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Many hard-up families are unaware of the support available through charitable grants amongst families in financial hardship, according to a new survey.
Over two-thirds (68%) of families with children who contacted the charity www.turn2us.org.uk said they were completely unaware of charitable grants before finding out about this help through Turn2us. Almost a third (32%) had been struggling financially for over a year before checking what support could be available to them.
As a result of their situation, two-thirds (66%) had no choice but to rely on the financial support of family and friends, and over three-fifths (64%) have been forced to cut back on food and heating.
In addition, over a quarter said they had resorted to using credit cards to pay their bills and essentials, and over a fifth had taken out a short-term or payday loan.
Turn2us has released these new research findings to coincide with the launch of its grants awareness campaign ‘Go for a Grant’. The campaign is encouraging anyone in financial hardship to use the free online Turn2us Grants Search tool to check their eligibility for grants and other support depending on their particular needs and circumstances.
There are over 3,000 grant-giving charities available in the UK, distributing £288 million in grants and services to individuals in need every year. Each charitable fund is set up to assist people on low incomes according to their current or previous occupation, the area they live or for a specific health condition or disability.
Individuals who have used the Grants Search tool have seen an average annual income increase of over £2,400 in regular charitable grants and over £550 in one-off grants.
Alison Taylor, Director of Turn2us said: “Our research shows that more needs to be done to help raise awareness of the vital support provided by grant-giving charities. We know that people in financial difficulty can be reluctant to turn to charities for help and as a result are forced to go without everyday essentials or are taking on increasingly large amounts of debt. Yet feedback from individuals using our services shows that once they have sought help, receiving a grant has an overwhelmingly positive financial and emotional impact on their lives.
“With new reports showing that there are an extra 300,000 households living in poverty in the UK than previously thought**, the need for support has never been greater. Through our campaign we hope to reach out to more people in need and encourage them to check their eligibility for help today.”