Cost of living hub, Fundraising

Cost of Living Crisis: Grant-Makers Going the Extra Mile

DSC's Researcher, Ross Hardy, talks through some grant-makers who are going that extra mile for individuals in need.

Across the country and across the sector, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone that isn’t somehow impacted by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Despite a slight reduction in energy prices and inflation, the levels of rising poverty and those who can no longer afford the essentials paint a bleak picture.

While there are some in government who may need their memories jogged, charities need no reminder that this crisis is far from over. They see the impacts every day, be it in their direct work with beneficiaries, the increased demand for their services, or the continued financial pressure they feel.

With that in mind, I would like to shine a light on some of the brilliant organisations I have encountered that are adapting to the times we are in. Some of these charities have dedicated grants available to individuals in specific circumstances, others are more general and offer services such as helplines, signposting to other forms of support and useful information. All of them, however, an example of how charities are acknowledging the crisis and stepping up their support of those in need.

Grocery Aid

This charity, while primarily focused on those working in the grocery trade, has expanded its support in light of the rising cost of living. Grants are still mainly focused on grocery store workers, however the charity’s website hosts a wealth of great information and resources. Support includes a 24/7 crisis support helpline, access to tips and information on how to make money go further, a budget calculator and mental health and wellness advice. In 2023, the charity provided over £4 million of grants and gifts to grocery workers and carers.


NewstrAid is focused on supporting anyone working in the newstrade. The charity has recently created a dedicated cost-of-living fund, awarding grants of up to £250 to anyone with a newstrade connection that is going through hard times. Beyond its grant programmes, the charity also offers free debt support, a wellbeing website with over 200 hours of free wellbeing advice and guidance, and statutory support guidance for carers and people with disabilities.

The Actors’ Benevolent Fund

This is another example of a charity dedicated to supporting those in a specific trade going through hard times. The Actors’ Benevolent Fund, established for anyone working in theatre, has also created a cost-of-living fund. The fund provides grants of up to £2,000 to help with household bills, kitchen appliances, food costs, clothes, energy costs, and sudden expenses. Applicants can reapply every six months for this programme.

The Royal British Legion

Founded over 100 years ago, The Royal British Legion provides financial, social, and emotional support to serving and ex-serving members of the armed forces, as well as their families and dependants. The charity now awards cost-of-living grants to help with essential needs like clothing, food vouchers or accommodation support. The charity recognises that responding quickly to the needs of its beneficiaries is key during this crisis, aiming to respond within five days to applicants. RBL also offers information and advice to its members on budgeting and money management.

The Campbell Burns Metabolic Trust

During any time of hardship, there are people with specific circumstances whose lives will be made even more challenging. The Campbell Burns Metabolic Trust serves beneficiaries in exactly that position. Established to support the parents of young people diagnosed with a metabolic disorder, the charity recognises that in the current climate it may be even harder to manage conditions like these. The charity has channelled funds to its small grants scheme to provide monthly grants to families in this situation, while still awarding its usual grants for essentials, food preparation and emergency expenses.

These organisations are just some of the many out there going above and beyond in this difficult time to serve their beneficiaries, giving the rest of us some inspiration along the way.

All of these charities feature in The Guide to Grants for Individuals, with the 19th edition now available for purchase. This resource contains information on almost 1800 funders, with over £350 million available in grants to individuals. These funders provide grants for everything from furniture, white goods, and school uniforms, to rent, food vouchers and emergency support. Working on this guide has been a real insight into all the fantastic work the people in our sector carry out every day.

Created by myself and the rest of DSC’s research team, the guide is an invaluable tool in identifying funders that may offer the exact type of support your beneficiaries need, in a time when demand is higher than ever. Learn more here.