What are benevolent charities?

Benevolent charities are organisations that provide financial and well-being support to individuals and families facing difficult circumstances.

Find out more about how these charities can help below.

FAQs about benevolent charities

Find out answers to some of the most common questions about benevolent charities below.

What is benevolence?

“Benevolence” means an act of kindness.

Benevolent charities support individuals who are facing a difficult time in their lives by offering free financial support (grants) and other helpful services.

Where did benevolent charities come from?

Many benevolent charities can trace their history back over more than one hundred years.

These charities were originally set up to assist those who had worked in a certain industry or profession who had fallen on hard times and needed support for themselves or their families. The benevolent fund would offer financial support in the form of grants to help these individuals afford daily essentials and living costs such as food, bills and clothing etc.

Since then, benevolent funds have proven themselves to be more relevant today than ever before. From helping individuals and families facing financial difficulties as a result of economic uncertainty, unemployment or redundancy, to offering a wider range of free holistic services, such as mental health and wellbeing support.

How do benevolent charities help people?

Benevolent charities award grants to individuals in a large range of circumstances. Applications for support are judged on a case-by-case basis, but below are some of the most common reasons why someone may be granted financial support:

  • Paying for day-to-day essentials: food, bills, clothes and more
  • Help purchasing or repairing home essentials, furniture and white goods
  • Adaptions to the home and help with extra costs related to an illness/disability
  • Back to school costs – school uniforms, IT and study equipment
  • Childcare support
  • Respite breaks
  • Funeral costs

Many benevolent charities also offer additional services to help people get back on their feet including counselling, advice services (debts, benefits, careers or legal support etc.), peer-to-peer support groups and wellbeing/mental health services.

Who do benevolent charities help?

There are hundreds of benevolent charities operating across the UK, each there to help a different group of people they represent. Here are a few examples:

  • Occupational charities: Charities that assist current and former employees of a certain profession. Many also support their family members, apprentices and students.
  • Regional charities: Charities that assist people living in a certain area of the UK.
  • Illness and disability charities: Charities that help people with a certain illness or disability.
  • Armed forces charities: Supporting veterans and serving/former members of the armed forces and their families.
  • General charities: Charities that can award grants to any individual
  • Other charities: Assisting people in different groups such as children, women and older people.

Why are benevolent charities needed today?

Not everyone is eligible for government support and benefits, but they may still need assistance. This is where benevolent charities can step in to help. Below are a few examples of where these charities can help:

  • When support is needed urgently. Benevolent charities can often turn around applications for support extremely quickly to help deal with an emergency.
  • The individual is waiting to apply and receive Universal Credit, is experiencing delays accessing benefits or is facing a benefits sanction.
  • The individual cannot access benefits due to being employed but is not earning enough to make ends meet. This could include people working part-time, on zero contract hours, have had hours or pay reduced or have lost income due to being furloughed.
  • They have just started a new job but need help until they receive their first pay cheque.

How do you find benevolent charity support?

You can view all benevolent charities who are members of ACO on our Membership Directory.

You can also find the right benevolent charity to help you using the Turn2us Grants Search – a one-stop-shop of over 1,500 charitable grants.

You can search by age, location, profession, medical condition and other criteria. Find out what you or your client might eligible for.

How do I apply for support from a benevolent charity?

Each charity will have their own application process and eligibility criteria. However, most charities will require you to fill out a short application form and provide some evidence that you are in need of support and can meet the eligibility criteria of the charity.

This evidence may include things such as copies of recent bank statements, payslips, proof of benefit entitlement etc. Each charity will have their own evidence they will ask for and can help guide you on what you will need to provide.

If ever you are worried about a charity’s application process, giving one of their friendly team a call or an email will often help provide reassurances as they can support and guide you on their application process.

Any other questions?

If you want to find out more or have a question about benevolent charities contact us at info@aco.uk.net