How to Write an Application for a Charity Hardship Grant in the UK

by HollieT

Information and letter templates for those who wish to write an application for a charity hardship grant in the United Kingdom.

For many single and low income families who are facing financial hardship, requesting a grant or other financial assistance from charitable bodies can become a necessity.

In many cases, charities will only accept applications from recognised bodies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Social Services Department or Probation Service. Nevertheless, there are times when charities will require that the applicant makes the application themselves, which is why composing a solid application which contains all the necessary information is of great importance.

The Importance of Research and Why You Should Gather as Much Information as You Can.

For those of you who are required to make your application through a third party, such as the CAB, it is still very important that you supply all the necessary information in order to avoid any delay in receiving your grant. Moreover, advisors and Government officers often have large caseloads and limited amounts of time, the more information you can provide to those who are assisting you with your grant application, the faster your grant will be processed.

As discussed in an previous article, different charities will award grants for different purposes, which means that in some instances you may have to do a little research before making the application. For example, if you wish to apply for funds for a new washing machine, or furniture for your home, it is highly likely that the charity will want to know the exact cost of the goods that you need.

In some cases, the charities that you approach will have designated suppliers of goods and, should your application be granted, will supply the items directly however, this is not always the case. You must also bear in mind that most charities will not award grants for the cost of new items, so you need to look at the average prices for the goods that you need in either second hand stores, or places where used goods are sold.

Information to Be Included in Your Grant Application.

Before we look at ways to compose your application/letter, we need to consider what information the charities might require, but most importantly you need to ensure that you fit the criteria for funding. See list of individual charities for eligibility criteria.

Details which should be included in your application:

  • Your name, date of birth and individual circumstances. (single parent, two parents, unemployed, low income, ex--offender)
  • The names and dates of birth of all children.
  • Your income (wages, benefits, maintenance payments, any other income)
  • Evidence of income ( Payslips, bank statements, Tax Credit award notices, any other DWP confirmation)
  • What do you need the grant for, why do you need help with the costs?. (washing machine, school uniform, utility bills) (loss of employment, low income, no savings, unexpected expense)
  • How much do you need?
  • Have you applied to any other charities?

In certain circumstances, the amount of money that you need might exceed the maximum grant available, for example, you might need to furnish and decorate an empty house from scratch. Don't let this put you off, most charities welcome the fact that an applicant has applied for multiple grants, even when the sum you are requesting does not exceed the maximum amount available. In fact, your applications are more likely to be successful if you approach two or three charities and divide the cost of the items needed between each charity.

The Cover Letter.

Many charities will request that you fill in an application form which means that you only have to provide a covering letter with your application.

Example 1:

                                                                                                                       Your Name.

                                                                                                                       Your Address.

Name and address of charity,

beneath your address but on the left.


Dear Sir or Madam, (if you have been given a name, use it)

Please find enclosed my application for funding to purchase a washing machine/school uniform etc. I have enclosed, as instructed, evidence of income/expenditure/cost of goods etc.

Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on phone number/email address, in order that I can supply the necessary details promptly. Should you need the funds for a particular date, say so here.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my application.


Yours faithfully, (end your letter this way if you have opened with the persons name)

Yours sincerely, (end your letter this way if you have opened with Dear sir or madam)

Sign and print your name.


Always keep a copy of your cover letter and application, letters can get lost in the post and if this should happen to you, at least you'll have copies which you can re-send.                                                                                                                        

How to Write the Application for Funding When an Application Form Has Not Been Provided.

Letter of Application for Financial Assistance.

When the given charity does not require that you fill in a standard application, you will need to compose the letter yourself, and ensure that you provide all the details which they might need.

Example 2 : 

Name, address and opening salutation as described in example 1.


First paragraphIntroduce yourself and explain your reasons for writing.

I am writing to you in order to apply for a hardship grant. After reading through your eligibility conditions, I understand that I meet your criteria for funding. I am a single/low income/unemployed parent of (number of children, names and dates of birth), and reside in the city of (region)

Second paragraph: What items do you need the grant for? Why do you need the items? How much do you need?

I would like to apply for a grant of (amount of money required) to meet the cost of a washing machine/sofa/school uniforms/utility bills. As I have (number) of dependents, I need a washing machine to ensure that my children and myself have clean clothing. If I had to wash all of our laundry by hand, I would use far more water and energy to heat the water, which I am unable to afford. Washing clothes this way would not only be more time consuming, but would also mean that the clothes would require longer drying times, meaning that I would not always have dry, clean clothes for my children.

I need help to pay my gas/electric/water bill in order to avoid having a pre-payment meter fitted. If I have a pre-payment meter fitted, my energy costs would rise even further as fuel supplied this way is more expensive, and this could result in my family and I having to survive for days at a time without heating and lighting.

I have enclosed a quotation for the cost of used furniture and have attempted to ensure that this is a competitive and reasonable price for the goods required./ I have enclosed a quotation for new school uniforms/ I have enclosed a copy of the outstanding utility bill.

Third paragraph: Why do you need help from the charity? Why are you in financial difficulty?

Unfortunately, at this time, I am unemployed/ Unfortunately, I/we are in receipt of a very low income/ Unfortunately, I only have one income as I am a single parent.

As I am in receipt of a low income/benefits/am a single earner, I have no disposable income when my monthly/weekly outgoings are met. Consequently, when an unexpected expense arises, I do not have any savings at my disposal to meet the cost.

Fourth paragraph: List your weekly/monthly income and expenses. Demonstrate that you are in financial difficulty and that you do not have any disposable income. Provide evidence, such as copies of bank statements/ payslips/ notification of benefits entitlements/ rent books/copies of household bills/cost of grocery shopping receipts.

Fifth paragraph: Have you applied to any other charities? If so, who have you applied to? How much have you asked them for?

As the total amount of money that I need to furnish the house/buy school uniforms/ pay utility bills, exceeds the maximum amount offered by your charity, I have applied to (name of charity) for part funding and requested (amount applied for)

I understand that your charity does not always have enough funds to grant the maximum allowance, therefore, I have also applied to (name of charity) for part (amount)

Bring the letter to a close by offering contact numbers/email addresses where you can be contacted should the charity require further information, and thank them for considering your application.

Yours faithfully, (if you have opened the letter with a name)

Yours sincerely, (if you have opened the letter with Dear Sir or Madam.)

Sign and print your name.

Remember to keep copies of the letter and other documents. Good luck! 

Updated: 11/14/2012, HollieT
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HollieT on 01/15/2013

Thank you, Jo. That means a lot. :)

JoHarrington on 01/15/2013

You are always a font of brilliant information on things like this. Thank you for being you and for caring enough for letting the rest of us know about such things.

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