Help for support workers

If you are supporting someone who is living in furniture poverty, there are routes which can find them the items they need, however you may need to make multiple applications if they need more than one item.

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 client’s local council’s website for information on how they are spending the fund.

Social Landlords

If your client lives in a social housing property, speak to their landlord first. Ask if they provide furnished tenancies, (if they don’t, ask them why!), and whether your client could move into a furnished property. Many social landlords also have hardship funds to support tenants which they don’t always advertise, so it is worth a conversation, and to flag up that their tenant is experiencing hardship.

Support from Local Councils

See what support their local council can provide, particularly through a local welfare assistance scheme. These are schemes which provide grants to people on low incomes to help with food, fuel, and furniture and white goods etc. Not all councils provide help with furniture however, but you can find out what support they do provide using our Local Welfare Assistance Finder. If their local council is not listed, unfortunately it is because they do not have a scheme.

If their council does not provide local welfare assistance, your client does not meet their eligibility criteria, or the application has been turned down, the next step is making an application to a charitable grant-giving organisation for support.

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 your clients to see what grants are out there, and other support too such as cheaper energy tariffs, school uniform grants and much more. If you signpost your clients to answer a few questions to complete their profile, or you can help them to complete their profile, it’s all very secure, it will match them with grant opportunities and help them to make their application too. Click here to find out more.

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

In some cases, you will need to make the application on behalf of your client, and register with the charity first – but then you can return to make applications for other clients.

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 the nearest preloved furniture service, or simply do an internet search for furniture reuse organisations in the 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 the nearest credit union.
  • Fair for You is an alternative to high cost weekly payment stores and offers flexible credit. Client’s pay what they can afford, when they can afford it and the faster they pay it off, the less they 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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