector, while also representing member interests. We run regular networking events and offer training and resources to our charity members. 

For more information visit aco.uk.net/page/One-Day-Changes-Lives 

If you are an individual in need of support, please visit ACO member charity Turn2us.

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