Help for individuals and families

If you are on a low-income and unable to afford furniture and white goods, there are a number of ways in which you can get help.

  • Your landlord, especially if they are a social landlord
  • Your council’s local welfare assistance scheme
  • A grant-giving organisation
  • A preloved furniture provider
  • Affordable credit

If you need more than one item of furniture, you may need to go to more than organisation get everything you need.

Household Support Fund

Local authorities all have a share of the Household Support Fund, a £1bn pot of money to spend on helping residents with a wide range of needs. While the main focus is usually on food and energy bills, some local authorities are using this to provide furniture and appliances so it is worth looking on your local council’s website for information on how they are spending the fund.

Charitable grants

There are a number of grant-giving charities and organisations who offer furniture and white goods. Some provide a grant, others provide the item itself.

There’s a great free online tool called the Lightning Reach Portal to help you to see what grants are out there, and other support too such as cheaper energy tariffs, school uniform grants and much more. If you put your information in, it’s all very secure, it will match you with grant opportunities and help you to make the application too. Click here to find out more.

Many organisations have eligibility criteria so remember to check that you are eligible for support from an organisation before spending time on an application.

In some cases, you need a support worker to make the application for you. If you do not have a support worker like a social worker or health visitor, your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, CAB, should be able to help. Check here to find your local CAB office.

Here are just some of the organisations that can provide support with essential furniture items and do visit their websites to find out more about eligibility criteria and application processes:

  • Glasspool Trust is a UK-wide charity that provides grants support for people experiencing financial hardship, with no restrictions on who they can help. They provide grants for all types of furniture, including flooring – one of the few organisations who do so. You cannot apply for support for yourself, a support worker has to be registered with Glasspool Trust to make the application for you.
  • Buttle UK support children and their families, including the provision of beds, and offer more comprehensive packages of support as opposed to grants for single items. Again, applications have to be submitted by a registered support worker.
  • Family Fund help vulnerable children and young people up to the age of 18 who are experiencing a crisis or emergency through their BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Fund. They provide essential furniture items and they accept direct applications.

There are also lots of ‘occupational’ funds. These are funds that support people who work or worked in certain jobs such as The Retail Trust for people who worked in retail, or The Teaching Staff Trust for people who have worked in a school or nursery for five years or more. They can be harder to find but if you google: “Financial support for (add in occupation)”, you can see what is available.

You can also try the Turn2Us grants search tool. Turn2Us is a national charity that provides a wide range of support, including a benefits calculator.

Preloved Furniture

Preloved furniture can be a great way to access affordable furniture for people on low incomes. Use the Reuse Network‘s search tool below to find your nearest preloved furniture service, or simply do an internet search for furniture reuse organisations in your area who may not be members of the Reuse Network – for example, Devon and Cornwall Furniture Reuse Project who give away furniture to people in need across the South West.

Affordable Credit

  • For those able to access it, affordable credit can be a good way of acquiring furniture without taking on unmanageable debt.
  • Use Find Your Credit Union‘s search tool to find your nearest credit union.
  • Fair for You is an alternative to high cost weekly payment stores and offers flexible credit. You pay what you can afford, when you can afford it and the faster you pay it off, the less you pay.
  • Smarter Buys works in partnership with a number of social landlords to offer tenants a responsible, affordable finance alternative to high-cost high street stores.

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