Grants and financial help

The MS Trust does not provide grants or financial help to individuals. However, other charities or organisations may offer grants to help cover costs. 

Many charities halted their grant and funding programmes during the coronavirus pandemic. Although several organisations have resumed their programmes, some have made the decision to close them permanently. Do check before making an application. Those who are still offering funding are seeing increasing demand, so you may need to meet very specific criteria to be eligible, and it may take them longer to process applications.

Some organisations ask for a referral from a health or social care professional involved in your care to support your application. It is worth checking before making an application and thinking about who you would approach if you do need a referral.

Most grant making bodies do not award funding retrospectively, so it’s important not to purchase items or have any work undertaken before a grant application is submitted and approved. You may need to provide several quotes or evidence of the cost of an item or the work to be carried out as part of the application process.

The following are some sources to help find financial support.

MS organisations

  • MS Society the MS Society are no longer providing a national grants programme, but some local MS Society groups may offer their own grants. You'll need to contact your local group to see if they're currently considering applications. If they are, they'll be able to explain how to apply.
  • MS Research and Relief Fund a charity that will consider grants to part-fund adaptations, equipment or services for people affected by MS. Each situation is assessed individually. The maximum grant available is currently £1,500. Contact them directly for more information about the eligibility criteria.

Benevolent funds

Many professional bodies and trades unions have a benevolent fund that can make grants to current and former or retired members. Some may also support the partners (or other dependents) of their members. There are also benevolent funds that are associated with the armed forces.

Some benevolent funds or grant awarding bodies are linked with a particular geographical area such as a local Rotary Club or Lions Club. The Hertfordshire Community Foundation is another example of this type of organisation, there may be a similar organisation in your area.

Other charities and websites

  • Disability Grants – a website providing links to charities and trusts that support people and families living with a disability.
  • Turn2Us a charity that helps people access the money available to them through benefits, grants and other financial help. The website includes the ability to search for funding from other charities. Turn2us also offers a small number of its own grants.
  • Money Saving Expert – this website has a collection of financial tips for people living with disability. 

Help with energy bills

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills or to top up your prepayment meter you may be able to get help. The help you get will depend on the type of energy you use, how you pay for your energy and whether you receive benefits or not. You can find out more from Citizen’s Advice.

Many energy suppliers offer the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which offers reduced rates to low-income or vulnerable customers, such as people with a long-term health condition. Rules about who qualifies for the reduced rates varies from company to company, so contact your energy supplier and ask for details of the Warm Home Discount. If you’re eligible you will receive a one-off annual rebate on your electricity bill.

You can get advice on ways to save energy and try to reduce your bills whilst still keeping warm from the following organisations:

The UK government website also has information on UK energy grants and calculating your fuel costs.

Local welfare funds

Support may be available through your local council to help pay for emergency costs such as food or bills through a local welfare fund. This could include supermarket gift cards or pre-payment meter cards. How this support works varies across the UK depending on where you live.

Your council may offer support through the Household Support Fund in England. The Finance Support Service supports people living in Northern Ireland. If you live in Wales support is available through the Discretionary Assistance Fund. In Scotland support is via the Scottish Welfare Fund.

Some councils provide grants whilst others use their funds to support services provided by charities or other voluntary organisations.

Your local council may also have a scheme to help with items of furniture or white goods. These are usually known as local welfare assistance schemes, local welfare provision or crisis support. Not all councils have these schemes. Those that do may provide items for free whilst others offer loans for you to buy items yourself. Some will only help with essential items like cookers, fridges, and beds. You are usually restricted to how many times you can apply with in a timeframe.

If your council doesn’t offer furniture, local re-use charities may offer free or low-cost items to those on a low income.

You can find out more about what support your local council offers through End Furniture Poverty’s Local Welfare Assistance Finder tool.

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