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.
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.
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:
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 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.