As a country, we are slowly coming around to recognising the invaluable contribution made by the thousands of unpaid carers across the UK. Several organisations, charities and projects such as Carers Trust and their network partners, Working for Carers and others have emerged in the last 2 decades to provide support to carers up and down the country.
In addition to emotional and practical support, there are now several grants for carers that are available for both carers and those that they care for to provide the much-needed financial support.
They are awarded for different reasons including:
- replacing essential white goods
- helping with disability equipment or day to day living costs that cannot be met by government benefits
- home repairs and moving home
- help with the cost of a holiday
Each grant will have its own award criteria, and often they will want to ensure that you have applied for any government schemes and/or claimed all the statutory benefits that are available to you first, and that you have a low income and no or low savings available to you. (source; CarersUK)
Grants for carers are usually administered by charities or trusts. The best way to find out if you are eligible for a grant is to visit your local carer centre. There are numerous grants available and your eligibility will depend on your personal circumstances. A counsellor at your local carer centrewill talk to you to understand your situation and needs and will advise you on the grant options available to you.
Here are some suggestions when you are looking for a grant:
- Local grants
Several local charities and trusts help people within certain geographical locations. Your local carer centre will know about these.
- Carers Trust Grant
Carers Trust currently has a grant fund open for individual adult carers, aged 16+. Carers may be able to apply for grants of up to £300 for items or activities that will benefit them in their caring role, for example for:
Breaks for carers, with or without the person they care for.
Items for the home including cookers, fridges, beds and washing machines.
Courses and materials to develop carers’ skills and personal development.
Short-term or time limited replacement care.
To see whether you can apply for a grant, contact your local carer service so they can advise you.
Carers Trust also have a comprehensive Fund Guidewith details of charities and funds that carers can contact regarding financial support for themselves and the people they care for.
- Turn2us Charity
Turn2us is a national charity that helps those in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help. You can search for grantsthat you might be eligible for on their website. They also have a free ‘grants checker’ helpline (0808 802 2000) that you can call and who will then run a grants search for you. ‘
- Elizabeth Finn Fund
Turn 2 Us also has its own occupational charity within it called the Elizabeth Finn Fund.
The Elizabeth Finn Fund gives direct grants and support to people living in financial difficulty who have a professional background and meet their grant-giving criteria.
Grants are given to people who hold or have formerly held occupations requiring a certain level of responsibility and education, or whose partners have done so. Grants are awarded to people from over 120 different professions whose work history includes employment in a role which requires a degree; NVQ level 4 or above; or equivalent.
- Charities that focus on specific illnesses or disabilities
If you are caring for someone with a specific illness like cancer or multiple sclerosis for example, charities that support those conditions often offer grants. For example, the Multiple Sclerosis Society can sometimes award grants for disability equipment, short breaks and support for families.
Contact the specific charity or your local care centre who will be able to guide and advise you on whether you are eligible for specific grants.
- Family Occupation
If someone in your family is in the Armed Forces or has worked in a certain sector like nursing (including healthcare assistants), the civil service or the education sector, there are many different charities that were specifically set up to aid the families of people within a whole range of professions. Again, your local carer centre should point you in the right direction.
We’ve barely scratched the surface with this list, but we hope that the resources mentioned above are helpful in getting you to the right people who can assist you to access grants and funding that you may be eligible for.
The first step, we believe is to contact your local care centre. Trained counsellors and advisors, based at these centres will provide you with the support you need whether it’s emotional, professional, or financial.
We understand that sometimes, people feel embarrassed to ask for help. You have no reason to be. As a carer, you are providing an invaluable service and holding your hand through this difficult time in your life is the least we can do. Please be assured that counsellors and advisors who work at carer centres are fully trained and any discussions you have with them are strictly confidential.
If you need to pick up the phone and chat, call the carer helpline on 0208 868 5224
At Working for Carers, our aim is to provide a comprehensive carer support service for carers trying to back into employment, whether full time or part-time to fit around their caring responsibilities. So, if you are looking to get back into employment and find a job that’s possibly part-time or flexible to accommodate your carer duties and you need some help on how to go about it, we’re the people to contact.