This Directory is:
- Published by The Hardman Trust
- Designed by Wolf Design Ltd, online document by AFX Design Ltd
- Printed by Public Sector Prison Industries at HMP Coldingley
- Distributed by Inside Time, the publisher of 'insidetime', the national newspaper for prisoners and detainees
- Sponsored by The Bromley Trust
For the sake of readability many of the website links that appear in the printed version will only take you to the source's homepage. If you are able to use the online version of the directory you will be able to click on the full links which should take you straight to the referenced website pages.
The online directory is updated throughout the year and it is possible to use the search and filtering functions in order to gain easier access to information on organisations that may be able to help you. To access the directory online, visit the website www.prisonerfunder.org.uk
A pdf version of the directory is also available on the Virtual Campus in over 100 prisons that subscribe to the Virtual Campus.
The Virtual Campus is a secure web-based service that allows access to a wide range of learning and resources. For further details of the Virtual Campus and how you may be able to access it, please speak to the local Virtual Campus Champion in your establishment or the local Education Manager.
I would like to honour the memory of two people whom I was fortunate to know, who worked steadfastly during the latter part of their lives to improve opportunities for prisoners seeking to equip themselves to live fulfilling and law-abiding lives upon release.
Guy Armstrong born 1918, died 2002
The Founder, The Hardman Trust
Keith (Toby) Bromley born 1912, died 2003
The Settlor, The Bromley Trust
Ian WilsonEditorThe Hardman Directory
Directory sponsors and supporters
In 1989 Toby Bromley set up The Bromley Trust which he termed 'the most important work of my life' committed to 'offset man’s inhumanity to man'. He endowed The Bromley Trust with much of his fortune, built up by a life-time of shrewd commerce and investment. The Bromley Trust continues to support charities concerned with Human Rights, Prison Reform, and Conservation and Sustainability.
We are very grateful to The Bromley Trust, Public Sector Prison Industries, Roast Restaurant, The Thomas Sivewright Catto Settlement and A Smith for enabling us to publish the 2016 edition of The Hardman Directory.
We would also like to thank Inside Time for helping us reduce the cost of distribution and advertising.
Join our great financial supporters
We are in particular looking for help raising £2,000 to promote The Hardman Directory so that more people who have received a custodial sentence and who want to turn their lives around, will hear about it and know how to access it. If you would like to organise a charity fundraising event to raise £20, £50....£100 to help pay for adverts for The Hardman Directory on Prison Radio, we will send you a copy of the Directory as a thank you and if we have permission, we will include your name (and, where appropriate, reference your team) on the Directory sponsors and supporters page in next year’s edition!
If you would like to help pay for the production or promotion of The Hardman Directory, please issue your cheque to ‘The Hardman Trust’ and send it to:
The Hardman Directory Editor, The Hardman Trust, PO Box 108, Newport PO30 1YN
with a covering note stating that the money is to be used for The Hardman Directory production or promotion.
Alternatively, contact email@example.com if you wish to make your donation by BACS.
Any donation, however small, is always gratefully received and acknowledged.
Every year the production and distribution of The Hardman Directory, formerly known as The Prisoner Funder Directory, is made possible as a result of the generous efforts of so many people.
I would like to thank:
The Trustees at The Bromley Trust, for backing the Directory Project from the beginning and for continuing to support it; the Trustees and Directors of the other donor organisations who agreed to provide the necessary funding for this edition; Kate and Teresa who, as members of the Directory Management Group, have given their time and expertise to develop the strategic plan for the project and have offered access to new networks that may help in the funding, distribution and promotion of the Directory; the Trustees of The Hardman Trust for agreeing to host the Directory Project;
Administrators and front line staff at all the organisations who took the trouble to provide accurate and current information on the material support they provide; Carol, at Citizens Advice, for providing us with and organising permission for us to use CAB material on Benefit changes; Suzan and Nina at PET for their work researching and then checking the section on education funding in England and Wales; Lee, a housing caseworker for updating the section on Housing which is included as it clearly has a financial aspect to it; Ian at NOMS for offering a new foreword to this edition; Pat at NOMS, James at SPS and Valerie at Northern Ireland Prison Service for checking the Prisoners’ money and Prison Service administered support sections; Jim at SPS for his input in the Education, training & preparing for work section;
Andrew of Andrew Aitchison Photography who again has provided such excellent photos; David at Wolf Design for the design and artwork, Sam and Anthony at AFX Design for the production of the online document; Peter at the Ministry of Justice and the prisoners who work in the printshop at HMP Coldingley who all worked to make this an attractive publication; John at Inside Time who has allowed us to have a copy of the Directory delivered with every bundle of the newspaper ‘insidetime’ to all the prisons in the UK free of charge;
Each of the prisoners and staff members, who will know who they are, who took the trouble to participate in the Directory Survey or to write in with their very helpful comments and feedback. I would also like once again to thank Bruce, a prisoner, for the hours he spent proof-reading the text and for becoming the Directory's sub-editor.
Ian Wilson. 20th February 2016.
Foreword by Ian Porée, Director of Commissioning, NOMS.
I am once again delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide the introduction for the latest edition of The Hardman Directory. It is fantastic that the directory is sent free of charge into every prison in the UK and is also available online. I fully endorse this directory as a resettlement resource. While primarily for prisoners, as a resource, the directory allows prisons and probation staff to collaborate with people in custody using the directory as an enabler for utilising their time in prison in preparing them for their release back into the community.
The directory also signposts ways in which prisoners may gain access to funding to aid them in their quest to reach their development goals and achieve their resettlement aims. The clarity and comprehensiveness of the information and the regularity of the updates mean that the directory is never under-used. Without doubt, even the smallest amount of support helps offenders get their lives back on track, and this directory can contribute to this.
Building on previous years, I am pleased to see that The Hardman Directory has developed a new section in the directory on employers, through ties established with The Employers Forum for Reducing Re-offending and organisations such as Timpson, who are open to employing ex-offenders. This can only further benefit offenders in moving in the right direction.
I remain very grateful to the staff of The Hardman Trust and other organisations for all the work they have undertaken in producing this directory, to The Bromley Trust and other donors who have made it possible, and to all the funders and employers it lists, for supporting prisoners who are determined to make a fresh start.
The Hardman Directory used to be known as The Prisoner Funder Directory. The Directory aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up-to-date information on the funding available to those who are seeking to rebuild their lives and to contribute in a productive way to their home communities as part of an effective resettlement.
This is a guide primarily for prisoners. However, many of the organisations included in the gold tabbed 'Funds' section will also provide grant or loan aid to a wider group of applicants which may include those serving sentences in the community, ex-offenders and the families of prisoners and ex-offenders. Some organisations, for example those listed in the green tabbed 'Introduction' or blue tabbed 'Other Places to Look' section of the Directory, will not provide grants or loans but may be able to offer mentoring, volunteering opportunities or employment or information or advice on money matters that could nonetheless be useful to you.
Your Offers of Help.
May we offer a big thank you to all the prisoners, prison librarians, probation officers and others who completed feedback forms during the year. We have taken up a number of your suggestions and hope that you will find this edition of the Directory better as a result. May we assure you your comments and suggestions continue to be very much appreciated.
We would, as always, be keen to hear of any funding organisations that have provided you with a grant or loan but do not appear in this directory, so that we can contact them and see if it is possible to encourage their inclusion in the next edition.
Please help spread the word that copies of the the newly named Hardman Directory are available in your library.
We are very keen to receive your ideas on how to improve this resettlement resource however please note that we are not, unfortunately, able to offer the reader personal funding advice.
If you would like to contact the Editor write to:Ian Wilson, The Hardman Trust, PO Box 108, Newport. PO30 1YN.Or, if you have access to the Internet, email firstname.lastname@example.org
England and Wales
Outside bank or saving accounts
Nothing happens to the prisoner’s outside bank account as a direct consequence of being given a custodial sentence, unless the offender is subject to a confiscation order, in which case any bank accounts are ‘frozen’ from the onset of the investigation.
If there is a likelihood of the prisoner being able to meet outstanding commitments whilst in prison by means of money already in his or her account, there is no legal requirement for him or her to contact the bank notifying them of their position. If there are direct debits or standing orders set up that cannot be met, the offender should notify the bank as soon as possible in order to avoid incurring unnecessary debt.
NOMS aims to ensure that all prisoners who need one have the possibility of registering for a bank account ahead of their release. The six largest commercial banks in the UK work with NOMS to provide a special scheme for prisons, so that people coming to the end of their sentence can apply for accounts while in prison. If the application is accepted, they receive the usual documentation, card, and PIN, which are held in their valuable property until release, and are able to deposit money into the account. On release they are able to use the account immediately by activating it in a local branch. Prisons manage the scheme in different ways according to the needs of their population and in most cases the Community Rehabilitation Company will organise the work. In some cases – for example at several open prisons – prisoners are able to open credit union accounts in which they can deposit savings.
Banks stress that prisoners, whether assisted or not, should complete the application documentation as accurately as possible, in particular details relating to accommodation history. Applications flagged by bank systems as containing fraudulent information can cause severe difficulties with future applications.
While in custody prisoners are not allowed to have money (cash) on their person but they are allowed to receive and spend money within NOMS national policy guidelines. They are also paid earnings for the work they do in prison and for participating in the regime of their particular prison (such as education and offending behaviour courses). Upon initial reception, money (cash) will be counted in front of the prisoner and taken to the Cashier and in England and Wales the amounts will be credited to an account assigned to each prisoner using their NOMS number known as their “Private Cash” account.
New prisoners must be issued with a pack (variously known as a reception pack, comfort pack or first night pack) containing items such as tea, milk, sugar and sweets. Prisoners aged over 18 may also be provided, on request, with tobacco (smoker’s pack). Diversionary reading material should also be included where possible along with writing materials and, where there is no access to a television, a radio provided. Prisoners should be told that the cost of the pack will be recovered from their future earnings in the prison and they may therefore choose not to accept the pack.
Prisoners must be told when and how they will be able to make purchases from the prison shop/canteen. If items routinely provided by the prison shop/canteen are urgently needed before prisoners are able to obtain them from the shop/ canteen they may be provided in advance and paid for later.
With transfers from public sector establishments and from public sector to contracted-out establishments, account balances should be transferred immediately and are active as soon as the offender is received into the new establishment. The actual transfer of funds is done electronically and completed within 24 hours. Transfers from contracted-out establishments to public sector establishment, the latter will liaise with the contracted-out site who will confirm by fax or email the account balance at the point of transfer. This will then be credited to the prisoner immediately in advance of the funds arriving.
In general, statements of accounts are not automatically generated. Any request for a print out can be made on a general application form and may be subject to a small charge such as 10p. The private cash and spending accounts are emptied the day before release if the prisoner wants the funds to be handed to him or her as cash. It is counted and signed for by the prisoner when it is handed to him or her on the day of release. Normally prisoners will be presented with cash up to a maximum of £100 and any amount/remainder over this will be issued in the form of a cheque unless the prisoner requests cash. This request must be made in advance of the day of release.
If a prisoner is employed or participates in purposeful activity/work at the prison they are eligible to receive the NOMS national minimum weekly pay of £4.00.
Prisoners who are unable to work or wishe to work but a suitable job cannot be found for them (they are referred to as “unemployed”) are eligible to receive the NOMS national minimum weekly pay of £2.50.
However, prison Governors can increase the above NOMS minimum pay rates under local pay policies and these are reviewed annually.
SCOTLANDIn Scotland the money is paid back from wages in the last week of the sentence.
NORTHERN IRELANDIn prisons in Northern Ireland, all offenders are given £3.00 on committal so they can purchase a committal pack. They are also allowed to make a phone call.
ENGLAND AND WALES In prisons in England and Wales, there are three types of account which are opened automatically upon a new prisoner’s arrival:
- "Spending" account
- "Private cash" account
- "Savings" account. If requested these must only be used by the offender on the understanding that any money credited to this account must remain there until release. Credits to savings can only be made using the “Spending” account.
All wages earned within the establishment are credited to the prisoner’s “Spending” account. In addition a specific amount of money, depending on whether the offender is unconvicted or convicted and what IEP level (Enhanced, Standard, Entry or Basic) they are on, can be transferred from the private cash account to the “Spending” account on a weekly basis (subject to sufficient funds). Friends and relatives can send money in to the prisoner. It will be placed in their “Private Cash” account and there is no limit as to how much money can be held in this account. However, it is recommended that once the sum reaches £500 or over it should be sent to an outside bank if possible.
Prisons have varying degrees of flexibility with regard to the outside contracts that they undertake. It may be that prisoners employed within a workshop may be able to access the enhanced rate of pay within such workshops. However the maximum payable will not exceed the set thresholds which are regulated by tax legislation and the constraints that this enforces on the prison estate in general.
Prisoners who are coming to the end of their sentence and who are working outside with a view to becoming prepared for release, will be subject to pay tax and National Insurance contributions if they are earning enough to qualify to make these payments. With the commencement of parts of the Prisoners’ Earnings Act on 26 September 2011, prisoners who are undertaking paid employment at an outside employer are subject to a levy of up to 40% on wages in excess of £20 per week (after tax, National Insurance and any court ordered or child support payments have been deducted). The levy is applied to all those who fall within the definition but at the Governor’s discretion the rate of the levy may be reduced or waived if there are exceptional circumstances. Money received from the levy is paid to Victim Support.
Some differences in the way prisoners' money is managed in Scotland and Northern Ireland
In prisons in Scotland, there are two types of account which are opened automatically upon a new prisoner’s arrival:
- Spending account
- Prisoner’s personal cash (PPC) account.
In Scotland on the day of release, all amounts are issued in cash.
The weekly allowance for a prisoner without a job is around £5.00. If employed, the average employment rate is around £7.00. However, the level of the wage above this amount is entirely dependent on the type of work available at the prison. The amount earned is often below £10 per week but can be as much as around £18 for prisoners who work in external placement, who are in Open prisons, CIU’s or ILU’s and more in performance managed work areas where a bonus may be paid if production levels are met.
Progressive Regimes and Earned Privileges Scheme (PREPS)
PREPS underline the Prison Service’s investment in preparing prisoners for release by encouraging, motivating, supporting and rewarding them for:
- Working to an agreed Offender Management plan
- Demonstrating good behaviour within the prison and compliance with prison rules
- Engaging activities as identified in their plan
- Addressing offending behaviour
- Reducing their risk of offending.
PREPS privileges and incentives are allocated according to three different regime levels: Standard, Enhanced and Basic.
All offenders entering custody will join the scheme at Standard and receive £4.00 per week for the first four weeks.
After four weeks if their behaviour is deemed acceptable they will receive £11.00 per week.
IPC accounts will be limited to a maximum of £500.
Money for offenders can be left at visitors’ reception by a visitor within the limits of the offender's account. No money for any offender will be accepted by post.
Financial Capability Training
The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) produced a free resource entitled, Let's Talk about Money which comprises basic information that will help people including prisoners improve their money management skills. It can be downloaded by clicking 'here'.
Many prisons provide some form of financial capability training which may be incorporated into life skills courses.
The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland is an independent consumer organisation working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers.
They represent consumers in the areas of transport, water and energy. They also have responsibility to educate consumers on their rights and responsibilities and to equip them with the skills they need to make good decisions about their money and manage it wisely. A range of practical guides such as budget planners, electricity and gas calculators and insurance guides are available via their website or you can telephone to request a copy.
All Consumer Council contact details are included in the booklet Financial Capability for Offenders, their Families and Victims.
Click 'here' to view it.
Getting the support of a mentor
There are a wide range of mentoring services working with offenders and ex-offenders both in prison and in the community.
A mentor can help you to: explore your attitude towards crime, prepare for release, overcome barriers, provide a balanced view and inspire and motivate you.
Mentoring is when one person (the mentor) supports another to enable them to make positive changes in their life. This might be support around getting a job or education, children and families, housing, drug or alcohol issues, managing your finances and debt, and helping to build confidence and self-esteem. Mentoring is sometimes also described as befriending or buddying and may include peer support/advice.
Mentors are usually volunteers who offer their time freely and are trained to offer support. Some mentoring services may have mentors who will meet you in prison before release or who will meet you at the gate. Some may have mentors who are ex-offenders, with their own experience of being in prison, and who are now living crime-free.
How can I get a mentor?
To find out more about mentoring support available visit the justmentoring website (www.clinks.org/directories/justmentoring) or ask someone to visit this website for you. You can also access justmentoring on the Virtual Campus in prisons.
You can search for mentoring organisations across England and Wales that may be able to provide you with a mentor.
Tom Worley - Lead for Mentoring and Befriending, Clinks
Shannon Trust – Every Prisoner a Reader: The Shannon Trust Reading Plan is a simple and effective way of helping people learn to read. The trust trains prisoners who can read to help those who need help to become confident readers. The Reading Plan operates in prisons in Wales, England or Northern Ireland. If you know someone who struggles to read please let them know about the help they’ll be able to get from another prisoner who’s been trained to be a Shannon Trust Reading Plan Mentor.
Lorna Felix - Head of Operations, Shannon Trust
Getting straight into employment
Over the next few pages you will see an article entitled, ‘Who are these ex-offender friendly employers? presented with the kind permission of Prospects Services as well as further information on Looking for Friendly Employers taken directly from Unlock’s online information hub with the kind permission of Unlock. We have placed Looking for Friendly Employers between single page entries provided by some of the listed organisations, which showcase their commitment to providing employment opportunities for people with convictions.
Who are these ex-offender friendly employers?
James, the boss of Timpson, the high street key cutters and shoe repair shops, says clearly “I recruit personalities”.
There are many UK employers who not only employ ex-offenders, but actively recruit them via both workshops in prisons and direct applications. Your conviction is not the barrier you might think it is and bosses like James talk openly about the chance to help ex-offenders learn new skills and build careers.
Other employers like PLIAS see unique value in employing ex-offenders. Don’t underestimate your skills and what your experiences are worth. As Tom at PLIAS says, “Kim offers a deep understanding of what some of the challenges, the barriers and the feelings and emotions that people will face coming out of prison because she’s been there”.
Some of the UK’s biggest companies employ ex-offenders, you’ll recognise most of the names, and they are all very clear about the benefits to both the company and the job seeker.
We have seen some real success. We are about to open our fifth prison workshop and sixteen of our shops are now managed by people recruited from prison —John Timpson
Timpson employs more prison leavers than any other company in the UK, Greggs deliver training skills courses for offenders and ex-offenders, and DHL work in prisons themselves, allowing prisoners to gain work experience as well as, crucially, a qualification.
DHL hope that this kind of scheme will help ex-offenders to break the cycle of crime. A number of those who have been through the programme, and have since been permanently released, are now employed full time within DHL.
“Offenders follow the relevant selection process and are treated in the same way as other candidates,” explains Trish Hopkinson, from DHL. “The process is fully supported by both the company and the prison, and requires a high level of motivation and commitment from the offender.”
Outside of prison, many companies actively remove discrimination from the application process for ex-offenders. It’s important to remember that this means you’ll be treated equally during the application process, and won’t be singled out for your past. It doesn’t, however, mean that you’re guaranteed a job.
First Direct, The Co-Op, Marks & Spencer and Virgin are some of the big UK names who employ ex-offenders, as well as those mentioned above. Virgin boss Richard Branson says “it’s about awareness, employers need to be aware of the positives of taking on people who have been in prison. Our experience shows that people from prison, if properly selected, will prove to be just as reliable as recruits who come from elsewhere. It is their personality that matters most.”
In order to try to make sure ex-offenders get the most positive start to their applications, a number of companies have signed up to the Ban The Box campaign, to give people a second chance by removing the tick box from application forms that asks about criminal convictions.
As both Kim and Patrick discovered, volunteering can be a valuable third route into work. During his time as a manager at the YMCA Patrick found that the deciding factor in giving ex-offenders an interview was whether they had volunteering experience on their CV.
Blue Sky is a social enterprise that provides real jobs for ex-offenders. Blue Sky contracts with major commercial employers and local authorities to provide entry-level employment jobs in industries such as grounds maintenance, waste collection, recycling and warehousing. Since 2005 Blue Sky has employed over 1200, the population of a large prison. Our reducing re-offending score is one of the highest recorded by the Ministry of Justice. We generate direct returns to the Treasury from the income tax and National Insurance contributions paid by ex-offender employees and benefits not claimed (c£250,000 in 14 / 15). 43% of Blue Sky leavers secure onward employment. This is four times the rate of Government’s Work Programme for prison leavers.
Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills and get a recent reference. It will also get you out and about and meeting new people who may be able to offer you work or recommend you to possible employers. Often jobs aren’t advertised so word of mouth is a good way to find work. Volunteering will also give you an opportunity to prove yourself to potential employers first, which can encourage them to look beyond your convictions and see you as you are now.
Social Enterprises, like Camden Garden Centre, offer a number of “trainee” places to people who have had to face difficulties and disadvantage in life, and Blue Sky only employ ex-prisoners. By offering a proper job with a proper company, Blue Sky aims to break the cycle of re-offending and help change what people may think about about ex-offenders.
Mike Jackson, from Camden Garden Centre, says that although the centre is a proper business the profits are put back into the charity that runs it; and so his particular job is to look for trainees who have had trouble accessing the job market, like ex-offenders.
Through volunteering some ex-offenders have managed to turn their skills into a career and even their own business. Alfred says that he is now more open to the different opportunities available to him. “Formulating my business, being given that confidence to go out and network with other organisations, I decided to turn the mentoring into a business simply because I’ve actually been in this situation before.”
This article was written by Prospects Services and has been reproduced with their kind permission.
Looking for friendly employers
A criminal conviction doesn’t have to be the end of your career but many people with convictions feel anxious about disclosing details of their past fearing that they will be judged and discriminated against.
For many people, knowing that an employer is ‘friendly’ towards people with convictions helps them to apply for jobs with more confidence.
That’s why we’ve developed these pages to go on top of the information we have about disclosing to employers.
Bounce Back are a charity which runs training centres in HMP’s Brixton and Wandsworth and a Social Enterprise that employs ex-offenders on release.
Our focus is on construction training which includes painting and decorating, dry lining and scaffolding and our aim is to assist people leaving prison to get paid work in the industry upon release. Whilst we always have teams of trained decorators working directly for us we also act as a bridge to facilitate the passage of many of our participants into employment with our numerous construction industry partners in the Greater London Area. These include Land Securities, Lend Lease, Wates and others.
Anyone with an interest in decorating should contact us. We will help you to obtain your CSCS, obtain registration as self employed and work to support you into employment. You will need a minimum of an NVQ 1 or equivalent and there is an opportunity to further your training in some instances.
On these pages, we’ve identified a number of employers who, either as a result of their recruitment process or company ethics, have a positive attitude towards people with convictions.
However, please note – you shouldn’t limit yourself to only applying to these companies as we know from our work there are loads of employers that regularly recruit people with convictions, it’s just that they simply don’t shout from the rooftops about it.
Employers ‘banning the box’ and improving their recruitment process
Many employers consider individuals with convictions on merit and take steps to encourage applications from people with convictions. However, it is important to remember that this doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed a job.
In order to try and ensure individuals get the most positive start to their applications, a number of companies have signed up to the Ban The Box campaign. This calls on UK employers to create a fair opportunity for people with convictions to compete for jobs by removing the tick box from application forms and asking about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process.
Employers who have signed up to the Ban the Box campaign:-
▪ Do not request information about unspent criminal convictions on application forms
▪ Examine their own recruitment policies and practices to identify how positive disclosure of criminal convictions can take place later in the process
▪ Register their commitment to offering fair opportunities for people with convictions on the Ban the Box website
There is a regularly updated list of companies that have signed up to Ban the Box here.
With almost 1,700 shops and over 19,500 employees who serve millions of customers each week, Greggs is the UK's leading bakery food-on-the-go retailer.
Over the last few years Greggs have been working hard to recognise the hidden talent in people who are determined to find work in the face of significant personal challenges.
We offer support by providing interview experience and work placements to help participants to build the skills, confidence and recent experience needed to find work, as well as giving talks at employability events about what it is like to work for Greggs.
We believe that by not overlooking any potential employees because of their past, we can select the right people for Greggs and develop them to their full potential.
Places to look for friendly employers
As more employers recognise the advantages of having more fully inclusive recruitment policies, there may be other employers not included on this page. Other places to look for ‘friendly employers’ are:-
Ban the Box is a national campaign (led by Business in the Community, and supported by Unlock and others) which calls on UK employers to create a fair opportunity for people with convictions to compete for jobs by removing the tick box from application forms and asking about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process.
Employers' Forum for Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR) is a membership organisation for employers who agree to recruit people with convictions. As part of their membership regulations they have to agree to supply data regarding the number of people with convictions that they employ and also commit to support the wider recruitment of people with convictions.
Clean Sheet employers agree to actively consider applications from Clean Sheet members, by assessing their suitability for a role equally with other candidates.
Companies recruiting from the community
The following are some well-known ‘friendly’ employers that are known to recruit people with convictions from the community.
Alliance Boots initially recruited 10 people with convictions into warehouse roles but have since recruited people with convictions across all areas of their work. They were one of the founder members of the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign.
Camden Garden Centre offer opportunities to older people, women returning to work, people with convictions, people living with mental health problems, homeless people and those recovering from drug or alcohol addictions.
Carillion is one of the UK’s largest support services companies, a major construction contractor, one of the top three suppliers of mechanical and electrical engineering and the largest independent energy services company. They are the largest employer of young apprentices in the UK construction sector, many of whom have criminal convictions.
Compass Group have involvement in food services, healthcare, education and sport and leisure. They offer opportunities for people with convictions and were part of a group of organisations who wrote an open letter to the Financial Times setting out their positive experiences of recruiting individuals with convictions.
Halfords are an equal opportunities employer, and we actively look for potential and personality. We proactively work with soon to be ex-offenders through our cycle academy at Onley prison and will be opening up another academy at Drake Hall in April. For ex-offenders that have not been through our academy programme, we would still actively encourage applications through our careers website.
We advise customers, in our stores, every day on the best products to meet their needs. And more and more we also work on cars and bikes, so our customers don't have to. It's all about earning their trust and being helpful.
In short, we aim to take the hassle out of our customers' lives while maintaining and growing our service advantage. This makes Halfords a great place to work and provides real opportunities for career development.
Being a diverse and fast-moving business, we have ambitious plans for the future and every one of our team will play a part in our success. There are numerous opportunities to develop and now is a great time to join the team.
If you think Halfords would be the right place to work for you, please apply at www.halfordscareers.com
Cook Food Ltd cook and sell frozen ready meals. Job opportunities vary from working in their network of shops, working in their kitchens, delivering food or working as part of their central team keeping everything running.
Co-op are a food retailer, insurance provider, funeral services provider and a growing legal services provider. They offer employment opportunities to people with convictions, provide financial education within prisons and help those about to be released from prison set up bank accounts.
Costain Group work within the energy, water and transportation industry. Applicants would usually be expected to meet the entry standard for any specific vacancy. However, Costain work with a number of organisations, including The Prince's Trust to ensure that opportunities are open to people who may have difficulty in demonstrating that they meet the standards, including people with convictions.
East Coast Trains run high speed passenger services between London, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. In November 2014 it was announced that Virgin (a well documented supporter of people with convictions – see below) had won the franchise to run East Coast Trains until March 2023.
Enterprise work within the field of car rental and leasing. They have won many recruitment awards, especially around the recruitment of disadvantaged groups and have solid links with organisations such as Business in the Community and Stonewall.
ESH Group launched a major recruitment drive at the end of 2014 as demand for its construction services grew in the North East, Cumbria and Yorkshire with a commitment to recruit anybody (including people with convictions) who were prepared to ‘buckle down and hit the ground running’.
Home Group provide housing for people with low to medium support needs. They positively encourage applications from people with convictions as a way of demonstrating their commitment to enable people to gain independence and lead a stable life.
Iceland are another retailer who signed an open letter to the Financial Times supporting the recruitment of people with convictions and are a member of the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign.
Interserve are a multi-national support service and construction company. They employ more than 2500 people with convictions in their UK work force and were a founder member of the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign.
We’ve hosted over fifty half-day training sessions at Roast for young people from local schools, The Prince’s Trust, army veterans and ex-offender programmes. These vibrant and engaging sessions start with breakfast with our founder, Iqbal, followed by a tour of Borough Market to meet food producers and some time in the kitchen gaining hands-on experience of a career in catering.
Over the years we have seen at first hand the transition of young London from a life away from crime and into work. We have recruited many people and given work experience to many more from Switchback and have taken on a number of prisoners on day release from Brixton Prison, which is home to the brilliant Clink restaurant and we also recently hosted a pop-up Roast in a Young Offenders Institute in south London.
Kingfisher is Europe’s largest home improvement retailer and operate under the names B&Q and Screwfix in the UK. They have an excellent reputation for the recruitment of people with convictions and promote this to their customer base.
Lend Lease employees set up a dedicated not-for-profit company called BeOnsite in 2007. They provide people from excluded groups with industry relevant training and sustained employment within the property industry.
Marks and Spencer have a positive attitude to the recruitment of people with convictions and have publicly stated that ‘the morale and motivation of their existing staff without a criminal record increased following amendments to their recruitment policies to include people with convictions’.
Mitie Group work in conjunction with Mosaic, a mentoring charity, to provide workshops and training which ultimately lead to work placements and paid employment with Mitie.
Pets At Home are another retailer who signed an open letter to the Financial Times supporting the recruitment of people with convictions and actively support the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign.
Poundland have been supported by the Shaw Trust to provide employment opportunities for people with convictions.
Ringway set itself a challenge in 2007 to recruit a more diverse workforce and find young people who wanted to enter the transport infrastructure industry. The recruitment of people with convictions started following a visit to HMP Rochester but now extends to recruitment from the community.
Sainsbury’s state that ‘diversity and inclusion are an integral part of their heritage’ and have for many years had links with the prison service providing opportunities to people in custody and also people with convictions living in the community.
Tesco has a fully inclusive recruitment policy which includes working with the prison service to provide opportunities for people in custody and extends to people living in the community with convictions.
Trafford Housing Trust has worked in partnership for many years with social enterprise, Clean Start but has more recently outlined its commitment to provide opportunities to people with convictions in the community.
Sue Ryder is a national health and social care charity providing compassionate hospice and neurological care across the UK. It does this throughout its 7 hospices; 5 neurological care centres; community-based services and in people's own homes.
Sue Ryder is open to employing people who have served non custodial or custodial sentences. We recommend volunteering as an effective route to finding employment with us and with other organisations.
Benefits to prisoner volunteers:
- A safe, supportive and non-judgemental work environment.
- Training to develop transferable employability skills.
- A non-prison work reference which can help secure future employment.
- Opportunities to gain paid work with Sue Ryder.
At Sue Ryder, 1 in 5 of our volunteers leave us because they have found paid work which shows just how beneficial it can be for job seekers.
Our structured volunteer programme operates UK-wide. Voluntary work in our network of shops, warehouses and offices is offered to offenders who are: on release on temporary licence (ROTL); carrying out community service; referred by probation; released from prison, ‘Through the Gate’.
Virgin Group actively encourage the recruitment of people with convictions in the community and those who are still in custody, or working towards release.
Wates Group set up its own independent Community Interest Company, Changing Paths, a scheme helping people with convictions in local communities get back into the workplace.
Companies with links to prisons
There are some employers that have established direct links with prisons. This might first involve offering training or work experience opportunities.
Amaryllis Group Holdings works within the facilities management, environmental and manufacturing sector. They provide a programme in prisons offering training in the ‘green’ economy. The programme provides a progression into work opportunities upon release.
Cisco Systems has a programme in place mentoring individuals in HMP Wandsworth and HMP Spring Hill who are studying for the Cisco networking qualification.
DHL work in prisons themselves, allowing prisoners to gain work experience as well as a qualification. Upon release, many gain full time employment with DHL.
Gelder Group work in partnership with Milton Keynes College to provide construction related training courses in HMP Lincoln. Completing training through the Gelder Training Academy provides genuine opportunities for employment upon release.
Greggs deliver training courses for people with convictions setting them up with a placement in a shop with a view to being offered a full time position at the end of the training period.
Halfords work in partnership with HMP Onley to provide training and employment opportunities for people in custody. Upon release, employees can go onto complete a three year technician programme leading to the Institute of Motor Industry NVQ3 and Diploma.
National Grid operate a Young Offender Programme throughout 22 prisons and provide training and employment upon release. They also act in an agency capacity to meet the recruitment needs of 80 other companies they have links with.
Timpson really are an equal opportunities employer, we consider anyone for our vacancies, as long as they are able to do the job. This includes ex-offenders and other marginalised groups. We recruit exclusively on personality and expect all of colleagues to be happy, confident and chatty individuals.
At Timpson, we believe that delivering excellent customer service is the key to our success. We give our colleagues total authority to do whatever they can to amaze our customers. If we make a mistake, then we can put it right there and then, without the need to speak with a manager. We trust our colleagues to run our business as they see fit.
We offer you use of the company limousine if you get married and you also get an extra £100 in your wages and a week off work! All Timpson colleagues get their Birthday off. We believe that nobody should have to work on their Birthday!
We are really proud of the fact that all of our senior managers have been promoted from within our business.
Pret A Manger run an apprenticeship scheme which offers up to 70 places a year to people with convictions and/or the homeless to enable them to access a three month work placement within Pret. Apprenticeships can often lead to a full time job.
Skanska UK offer training placements for people in custody who are in the last 12 months of their sentence. The training leads to certificates in minimum gas industry standards and individuals are guaranteed employment upon successful completion of the training.
Sue Ryder have been offering volunteering placements in their shops and central offices since 2006 to people with convictions. Many of these individuals go on to secure paid work with the charity.
Timpson employs more prison leavers than any other company in the UK. They provide training workshops in prisons which can train up to 35 apprentices at any one time. Successful applicants will often go on to work in a Timpson shop whilst still in custody and would usually expect to be kept on after release. Timpsons assist other retailers to employ people with convictions.
We are extremely grateful to Unlock (a charity for people with convictions) for giving permission for this material to be included in The Hardman Directory. Unlock provides support to people with convictions and you will see details of this listed on the page devoted to Unlock in the blue tabbed ‘Other Places to Look’ section.
As a family-owned business we know that our people are at the core of our ongoing success. We employ over 4,000 people and have a turnover in excess of £1.4bn. We are very proud to be named Contractor of the Year, Employer of the Year and to have received the Judges' Supreme Award at the Construction News Awards, recognising our position as a leader in our industry.
We recognise that different people want different things from a workplace and our website (the careers pages) will help you understand more about how we work, our culture and what's important to us. We are members of the Employers' Forum for Reducing Reoffending.
We have discovered there is substantial talent in our prisons and good sustainable employment is fundamental to turning people's lives around and a major factor in reducing reoffending.
Through the Wates Giving programme we set up Changing Paths Charitable Trust. They help ex and serving offenders into sustainable employment predominately in London and the South East by working with the Wates project teams and their supply chains. We also run a series of programmes across the country every year called Building Futures where we work locally with our customers to provide specific employment programmes from our construction sites.
How to use this directory
Getting funding support is generally not easy. It is becoming ever more difficult for people in need. It can be especially difficult finding funding support from inside prison.
If you have picked up this book and you are looking for money you may wish to turn immediately to the gold tabbed 'Funds' section. Each page in this part of the Directory either refers to, or describes in some detail, a fund that you may be able to apply to for money for a particular purpose.
In this directory all the funds will accept applications from either individual prisoners or ex-offenders or both, but each fund has restrictions. Only certain prisoners or ex-offenders who meet the conditions of the fund can apply.
When viewing the pages showing more detailed description, only apply if:
You are in the right geographical area where the fund operates
You fit the description in 'Who can apply' and if in this section it says someone must apply on your behalf, make sure that the right person does
You want something that appears in 'What can be funded'.
The organisations whose details appear in the gold tabbed 'Funds' section are arranged according to a particular broad category. Some will provide money in more than one broad category. The categories are also colour coded and are: Prison Service administered support; Education, training, preparing for work; Art; Becoming self- employed; Housing; Emergency.
Other than for an unforeseen emergency, don't leave your application to the last minute – give yourself plenty of time especially if the course, equipment and materials are expensive. Finding funds at short notice is extremely difficult and almost impossible. Some funders have a rolling grant-making programme and, provided you make a satisfactory application, you will receive a decision within a few weeks. It is possible however for decisions to take anything up to nine months.
Do keep a copy of your letter and/or your completed form so a second copy can be made if, for whatever reason, the original is lost. It is also useful to have a copy for future reference as you may be asked to provide further information by letter or, during an interview, to expand your proposal.
The availability of contact details
Please note that the contact details shown in the Hardman Directory are those available to the general public. This may in some cases make applying more difficult if you are in prison given the restrictions connected with the use of phone or the internet. Further information about the various funds may be easier to access by phone or by going on the internet on a home leave or once you have been released. The Hardman Directory is available online at www.prisonerfunder.org.uk and by running your curser over the text you will see that it contains many hyperlinks that will take you quickly and easily, with just one click of the mouse, to further information.
....And finally, reporting back to your benefactor
Almost all funders like to receive a progress report from their successful candidates, so do take the time to let them know how the funds were used. This report may include both successes and setbacks with your course or activity. Maintaining contact like this may place you in a better position to make a second application for money from the same funder at a later date. You will see some extracts from letters from successful candidates scattered throughout the directory.
Organisations receive a large number of requests for money and/or help so do not be too disappointed if you are not successful. The trick is to draw up a list of those charities you may be eligible to apply to and to approach as many of them as possible. However there is still no guarantee that you will be successful, but it does give you a better chance of receiving some help. It is also common when money is tight for the grants or funds to be quite small which is another reason for approaching more than one organisation, as a few little grants can make up the sum you are looking for.
List of funds by category of purpose
The funds are arranged according to a broad category in sections. Some funds may be available in more than one broad category.
The funds typed in bold tend to be provided either directly, or indirectly via a Government Agency and may therefore be large.
The fund in italics in several categories, which is specifically available to prisoners or ex-offenders, is provided by one of the larger prison charities and therefore may be significantly larger than the others listed below it.
Education, training, preparing for work
24+ Advanced Learning Loan
CFO Discretionary Access Fund (DAF)
Discretionary Learner Support
DWP Flexible Support Fund
Professional and Career Development Loan
Student Loans Company
University Hardship Fund
Prisoners' Education Trust (also art materials)
Al-Mizan Charitable Trust
Bishop David Sheppard Tenth Anniversary Trust
Bucks Association for the Care of Offenders (BACO)
City and Guilds - Bursary
Education, training, preparing for work (continued)
Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust
Crisis Changing Lives Grant (also business startup)
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award - DofE Aldo Trust Bursary
Frank Longford Charitable Trust (Longford Trust) Longford Scholarships
Futures for Women - SPTW
Haven Distribution Books-to-Prisoners
Lawrence Atwell’s Charity
Open University Crowther Fund
Open University Students Education Trust (OUSET)
poppyscotland (The Earl Haig Fund Scotland) - (also several other categories including business start-up)
(The) Prince’s Trust - Development Awards
Professionals Aid Council
R L Glasspool Charity Trust
Royal London Society - EaST Grants
Ruth Hayman Trust
Sacro Trust Fund (also household items)
Sarum St Michael Educational Charity
ScotsCare (also several other categories)
Sheriffs’ and Recorder’s Fund (also household goods)
Education, training, preparing for work (continued)
Sir John and Lady Heathcoat Amory's Charitable Trust
Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust
Smartworks (interview clothing)
Stanhope Castle School Charitable Trust
The Royal British Legion (TRBL) (also several other categories)
The Salvation Army
The Sidney Perry Foundation
Turn2us - Elizabeth Finn Fund
Women in Prison (WIP)
Koestler Trust - Koestler Awards
Arts Council England
Arts Council of Wales
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Burnbake Trust Prison Art Project
Start Up Loans
Fredericks Foundation - Business start-up microloan
The Prince's Trust - Enterprise Programme
Sir Thomas White Loan Charity
Startupnow for Women
The Harry James Riddleston Charity of Leicester
Housing (household goods)
Discretionary Accommodation Grant - HMPS
Discretionary Assistance Grant for Wales - Individual Assistance Payments
Buttle UK Small Grants Programme
Buttle UK Support for Estranged Young People
Buttle UK The Anchor Project (also several other categories)
David Isaacs Fund
Greggs Foundation - Hardship Fund
Housing the Homeless Central Fund
Newby Trust Ltd
(The) Officers’ Association
St Martin in the Fields Vicar’s Relief Fund
Note: The funds shown not in bold are small and are restricted either to a specific category of person or to a small geographical area.
Discharge Grant HMPS, SPS, NIPS
Discretionary Assistance Fund for Wales - Emergency Assistance Payments
Community Action Isle of Wight - Helping Hands Grant
Community Foundation for Surrey - Surrey Young People's Fund
Edinburgh & Lothian Trust Fund
Inner London Magistrates Court - Poor Box Fund
Michael and Shirley Hunt Charitable Trust
List of funds by category of people
Futures for Women - SPTW
Startupnow for Women
Women in Prison (WIP)
Younger People only
Buttle UK - Small Grants Programme
Buttle UK - Support for Estranged Young People
Buttle UK - The Anchor Project
Community Action for Surrey - Surrey Young People's Fund
(The) Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Lawrence Atwell's Charity
Stanhope Castle School Charitable Trust
Bishop David Sheppard Tenth Anniversary Fund
Community Action Isle of Wight
Harry James Riddleston Charity of Leicester
Housing the Homeless Central Fund
Sir Thomas White Loan Charity
Charities that do not fund individual prisoners
|Albany Visual Arts Awards||Has ceased to exist.|
|Alchemy Foundation||Does not make grants to individual prisoners.|
|Aldo Trust||Now gives through the DofE Awards and through other charities that help prisoners.|
|Alexis Trust||No longer gives to prisoners.|
|Allen Lane Foundation||Does not make grants to individuals.|
|Baring Foundation||Does not give to prisoners.|
|Barony Charitable Trust||Does not give to prisoners.|
|Beatrice Laing Trust||Does not give directly to prisoners.|
|The Bromley Trust||Does not give directly to prisoners however funds a number of charities in the penal sector.|
|Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation||Does not give to individuals.|
|City Parochial Foundation (Trust for London)||Does not offer funding to individuals.|
|Crafts Council||Does not give grants to individuals.|
|Cripps Foundation||Does not fund individuals.|
|D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust||Does not fund individual prisoners though have supported Koestler Awards over a number of years.|
|Dathcelor Trust (now the Clothworkers)||Does not give to individuals.|
|Elsie Talbot Bridge Will Trust||Does not give to individual prisoners.|
|Fox Memorial Trust||Has ceased to exist.|
|Fund for Human Need||Does not fund prisoners. Limited funds available for asylum seekers & homeless as well as a few personal distress grants.|
|Gane Charitable Trust||No longer funds individual prisoners.|
|Gilchrist Educational Trust||Does not fund individual prisoners.|
|Goldsmiths' Company Charity||Does not give directly to prisoners.|
|Hilda Martindale Charitable Trust||No longer funds individual prisoners.|
|Hilden Charitable Fund||Does not give grants to individuals.|
|Jesse Spencer Charitable Trust||No longer gives directly to individual prisoners. Remains supportive of Trusts that fund prisoners.|
|Jill Franklin Trust||No longer gives directly to individual prisoners. Now gives through another charity.|
|John Ellerman Foundation||No grants to individuals.|
|Laura Ashley Foundation||Does not make grants to prisoners.|
|Mary Kinross Charitable Trust||Does not make grants to individuals but supports other charities that do.|
|Morris Leigh Foundation||Does not accept applications from prisoners.|
|Ormiston Trust||Does not fund individuals.|
|Paul Hamlyn Foundation||Does not give to individual prisoners.|
|Paul Stephenson Memorial Trust||No longer gives directly to prisoners.|
|Priory Foundation||Does not encourage unsolicited approaches.|
|Richard Newitt Fund||No longer gives to individuals. Now gives to a number of university hardship funds.|
|Saxham Trust||No longer gives directly to individual prisoners. Now gives through another charity.|
|Sir John Cass's Foundation||Does not give directly to individual prisoners. Now gives through another charity.|
|Sure Foundation||No longer makes grants to prisoners.|
|Surrey Care Trust||No longer accepts unsolicited applications from prisoners or ex-offenders.|
|Swan Mountain Trust||No longer gives directly to individual prisoners. Now gives through another charity.|
|Talbot House Trust||Does not fund individual prisoners.|
|Thomas Wall Trust||Supports a number of charities that run projects in the field of prisoner education however the Trust does not make grants directly to prisoners.|
|Vandervell Foundation||Now gives through other charities that help prisoners.|
|Wates Foundation||Does not give directly to prisoners however does fund a large number of projects within the criminal justice system.|
|W. E. D. Charitable Trust||Also known as W. E. Dunn Charitable Trust - no longer makes grants directly to prisoners.|
Prison Service support
Released prisoners receive a travel warrant or payment of fares to their release address. A travel warrant details the journey requirements, for example, the station nearest to the prison to the station nearest home. This will be exchanged for a ticket at the station. The prison may also provide transport from the establishment to the nearest station, if there are difficulties (e.g. a disability) in getting to the nearest station.
ENGLAND, WALES AND SCOTLANDDischarge Grant
Those aged 18 or over, serving a custodial sentence and in custody for more than 14 days, may be eligible for a discharge grant. This money is meant to help pay for necessary living expenses in the period immediately after release, if the offender is unemployed, before the first benefit payment. A relatively small number of prisoners will have accrued any significant savings whilst in prison and were it not for the discharge grant many would leave prison with little or no money. In practice the sum, though certainly helpful, is rarely adequate to cover this period. See the gold tabbed Funds section of this directory and also the reference to Local Welfare Assistance in the purple tabbed Appendices, to find out what other funding may be available.
NORTHERN IRELANDDischarge Grant
A discharge grant is paid in order to ensure that a prisoner will have sufficient money on release for his immediate needs.
You may be eligible for a grant if you are serving a sentence of over 14 days. Grants are not paid to Civil prisoners, those imprisoned on default of a fine, those awaiting deportation or those travelling to an address outside the United Kingdom on discharge.
If you had a home to go to during periods of pre-release, Christmas or summer leave, only in exceptional circumstances will you qualify for an increased grant on discharge to assist you to pay for rented accommodation in the week following release.
ENGLAND AND WALESRates of Discharge Grant
The discharge grant is a set fixed rate of £46 and is paid to eligible prisoners on release from prison. Payment of the discharge grant is not set in any legislation at present. The purpose of the grant is not to provide for all the prisoner’s needs after release. It is intended solely to assist them in the first few days after release and before they might reasonably be able to get a job or an appointment at the job centre and/or begin to access state benefits. There are no current plans to increase the discharge grant from £46.
NORTHERN IRELANDRates of Discharge Grant
£72.40 – all eligible prisoners
SCOTLANDRates of Discharge Grant
£72.64 – 25 and over
£58.03 – under 25
ENGLAND AND WALESDiscretionary Accommodation Grant
It is to be hoped that a prisoner upon release will have suitable accommodation already arranged. If it can be established that you will be leaving with no fixed address (NFA) you can apply for a grant that will help towards the cost of securing accommodation on release.
Forms will be issued to you to complete before your release. The grant is provided at the Governor’s discretion and is always paid directly to the housing provider. It can be up to £50 in value. It cannot be paid to a friend or relative.
Provision of Clothing from the Prison Clothing Store
There may be various reasons why prisoners do not have suitable clothing for release. For example, the prisoner may have entered prison in the summer wearing light clothing and be released during a particularly cold part of the winter. Alternatively, over the period spent in prison, the prisoner may have gained or lost weight such that his or her original clothing no longer fits.
The Prison Rules (23(6)) state that “A prisoner may be provided, where necessary, with suitable and adequate clothing on their release”. The cost/process of issuing suitable clothing is down to the decision of the prison establishment.
Prisoners are not given a payment to purchase new clothing. However, a number of prisons in England and Wales will usually have, in the Reception Department, a clothing store which holds a stock of “second-hand” (but clean) clothing which has been left or donated by previous prisoners. If it is found that a prisoner does not have any suitable clothing available for release, it is open to them to apply to the store for appropriate garments. Prisons may also purchase basic clothing from a local supplier.
SCOTLANDIn Scotland, the Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 2011 provide that at the time of a prisoner’s release, the Governor must provide suitable clothing to meet the prisoners immediate needs if the prisoner has insufficient clothing.
Education, training, preparing for work
Prisoners' Education Trust has kindly allowed some parts of an article it had published in 'insidetime' to be incorporated into this piece.
UKLearning in Prison
A wide range of learning options exists, though unfortunately not all opportunities are available in every prison. It is best to ask your education department what is available in your establishment. You can also study at a range of levels up to university degree and even postgraduate level. The higher level the course the more expensive it is, but the impact on your life could also be greater. If you are a prisoner in Northern Ireland, it may be worth speaking to the Head of Learning (HOL) at your establishment to find what forms of further education are available and how they can be funded.
Where to start?
The best place to start is with the courses provided by the prison education department. If you have not already reached level 2 in literacy and numeracy, it makes sense to take these classes. Most prisons will also provide IT courses and employability skills training. Find out what other courses are offered – each prison has its own curriculum.
ENGLANDVocational Skills Training
Many prisons offer vocational qualifications in catering, laundry, cleaning, horticulture and waste management, linked to prison jobs. There are often gym related qualifications available and workshops teaching painting, decorating and construction. A number of these courses may be fully funded by the Skills Funding Agency through the external education provider. There may also be opportunities to do Rail Track qualifications, hairdressing, cooking, beauty, business studies, radio production or graphic design. Find out which vocational skills and qualifications are available in your prison. Ask the education department for details.
Courses at FE colleges
Anyone under 24, including Cat D prisoners or ex-prisoners, should be eligible for free access to a first level 2 and/or a first level 3 qualification if they have not already achieved either of these and are aiming to undertake them at a Further Education College.
Cat D prisoners in England can contact the National Careers Service (NCS), education department, any resettlement agencies or staff available in their prison to find out more about Further Education College courses available locally. It may also be worth asking about the 16 - 19 Bursary Fund www.gov.uk/1619-bursary-fund and about Discretionary Learner Support. Discretionary Learner Support is available in colleges and sixth form colleges to help with learning costs if you are aged 19 or over. www.gov.uk/discretionary-learner-support/overview
To be eligible to apply, you must be 19 or over and have been accepted onto and be studying a programme of learning funded by the Skills Funding Agency.
Anyone 19 and over wanting to study at level 3 or above, whether in prison or in an FE college after release, is likely to need to take out a 19+ Advanced Learning Loan. For more information please see this link: www.gov.uk/advanced-learning-loans
Each college or learning provider has its own application process. Your tutor, student support or welfare officer should be able to provide further information. The National Careers Service will also provide advice: telephone 0800 100 900.
If you have already reached level 2 before coming to prison, or you’ve completed level 2 qualifications inside prison, and want to carry on at higher levels, consider whether distance learning is the right next step.
Course materials and project work are sent in by post to you. The Prison Service has a set of rules about applying for distance learning, set out in a Prison Service Instruction. A copy of this PSI should be in your prison library.
One of the biggest advantages of distance learning is that there are courses available in hundreds of subjects – so you can learn about subjects you’re most interested in. Courses people in prison have recently followed include; plumbing theory, horticulture, bookkeeping, restaurant management, interior design, A-levels, construction technologies, and health & fitness management. The National Careers Service (NCS) advisors and the prison library should have information about some of the courses available.
Prisoners in England and Wales can apply to Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) for funding for distance learning courses. Please speak to the education department for more information. PET has created a Distance Learning Curriculum to help guide prisoners and prison/advice staff on what is available and can be studied in prison. The curriculum is to be used as a guide and is not a comprehensive list of the courses PET considers. To ask for a copy, or to ask for course advice, write to FREEPOST: PRISONERS EDUCATION TRUST.
Funding for Open University Introductory Access Modules and Degree Courses
Access Modules are an excellent way of trying higher level study through distance learning before considering full degree level study. Prisoners’ Education Trust can fund Access Module courses for prisoners under the Steps for Success programme for students ordinarily resident in England. Students who have already completed their Access Module course and wish to study for a degree must contact the OU for details on funding. Please be aware that students will need to take out a student loan for OU study beyond the Access Module.
The eligibility criteria for the Access Modules are as follows: you must be within 8 years of your earliest release date and must detail which qualification you are working towards. In addition, you need to confirm your residency for the past three years prior to your sentence; you must also detail your potential, motivation and eligibility to commit to ongoing study via a student loan.
Cat D prisoners
At present, Cat D prisoners in England eligible for movement outside the prison may apply for university courses and unless they can self-fund, they will need to apply for a student loan to cover tuition costs. Students intending to study at degree level need to be aware that universities charge up to £9,000 a year for tuition. Student loans are available to cover these fees, for both full-time and part-time students, and all universities will also have a scholarships or bursaries programme to help specific students. Students must also cover their own maintenance costs, although for low income students, maintenance loans are still available.
Please note that from the summer of 2017 student loans will also be available to those who are eligible for post-graduate courses.
For more information about the new arrangements, go to:
The arrangements for ex-offenders will be the same as for other students, with greater availability of student loans and some fee waiver and scholarship arrangements.
For information on bursaries visit:
SCOTLANDThere is a wide range of educational, arts and vocational courses available to prisoners across the Scottish prison estate.
These are designed to address the learning, skills and employability needs and aspirations of all prisoner groups i.e. women, young offenders, etc. There is no requirement for individuals to apply for funding for these courses as they are funded through each establishment’s budget for purposeful activities.
Additional vocational courses may be available through distance learning subject to securing funding and with prison approval.
Prisoners in Scotland who are engaged in some form of education may open an Individual Learning Account (ILA). Any prisoner wishing to apply for an ILA should approach their local Learning Centre for advice and assistance with the form. Funds of up to £200 may be available to support a distance learning programme from an approved provider. For anyone in Scotland over the age of 16, earning under £22,000 pa and who registers, up to £200 will automatically be placed in their ILA for payment of any course fees from an approved learning provider.
Funding for HNC/HND or Degree Courses
ILAs may also fund some study at HNC/D level. Please contact your local learning centre for further advice and guidance. However all requests for higher level study have to be approved in advance by the prison.
Note: successful applications for an ILA will disallow an applicant from also submitting an application for higher education in the same academic year.
Degree Level Study
The Scottish Prison Service will only fund applications for degree level study through their Higher Education Access Scheme (HEAS) in partnership with the Open University Scotland.
Post-graduate progammes will be supported on an individual basis through application to the Higher Education Access Board and will be subject to availability of resources. Priority will be afforded to undergraduate courses.
WALESFunding for Introductory Access Modules and Short Courses
Prisoners ordinarily resident in Wales can apply to PET for funding for the Access Modules.
The eligibility criteria for the Access Modules in England also applies to prisoners ordinarily resident in Wales, it is as follows: you must be within 8 years of your earliest release date and must detail which qualification you are working towards. In addition, you need to confirm your residency for the past three years prior to your sentence; you must also detail your potential, motivation and eligibility to commit to ongoing study via a student loan.
If you wish to study with the OU or are a Cat D prisoner wishing to embark on undergraduate studies on day release, please speak to your education department or careers advisor.
For more information on student finance in Wales, visit
Tel: 0845 602 8845 (open 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 1pm on Saturday, local call rates apply).
NORTHERN IRELANDDistance Learning (Further Education)
A review of the distance learning policy for offenders in the Northern Ireland Prison Service is underway and it is hoped that this will be in place before the next registration round of summer 2016. Any students currently engaged in distance learning will continue their course, however new application will be subject to the revised Policy.
Any offender interested in distance learning (higher education) should seek advice from their establishment Head of Learning (HOL) .
If you wish to understand courses available from the Open University (OU) you can do so from your HOL at the establishment or write to the OU directly.
The Open University
110 Victoria Street, Belfast, BT1 3GN
Tel. 028 9024 5025
OrganisationDWP - Jobcentre Plus
Name of grant/loanFlexible Support Fund
Customers of Jobcentre Plus.
This grant can be for anything that helps remove barriers to work and improves an individual’s chances to gain work and/or keep employment. Examples of such awards include clothing and footwear for attendance at interviews in order to gain employment, clothing and travel expenses to attend a place of work.
Simply ask your Jobcentre Plus advisor if it would be possible to be considered for this grant and be ready to outline your proposal.
This grant may be applied for any time.
Whether to award or not is at the sole discretion of the individual’s Jobcentre Plus advisor.
For more detailed information on this fund visit: www.about.universalcredit.service.gov.uk/kms/Pages/Flexible_Support_Fund.htm
Apply toYou can find the phone number and address on the advert in the business numbers section of the phone book. Look under Jobcentre Plus or Social Security.
OrganisationNational Careers Service/Two High Street Banks
Name of grant/loanProfessional and Career Development Loan
Anyone aged 18 or over who has been living in the UK for at least 3 years before the course starts, and meets criteria set by the banks such as having an acceptable credit rating. People who are in prison or in a Young Offender Institution or have been released on temporary license are not eligible to apply. However, people who have been released from prison or a Young Offender Institution, or who remain under supervision in the community (such as electronic tagging), are eligible to apply. For further information on those who are eligible or ineligible to apply, ring the National Careers Service (telephone number listed below) and speak to an advisor.
A loan from £300 - £10,000 to help towards the costs of course fees, other course costs and living expenses. The course must be on the approved list and must be one which would help the learner's career. To find out which courses are on the approved list, ring the National Careers Service (telephone number listed below) and speak to an advisor.
Any course not on the approved list. (For detailed information on what is not funded, ring the National Careers Service and speak to an advisor).
Ring National Careers Service. If eligible, ask for an application pack.
A Professional and Career Development Loan is a deferred repayment bank loan which can help you gain the experience, training and qualifications you need to improve your job skills or even launch a new career. The Skills Funding Agency pays the interest on your loan whilst you are learning and up to one month afterwards. You then repay the loan to the bank over an agreed period at a fixed rate of interest.
Apply toOne of the banks involved
National Careers Service, on 0800 100900. The helpline is open to receive calls 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.
Name of grant/loanCFO Discretionary Access Fund (DAF)
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: 4,250
All English regions except Cornwall.
Offenders aged over 18 (or 16 in the North West, West Midlands and London), serving a prison or community sentence, or on licence in the community. The DAF is only available to offenders participating in CFO delivery. The CFO aims to work with offenders facing multiple barriers and improve access to mainstream employment, training and education opportunities. CFO has a specific focus on a number of priority groups, including women, older offenders (50+), offenders with disabilities (including mental health) and offenders from ethnic groups.
Delivery providers have funding available as part of their budget, which can be used to pay for specific items which may help individuals to find work, training or education. This is the Discretionary Access Fund (DAF), which can be used to help individuals overcome specific barriers to work such as travel (to an interview, to work), pay for childcare or equipment. The DAF can be used to increase the employability of individuals via the purchase of courses/equipment/accreditations that may not otherwise be available to the participant. Examples could include:
• Short term vocational courses such as Fork Lift Truck courses
• Items of equipment essential to secure an individual a job, i.e. tools of the trade for a hairdresser or electrician etc.
If an individual in custody or serving a community sentence is interested in accessing the CFO programme, they should speak to their Offender Supervisor/Manager, who will be able to make contact with the prime provider in their region. Please note: participants in the CFO programme cannot apply directly. Additional information is also available at www.co-financing.org
CFO3 will support a significant number of offenders to access mainstream opportunities until December 2020, via European Social Fund (ESF) monies. NOMS CFO delivery is branded as CFO3 in all regions or may be referred to locally as NOMS ESF programme.
The support has given me the confidence to go forwards and try new things."
OrganisationStudent Finance England
Name of grant/loan24+ Advanced Learning Loan
England and Northern Ireland
Any UK citizen or citizen of another EU country aged 24 or over on the first day of the course and who has been living in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland for at least three years before the start of the course or anyone from a non EU country aged 24 or over who has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Tuition fees for any level 3 or 4 course.
Check with your college or training provider that the course qualifies. At the college ask for a ‘Learning and funding information’ letter - you need this to complete the application and ask if there is someone who can help you with the application process or ring Student Finance England 24+ Advanced Learning Loan Department and speak to an advisor on 0300 100 0619 or visit the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan webpage using the www.gov.uk link above and navigate to 'How to apply' for details.
The minimum loan is £300 and the maximum will depend on the cost of the course. The loan doesn't depend on how much you are earning nor are there any credit checks. The course must be more than two weeks in duration. Check the www.gov.uk webpage accessed by the link above to see whether the application form is available yet for the start of your course.
OrganisationPrisoners' Education Trust
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: 2,400
Any sentenced prisoner from prisons in England and Wales, including Young Offenders’ Institutions. They should be able to complete their chosen course before release.
Distance learning courses. Grants are rarely more than £500 though PET is willing to share the cost of more expensive courses with others. PET also makes small grants towards the cost of art materials.
The trustees prefer not to fund driving lessons. Applications for postgraduate courses are also difficult to fund.
Applications to PET must be made through the prison education department on PET’s application form and accompanied by a letter from the prisoner and a recommendation by an authorised member of the prison education or advice staff.
Applications should be sent by 1st of month.
PET aims to respond to all enquiries and applications as swiftly as possible. All applicants receive a letter telling them whether they have been successful or not. The application process may take up to 7-8 weeks.
PET is developing an Alumni Programme for students funded by PET in prison, and who have since been released. PET also produces a monthly e-news which includes prisoner learner voice, project information, events and policy updates. See our website for more information.
Apply toPrisoners' Education Trust
17 Oval Way
020 3752 5680
It’s just amazing to know society hasn’t closed the door on men/women in my position.”
OrganisationAl-Mizan Charitable Trust
Name of grant/loanGeneral Welfare Fund
The General Welfare Fund provides small grants up to £500 to individuals who are living in a condition of social or economic deprivation.
Costs relating to education, employment, household items, medical and mobility, and subsistence. The Trust is particularly interested in funding vocational courses and/or books in prison that will assist prisoners in their personal development and/or rehabilitation.
General appeals; applicants who have received a grant in the last 12 months from the Trust; retrospective funding; expenses relating to the practice or promotion of religion; clearance of debt including rent and council tax arrears; fines or criminal penalties; university tuition fees; immigration costs; funeral expenses; gifts; holidays; applications for more than £500 (we will consider match-funding requests, where you intend to raise the balance from other sources); and products/services which contravene the ethos and values of the Trust.
In order to submit an application to the General Welfare Fund, you must ask a member of staff at the prison to download and print an official application form from the Trust’s website (www.almizantrust.org.uk). The Trust will not post application forms to individual prisoners. You should complete all questions on the form – incomplete applications will not be considered. Completed forms can either be posted to the address below or scanned by your referee as a single PDF file and sent by email to email@example.com
There are no deadlines and applications are considered on a rolling basis.
Application forms may be completed by a member of staff at the prison on behalf of a serving prisoner, but we do expect the prisoner to write a supporting letter or note. We appreciate and recognise that some applicants may struggle to write well in English.
Apply toAl-Mizan Charitable Trust
PO Box 2488
OrganisationBishop David Sheppard Tenth Anniversary Trust
Anglican Diocese of Liverpool only
Men & women over the age of 21 who are living within the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool and who are seeking a second chance to learn. The grants, which are not available to graduates, are to help people, through education, to improve their life opportunities and into employment.
Books, equipment, stationery, etc that are required for the course, either vocational or academic, that the applicant is undertaking.
By application form submitted by an individual directly to the administrator. All applicants are asked to meet the administrator for a brief discussion. References are needed from the college or training centre.
Trustees meet three times in the year to consider applications: February, June & October. The cut-off date for applications is usually the end of the month, prior to the Trustees' meeting.
We aim always to respond to correspondence.
We can only accept applications from those released from prison and living within the boundary of the Diocese of Liverpool which stretches from Southport in the north to Wigan and Warrington in the South and covers the whole of the area in between down to the River Mersey. This includes every district with a Liverpool ‘L’ postcode, or Warrington/St. Helens/Widnes ‘WA’ post code or Wigan/Skelmersdale ‘WN’ postcode or Southport ‘PR8 or PR9’ Postcodes.
Also, every applicant must be registered with any Further Education College or Training Establishment within the Diocese of Liverpool and must supply two references, one of which must be from their Tutor on College/Training Centre Letterhead providing the Tutor’s contact details
Apply toThe Trust Administrator
The Bishop David Sheppard Tenth Anniversary Trust
c/o Diocese of Liverpool, St James' House
20 St James Road
OrganisationBucks Association for the Care of Offenders (BACO)
Maximum decision time1 month
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: 280
Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes
Serving prisoners in Buckinghamshire prisons, HMP Grendon and Springhill, HMP/YOI Aylesbury, HMP Woodhill and ex-offenders on probation in Bucks.
Education needs, trade tools/clothing, work training, clothes, household needs on release, travel costs.
What is already funded by the Prison/Probation Services.
By email or in writing. Grant applications should be supported by a prison officer/probation officer.
May apply any time during the year.
All applications from those eligible to apply will be acknowledged.
BACO has received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Apply toBACO Grants Administrator
BACO c/o Heart of Bucks
Sunley House (4th floor)
I received a grant towards a PTS course, successfully completed. I am now in the process of getting a job with Coyle Rail.
My thanks to BACO for making this life changing course possible, securing a good job and enabling
me to turn my life around."
OrganisationCity & Guilds Group
Name of grant/loanCity & Guilds Bursary
City & Guilds offers a small number of bursaries (educational awards) each year to anyone, including prisoners, who would like the opportunity to study for a City & Guilds/ILM qualification. We only consider applications from people who are currently resident in, and wish to study in, the UK.
The bursaries can be used for a wide range of purposes, including: paying your course fees (if you have no other funding), covering childcare or travel expenses or covering other costs that will make it difficult for you completing a City & Guilds/ILM qualification.
Courses that are not City & Guilds. Courses outside of the UK.
Complete an online registration which will then give you access to the online application form that can be found at www.cityandguilds.com/bursaries. If you don't have access to the online application form, prisoners are able to apply by post. You will need to send a letter for an application form to our postal address. If you miss one cut-off date your application will automatically go into the next selection period.
Applications will be considered twice a year, normally in the autumn and then in the spring. You will be notified shortly after the closing date as to whether you have been selected to go forward to the interview stage. You will be contacted by email and post with the result of your application.
Your online application will not be acknowledged by email.
You will only receive an outcome email after the closing date of the round, the post-interview stage and the final decision meeting.
Competition is very strong so please provide as much information as possible on your application to help us make a decision. We recommend you prepare your application offline firstly.
Apply toCity & Guilds (Bursaries)
FREEPOST RSGZ AJYE CZTS
City & Guilds, Corporate Affairs (Bursaries)
1 Giltspur Street
0207 294 2591
Thank you so much, without your support I'm quite certain that none of this would have been possible."
OrganisationColyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust
Name of grant/loanHardship Award Programme
Maximum decision time1 month
A Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust referral agency on behalf of any disadvantaged young person (under the age of 25) living in the specific geographical area described above.
Interview clothes; course fees; tools or equipment; travel costs to a new job etc and other items on request. Grants up to a maximum of £500.
Ask Kent, Surrey and Sussex Community Rehabilitation Company (KSS CRC) to contact Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust and to apply on your behalf.
The trust operates a rolling programme and if you are successful you will normally hear from your referral agency within two weeks of the agency putting in an application on your behalf.
Please note that Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust can only consider an application from one of their referral partners on behalf of an individual. They cannot accept an application directly from an individual.
Apply toThe Correspondent
Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust
First Floor, Marcar House
020 8948 3388
OrganisationCounty Durham Community Foundation
Name of grant/loanStanhope Castle School Charitable Trust
Maximum decision time3 months
The UK - providing the applicant has at some point been in the care of, looked after or under a Supervision Order to the local authority in the following areas for a minimum of six months:
County Durham, Darlington, Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Gateshead, South Tyneside or Sunderland.
Young people under 25 who are or have been in the care of County Durham and Darlington, Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Gateshead, South Tyneside or Sunderland Local Authorities for at least six months.
Grants of up to £1,000 per person to support educational and training activities. These include: educational or tuition (including university) fees, study aids or equipment; bursaries to participate at a regional, national or international level in your chosen field; driving or motorbike lessons where you can prove either an extensive interest in car or motorbike mechanics or have been offered employment for which you will need a driving licence.
Application forms are available to download from the website or by calling the office. The application must be completed by the individual applying for the grant. If this is not possible, please ask someone else to help you e.g. your social worker or carer.
Rolling programme – no deadlines.
Receipt of applications is not acknowledged, though applicants are welcome to call the office to make sure we have received their forms. Applicants will be contacted by phone during the assessment process.
Please complete the form fully, particularly the budget section.
Apply toCounty Durham Community Foundation
Victoria House, Whitfield Court
St John's Road
0191 378 6340
Organisation(The) Duke of Edinburgh's Award
Name of grant/loanDofE Aldo Trust Bursary
Maximum decision time2 months
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: Up to 140
Any young person in the secure estate (up to the age of 25) who is in need and who has enrolled either inside or outside of prison on the DofE Programme.
Specialist clothing, materials and/or equipment needed to take part in the DofE programme. Also contribution towards cost of starting DofE programme.
Only the above is funded.
By letter - from the young person, and from a DofE Leader endorsing the applicant's requirement.
Unsuccessful requests will be acknowledged.
If the application is successful then we do ask for a case study on the individual or group the equipment was awarded to.
Apply toMs Abigail Saunders
The greatest thing I’ve got from the Award is confidence and recognition. It helps you keep focused on keeping out of trouble, but it’s not a free ride. You have to work hard for every piece of encouragement and, ultimately, every Award.”
Name of grant/loanFamily Action’s Grant Programmes
Maximum decision time1 month
Grants are primarily targeted at families and individuals with low incomes, particularly those living on benefits. This may include ex-offenders. A typical grant ranges from £200 - £300 in value. To find out whether you are eligible to apply for a grant from Family Action please visit the website for current eligibilty criteria.
Education and welfare needs.
Full details available on the website.
Full details of the application process are available on the website. Applications must be submitted, online, by a professional who knows the applicant.
Full details available on the website.
We regret we are unable to respond to postal enquiries. All online applications receive an email response acknowledging receipt and containing further details about the application process.
Please note we only consider one application per individual in any 12 month period.
Apply toGrants Service
24 Angel Gate
OrganisationFrank Longford Charitable Trust (Longford Trust)
Name of grant/loanLongford Scholarships
Anyone wanting to study for a degree who has left prison within the past five years plus those who are soon to be released. Must have a conditional offer from a university. Specific emphasis on young prisoners and those whose qualifications will lead to jobs that may enable them to help other offenders on the path of rehabilitation.
Financial support up to £5,000 per annum for UK higher education courses for up to three years, but most awards for considerably less.
Anything other than higher education degrees.
Must be made on application form available on trust's website or obtainable from its offices. Applicants can fill it out online, or a hardcopy can be printed off the website then sent by mail.
There is only one round of awards per year. Closing date for applications is at the start of June for courses starting in or after the following September (including Open University).
Queries about guidelines answered, but please read the guidelines fully before sending in full application.
The Trust also offers Frank Awards to serving prisoners who are struggling to fund full Open University (OU) modules. The scheme is run in partnership with the Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) and awards are made twice a year – in January and September. Application details are on the Trust's website, or via PET or the OU co-ordinator in each prison.
Apply toThe Director
PO Box 64302
0207 625 1097 (Office) 07475 057557 (Scholarship Manager)
OrganisationFutures for Women
Maximum decision time4 months
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: Up to 10
Women, including women prisoners, who have been resident in the UK for at least three years and are at that stage in their sentences where they can take a degree course on day release, or women about to be released who are planning for post-release higher education, in a particular postgraduate course.
An interest-free loan of circa £1,000 to be used for course fees. Loan repayments must start within 3 months of the grantee securing employment. The loan can be repaid over a maximum period of 2 years.
Write to Futures for Women asking for an application form or ask someone to download it from their website. Before a loan can be considered you will need to attend an interview in Central London. However in special circumstances interviews can take place via telephone or Skype. All applications received by the Society are considered most carefully. However, the annual demand far exceeds the Society's available funds, so the completion of an application form does not guarantee the granting of a loan.
There are three meetings a year to consider loan applications held in March, June and November. The closing date for each application round is listed on the "Apply" page of the FfW website.
All applications received via email will be acknowledged. All postal applications will be acknowledged if an email address is supplied. All unsuccessful applicants will be contacted if an email address has been supplied.
Apply toJane Hampson, Secretary
Futures for Women
11 Church Street
I am pleased to say that I am now a Trainee Solicitor with a firm in Plymouth and am due to qualify in April 2017.
Organisation(The) Hardman Trust
Name of grant/loanHardman Award
Maximum decision time3 months
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of awards made in a year: 120
Prisoners in the latter stages of long sentences who have made exceptional efforts towards their personal rehabilitation. Specifically, (i) Cat D male prisoners who are lifers, serving an IPP sentence or serving a fixed-term sentence of 10 years or more; (ii) Cat D male prisoners sentenced before the age of 21, serving a sentence of 7 years or more and (iii) female prisoners serving sentences of 7 years or more and who are within 2 years of their EDR.
A wide variety of purposes (educational in the broadest sense) that will assist the applicant’s rehabilitation. Awards are generally between £200 and £600 in value.
Driving lessons for car or motorbike, clothing (unless specialist), furniture, medical expenses, laptops unless endorsed by the Governor or are to be bought and used post-release, undergraduate or vocational courses or business start-ups that may be funded via a government agency loan.
Ask a staff member to download the application form from the website and follow the instructions on the form. Prior to the selection meeting, eligible candidates are interviewed by an assessor.
Completed application forms are received, January and February for the April selection and in July and August for the October selection meeting. For the schedule of important dates, see the Trust's website.
Soon after the Trustees have made their decision, all candidates are informed, whether or not they have been made an award.
Apply toThe Secretary
The Hardman Trust
PO Box 108
Isle of Wight
This award has given me the opportunity to gain paid work in the community whilst entering my final year in custody."
OrganisationOpen University - Crowther Fund
Name of grant/loanCrowther Award
Only Open University graduates. The Board gives priority to those who have obtained a good honours degree (first class or upper second class honours degree) and, in particular, those from a deprived educational background are prioritised.
Study or further education; formal supervised research proposals; projects which are either concerned with the community or an extension of studies already undertaken as an Open University student, or activities which are being undertaken or in which the graduate has been invited to participate because of his/her OU studies; other activities such as study tours, special tuition, 'masterclasses', and personal lines of study Awards from the Crowther Fund are intended primarily to assist in meeting expenses such as tuition and travel costs. Awards are considered up to a maximum of £1,000 but most awards are considerably less than this. Applications for large sums of money to support fulltime study are less likely to be successful than applications for more moderate sums to support part-time study. Studies can be undertaken at the Open University or any other suitable institution.
The Crowther Fund is not a fund to relieve financial hardship. Awards are not made to assist applicants towards the cost of Open University undergraduate study.
Please complete the application form electronically and email it to The Secretary at OU-Crowtherfirstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can download and print a hard copy application form to complete and send to: The Crowther Team, PO Box 6055, Milton Keynes, MK10 1NH. If you have any queries, you can contact the Crowther Fund team by using the same email address.
Applications for the Crowther Fund will be available from 1st November 2017. Further information and an application form are available at the bottom of the following webpage: http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/fees-and-funding
The closing date for applications is 28th February 2018. The Award Board meeting will take place in April and applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application in May. Guidance notes, which applicants are asked to read carefully, are also available on this webpage.
The demand on the Crowther Fund considerably exceeds the resources available each year. The Board consequently has to be very selective. Proposals which relate to a change of career are encouraged.
Apply toThe Secretary
Organisation(The) Prince's Trust
Name of grant/loanDevelopment Awards
You may be eligible if you are a UK resident and are: aged 14-17, and do not have/are not expecting to achieve 5 GCSEs grades A-C (or equivalent), or aged 17-25 and unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week, or in education fewer than 14 hours a week.
Prince’s Trust Development Awards can help to cover costs such as: course fees, transport or equipment to help you achieve your plan to get into education, training or employment. Some examples of what Development Awards can be used to fund are: tools or equipment for a job or qualification e.g. hairdressing kit, carpentry tools, chef whites; course fees; interview clothes; license fees e.g. CSCS card (construction) or SIA license (security); childcare costs to help single parents access short term education; transport to a new job until first pay cheque.
Costs over £500; living expenses e.g. rent or bills; costs for things that have already been paid for; gap year or overseas projects; community projects; medical treatment; fees for courses higher than Level 3, e.g. NVQ Level 4, HNC, HND, degree or post-grad courses; business start ups.
If you meet our criteria, all you need to do is get in touch and tell us a bit about yourself and how the award would be used. If you are eligible, you’ll be invited to discuss making an application before a final decision is made. The whole process can take up to six weeks,
Awards can take up to 6 weeks to process so applications should be made well before the award is needed.
Someone from The Prince’s Trust will be in touch within five working days of an enquiry being made.
The award is to help young people get their lives back on track and is most relevant to prisoners pre-release and those in the community.
A Prince’s Trust volunteer or staff member can also support you in setting goals, making decisions and finding other support.
Apply toCall free on:
or text ‘call me’ to 07983 385418 or get in touch by leaving a few details on www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/get-in-touch
OrganisationProfessionals Aid Council
Prisoners who hold a university degree or equivalent (level 6 or above).
Grants for further education, normally £300–£500, to help with tuition fees, text books or production of a thesis.
In the first instance, a letter to the Professionals Aid Council outlining the applicant’s university education or professional background; estimated income/expenses for the course and year concerned; details of the specific request; and any other funds approached. If the prisoner is deemed to fulfil the criteria, he/she will be sent an application form to complete and return. An endorsement will be required in the form of an academic reference from the course tutor and/or authorised person from the prison Education Department. The PAC Education Committee meets regularly throughout the year and each applicant’s needs are considered individually.
May apply any time during the year.
All correspondence is acknowledged.
Apply toProfessionals Aid Council
Professionals Aid Council
10 St Christopher's Place
0207 935 0641
OrganisationRoyal London Society
Name of grant/loanEaST Grants (Employment & Skill Training and Tools of Trade)
London and the South East.
Prisoners serving in London or South East prisons or prisoners intending to live in London or the South East on release or ex-offenders living in London or the South East, supervised by the Probation Service.
Grants to be used for Vocational, Employment and Skill Training that will significantly increase or secure employment opportunities. “Tools of Trade” and “Travel to Work” grants are considered where appropriate; some grants are of a therapeutic nature.
Accommodation costs including rent or deposits, debts, loans or fines of any kind, household/domestic items, computer equipment unless employment related, driving lessons unless employment related, personal clothing unless employment related, Open University or distance learning unless employment related.
Application forms together with current guidelines and timetables are available as a download via the Royal London Society web site. Completed applications must also include letters of reference from an independent person(s) in the prison, i.e. Wing Officer or Personal Officer and also be supported by Education/Resettlement Teams. Applications from those not in prison must be supported by Probation/Supervisory Officers or other community agencies.
There are five trustee meetings a year however grant applications are considered on a rolling basis.
All applications are acknowledged and given a confidential reference number which should be quoted in subsequent correspondence and/or telephone contacts. All applicants are notified of the outcome of their application.
Apply toGrant Administrator
Royal London Society
PO Box 1335
01622 230 737
OrganisationRuth Hayman Trust
Adults (including prisoners) who have come to settle in the UK and who do not speak English as their first language. (Not overseas students who are studying in UK)
Up to £500 (grants given are often much less) for registration, course and exam fees which you have to pay yourself and sometimes books, equipment or the costs of joining professional bodies.
Accommodation and living expenses, childcare, travel (except for disabled).
Send for an application form to the address below or download one from the website. Complete and return the form along with an academic reference from a member of the Education Staff, to the Honorary Secretary at the address below. We also accept online applications with a reference by post or e-mail. Please be sure to read our Guidelines for Applicants.
Five per year; next date given on website.
No acknowledgement except for successful applications.
Apply toThe Honorary Secretary
Ruth Hayman Trust
PO Box 17685
OrganisationScotsCare, the Charity for Scots in London
Anywhere up to 35 miles away from Charing Cross in Central London.
Prison Support Staff or Probation Officers on behalf of prisoners or ex-offenders who are Scottish or the child of a Scottish person and currently living within 35 miles of Charing Cross. Clients can also self-refer.
Training that leads to employment or the possibility of employment, clothing for job interviews, household goods, student grants, funds for any other purpose can be discussed with the duty worker.
You may apply direct or via a referral from your support worker. It is probably best to ring the freephone number below to check for your eligibility and on how to follow through the application process.
The average length of time between application and a decision regarding a grant at ScotsCare is 10-15 days.
22 City Road
020 7240 3718 or freephone 0800 652 2989
It (the grant) is an offer that is freely given, no strings attached: a genuine desire to help you get out of the situation you have unfortunately found yourself in.
OrganisationSheriffs' and Recorder's Fund
Apply toThe Adminstrator
Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund
Central Criminal Court
0207 248 3277 (Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10.30am - 5pm).
OrganisationSir John and Lady Heathcoat Amory's Charitable Trust
HMP/YOI Portland only.
Prisoners at HMP/YOI Portland.
Small grants usually not more than £50, to help with educational courses or equipment.
By letter to the address below.
The trust formerly provided small grants to prisoners at HMP The Verne.
Apply toLady Amory
Sir John and Lady Heathcoat Amory's Charitable Trust
OrganisationSir Richard Stapley Educational Trust
Graduates who hold first or a second class degree.
Study toward a postgraduate degree in any field.
The Trust will make £1,500 available in October through the Open University's Offender Learning Programme.
London, Reading, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Probation or another referral agency on behalf of women in need of suitable clothing for interview, including women offenders and ex-offenders in prison or living in or close to London, Reading, Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh or who are willing and able to travel to these cities.
Suitable clothes for interview.
Via partner organisations such as job centres, job training programmes or for example via the job club at HMP East Sutton Park. For the contact information for Smart Works in West London, Reading, Manchester and Edinburgh, please visit our website.
Each appointment is by referral only via an employment advisor or JCP.
The appointment needs to be made at the point where there is a confirmed job interview.
We provide a one-to-one styling appointment where we fit and dress women. After the dressing part we then provide interview training. Everything that we provide is free.
Apply toSmart Works
Smart Works - North London
89 Shepperton Road
0207 288 1770
I would like to say a big thank you to all the staff. You have all been terrific. Without your help I probably wouldn’t have got my job which is my future."
OrganisationThe Royal British Legion (TRBL)
Maximum decision time3 months
Any prisoner or ex-offender who has received seven day's pay through service in the Armed Forces, including Reserves and their families/dependants. 'Dependants' can include children, spouses and partners, including widows or widowers. Other dependants also include relatives and cohabiters of a beneficiary or those dependent on them.
'Dependants' can include children, spouses and partners, including widows or widowers. Other dependants also include relatives and cohabiters of a beneficiary or those dependent on them.
Immediate needs grants to help with essentials such food, clothing, furniture, in times of need and where statutory resources are not available).Employment Support Grants if within two years of release. Please see website for further information.
There are some forms of assistance that the Legion is not able to provide. These are:
• Where state assistance or statutory services are available (although exceptions can be made in some circumstances, particularly where the client’s welfare is at risk);
• Legal expenses, such as court costs and solicitors’ fees;
• Medical care, exceptions can be made for dental charges or optician costs in some circumstances.
Please get in touch via the Legion Contact Centre, the Legion website or by email. If you are unable to get in touch, any professional or agency supporting you can make a referral on your behalf or speak to us about how our support may add value or help.
Spouses/partners of prisoners must make contact directly themsleves via the contact centre, email or via live webchat.
All year round
It is TRBL’s aim to acknowledge correspondence within 5 working days wherever possible.
Support and advice is also available for the spouses/partners and dependents of ex-service personnel and for imprisoned widow(er)s, divorced or separated spouses of ex-service personnel. They can contact the Legion directly via the contact centre, email or live webchat.
Please note we cannot contact spouses/partners at the request of a third party ( e.g the husband) they must contact us directly themselves.
Apply toThe Royal British Legion
199 Borough High Street
0808 802 8080 (Freephone)
OrganisationThe Salvation Army
Any prisoner who can complete a course of Christian studies while in custody.
Small grants up to £100 per person, for any course in the field of Christian studies.
Anything other than the above.
There is no application form. A letter to the Prison Ministries Officer is required. Funds are paid directly to the education provider.
All correspondence is acknowledged in writing.
The Salvation Army while primarily a Christian Church also exists as a registered charity. The Salvation Army is based in many towns across Britain and is available to offer support and advice to people in need.
Apply toPrison Ministries Officer
The Salvation Army
101 Newington Causeway
I would like to offer my considerable thanks for your kindness in assisting me in this manner. It has come at a time of considerable pressure for me, both emotionally and financially...”
OrganisationThe Sidney Perry Foundation
The Foundation aims primarily at helping non Open University first-degree students under the age of 35 when their course commences.
Grants are intended to be supplementary, the maximum grant being £1000. The majority of funding required should have been obtained from other sources. Shortfalls of more than £3000 will not be considered. Distance learning, correspondence, part-time and short-term courses may be considered according to circumstances.
Because of our limited resources we are unable to assist students within the following categories:- Second-degree courses where the grade in the first is lower than 2:1 save in exceptional circumstances. Second degree courses/other postgraduate study unrelated to the first unless they are a necessary part of professional training (e.g. medicine, dentistry). Emergency funding or clearance of existing debts. Students over the age of 35 years when their course of study commences save in exceptional circumstances. "A" levels and GSCE examinations. Except in exceptional circumstances students on Access, ESOL, HNC, HND, BTEC, GNVQ and NVQ levels 1-4, those with LEA/SAAS funding.
You are advised not to apply until you have a confirmed college placement and a full understanding of the total costs involved. Please ensure you enclose: completed application form (which can be downloaded from the website); proof of college/university offer; your personal statement; names and addresses of 2 referees (one of which should supply the academic reference); an original signed academic reference (on official paper); a statement by a person recommending you for a grant (see application form); an SAE.
Grants are based on the academic year and applications should arrive before November of the year before.
Students will be notified by post regarding the Governors' decision and no further correspondence can be undertaken regarding refusal. Enclosure of a self addressed envelope would be appreciated.
Only 1 in 20 applications obtains an award.
Apply toThe Secretary
The Sidney Perry Foundation
PO Box 889
I just wanted to say the hugest thank you for your help and support with my fees."
Name of grant/loanElizabeth Finn Fund
To apply you must: have less than £4,000 in savings (€5,000); be on a low income or claiming benefits; have British or Irish nationality or you have lived in the UK or Ireland for at least half of the year; have worked in one of our listed professions or have a partner/ex-partner who has done so. We also help people who have run their own business with employed staff or have earned a living from the arts. Please note we seek documentary evidence that you have worked in one of our qualifying occupations.*
The Elizabeth Finn Fund is part of Turn2us. We provide one-off and recurring grants for people who are British or Irish and have a professional or similar background or connection, and their dependants. EFF may provide money for a wide range of purposes.
The Elizabeth Finn Fund does not give educational grants to undergraduate or postgraduate students.
The simplest way to find the page on the Fund is to google Elizabeth Finn Fund and click on the link google provides. Once you are on the page and have checked again that you are eligible to apply according to the criteria presented on the page, you will find a link that enables you to make an online enquiry. Once you have submitted this, Elizabeth Finn Fund will notify you how to proceed.
Please note: EFF receives a large number of enquiries which take some time to process. All enquiries do receive a reply, whether we can help or not, but we may take some time (several weeks) to process enquiries and respond.
*Qualifying occupations require a higher-level qualification and/or level of responsibility or knowledge, such as middle management or above in all fields, dentists, lawyers, vets, social workers, teachers, nurses, accountants, engineers, librarians, teachers, professional artists or writers, farmers or farm managers, commissioned military officers. Elizabeth Finn Fund is part of Turn2us, a free online database that provides a benefits check and grants search tool as well as other information for people struggling on a limited income.
Apply toElizabeth Finn Fund
Shepherd's Bush Road
0808 802 2000
OrganisationWomen in Prison (WIP)
Name of grant/loanNOMS Educational and Additional Course Material Bursary
Maximum decision time2 months
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: 100+
Anyone who has been sentenced and is in a female prison. You will need to have Level 2 Literacy, be UK based on release and have at LEAST 6-9 months left to serve. If you wish to do a numercial course (i.e. Accountancy) you will also need Level 2 Numeracy. You can of course enquire and get advice and support about courses and grants if you do not fit the criteria above yet.
You can apply for circa £280 towards distance learning course fees or college fees if you are studying in the community on ROTL. You can also apply for £125 for funding for additional materials i.e. work equipment, books, dictionaries, whether in prison or in the community.
Courses that are offered by the prison education department; degrees.
Women may self-refer to WIP by letter, telephone or during WIP visits to the prison to ask for information about courses and to get application packs. The application once completed will be processed by the prison and if approved it will be sent to WIP for assessment. Referrals can also be made by outside agencies and prison staff. We aim to assess applications within a month of receiving them.
The grant is available all year.
We aim to inform applicants within a month.
In addition to funding, WIP offers a variety of other services to women prisoners including resettlement advice and support and a national magazine for women prisoners.
Apply toWomen in Prison Ltd.
Women in Prison
2nd Floor Elmfield House
5 Stockwell Mews
0207 359 6674
WIP not only provided me with funding but also empowered me to find the confidence to continue my studies.
Arts in criminal justice
The arts are practised within the Criminal Justice System in many different ways. They take place in education classes within the prison system, via innovative voluntary sector organisations, and self-practiced with extraordinary results. Arts and creativity in criminal justice settings can support improved wellbeing, awaken an interest in learning and can help people build new positive identities. Engaging in the arts can also lead to new skills and employment opportunities as well as equipping participants with a desire to actively engage in their community and culture.
Theatre, music, dance, visual art, and creative writing have a long tradition of successfully empowering offenders and ex-offenders to turn their lives around and to help prevent reoffending, something which has been acknowledged by the government (Making Prisons Work, Skills For Rehabilitation , Department for Business Innovation & Skills and Ministry of Justice). Here’s what Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons says about the impact of arts in prison:
“We all know from our personal experience how participating in or creating art has the possibility to change how we see the world and our place in it. This is true for prisoners too – and I have seen how great arts projects in prisons can play a crucial role in helping prisoners see a new crime-free future for themselves.”
This introduction was written by The National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice and is presented here with their kind permission. Please note that the Alliance does not offer grants to individuals. For more information on The National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice, see: https://www.artsincriminaljustice.org.uk
Name of grant/loanKoestler Awards
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of awards made in a year: Over 2,300
Anyone held in a United Kingdom prison, young offenders' institution, secure children’s home, special hospital, high security psychiatric hospital or immigration removal centre; any client of the probation service, a youth offending team or the Scottish youth justice social work services; any UK citizen held in a prison overseas. People may enter individually or as a group.
The Koestler Awards are given once a year for original work in 60 art forms, including creative writing, drawing, fashion, graphic design, music, painting, photography and woodwork. Around 35% of the awards carry cash prizes from £20 - £100 which is paid into the ‘private cash’ of prisoners. The prize money totals about £30,000 a year. The Trust also offers to sell visual artwork on behalf of offenders.
Each applicant may send up to five entries to the Koestler Arts Centre at the address below. Every artwork must come with a Koestler entry form for the current year, countersigned by an authorised member of staff. The Trust sends entry forms to Education Departments in all establishments every December. The forms may also be downloaded from the Trust’s website or requested by post, phone or email.
December: entry forms available. April: deadline for entries. June: judging of entries. October: certificates and prize money sent out. December: money from sales sent out.
Response to all letters within a month, usually sooner.
The awards were founded in 1962 by the writer Arthur Koestler. They now attract in the region of 7,000 entries a year. The best visual works are shown at exhibitions in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Newcastle. Awards entrants may also apply for a Koestler mentor to support them to develop their arts practice.
Apply toThe Koestler Trust
168a Du Cane Road
0208 740 0333
I have received with much pleasure the certificates, judges’ comments and cheque from the Koestler Trust…
OrganisationArts Council England
Apply toThe regional office (as shown on the website) for the region in which you are based.
0845 300 6200
OrganisationArts Council of Northern Ireland
Artists, performers, writers, arts organisations, community and voluntary group, local authorities. The applicant must be able to demonstrate their willingness and ability to contribute to the creative and cultural life of Northern Ireland.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland will fund materials, equipment, project related costs and core organisational costs where appropriate, dependent upon the programme requirements. Applications should demonstrate the artistic merit of the proposal.
Activities that are not directly arts-related or do not enhance the artistic and cultural life of Northern Ireland. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland does not fund art students for activities related to their course of study or tuition fees. Some costs associated with the artists’ project may also be deemed ineligible.
The information is available from the Arts Council website in the Funding Section. The information is sub-categorised into ‘Funding for Individuals’ and 'Funding for Organisations'. Guidance notes are available for each of the programmes and applicants are encouraged to read those before submitting an application for funding. Arts Council personnel are also on hand to assist with applications.
The Arts Council administers a number of funding programme which are open for applications at different points in the year. The 'Support for the Individual Artist' Programme is generally open for applications in June/July.
All applications are acknowledged.
Apply toArts Council of Northern Ireland
1 The Sidings
028 9262 3555
OrganisationArts Council of Wales
Creative professionals can apply to this scheme. By this we mean individuals working at a professional level in the arts in Wales. It includes curators and producers and individuals who define themselves as artists across all artforms. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a strong track record of presenting or facilitating high quality work to audiences.
Projects that demonstrates a clear benefit, whether to your artistic career, to the wider arts sector or to the public in Wales. Activity must predominantly take place in Wales; it must be time-limited and additional to your usual professional practice. At least 10% of your budget should come from other (non-Lottery) sources.
Activities that are not related to the arts; prizes, merchandise, catering, gifts, fireworks, competitive events or purely promotional events; participation projects or to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults; costs for any activity that has already taken place, or any costs that you have paid or agreed to pay; full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate courses in further or higher education institutions; individual tuition, lessons or vocational training.
All the information you’ll need to decide whether this funding is right for you is available on the Arts Council of Wales website. Click ‘Apply for funding’ on our homepage and follow the links for Creative Professionals to access this information. You can contact the Information Team to discuss potential projects. Applications can be made online through the website.
Applications for Small Grants (£5,000 and under) can be made at any time. There are four deadlines for Large Grant applications (£5,001 and over) each year. Please check our website for upcoming deadlines.
All applications are acknowledged.
Apply toArts Council of Wales, (via the website). Information and advice is available from the Information Team:
0845 8734 900
Our Funding Programmes are open to either individual artists and creative people, groups such as arts organisations and cultural agencies, or a mixture of both.
For individuals, the main route to funding through Creative Scotland is through our Open Project Fund. This fund supports a wide range of projects and activity including:
• Projects that develop skills or artistic practice,
• Projects that create something new and of high quality,
• Projects which either present work to audiences, or which try to develop and reach new audiences (including those hard to reach),
• Projects which encourage more people to get involved in artistic and creative activity.
Support is available for activity and projects of different size, scale and duration – and for up to 2 years in duration.
If you are considering making an application to one of our funds, we would encourage you first to check the specific guidelines that give further details and state exclusions.
By submitting an application form. All forms are available from the Creative Scotland website. If you want to clarify whether your project fits within Creative Scotland eligibility, or get some general advice, please contact the Creative Scotland Enquiries Service. You can do this by phone, email or through the Creative Scotland website.
Each of our funding programmes has specific information about deadlines and timescales for applications. For the Open Project Fund applications can be made at any time throughout the year and there are no deadlines.
All enquiries and applications are acknowledged. For more information go to www.creativescotland.com/servicestandards
To read more about Creative Scotland’s work supporting activity in the criminal justice sector, see
Creating Change – www.creativescotland.com/creatingchange
Working in Prisons – www.creativescotland.com/prisonguide
Apply toCreative Scotland Enquiry Service
0845 603 6000 email@example.com
OrganisationBurnbake Trust Prison Art Project
Anyone who is currently detained within the prison service or under the supervision of the probation service.
Small grants are available for Art and Craft materials. No more than one application to be considered from a candidate each year.
Anything that is not art related. We will assess all applications individually.
Apply in writing and if an individual is likely to be eligible an application form will be sent.
May apply any time during the year.
All letters are answered. We aim to answer letters within four weeks and will let candidates know of the outcome of their application.
Grant applications must be supported by the Prison Education Manager or a Probation Officer. All the information on the applications must be filled in and an official stamp is required before any application is put forward for consideration.
Apply toEva Hogendoorn
29 North Street
01722 744178 (Friday between 08.00 and 15.00; Saturday between 09.00 and 12.00)
I would like to thank you and the Trust for all the support you have given me. Art has changed my outlook on life and I have for the first time in my life realised that I can actually “achieve” something. Thank you for giving me confidence and making me aware of my self worth.”
Organisation(The) Matthew Trust
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: around 10
Prisoners with mental illness. A few grants are made to prisoners each year.
A grant of around £20 for hobby materials.
Write in with details and reason for grant along with an endorsement on headed paper from a health professional.
Apply toMrs Annabel Thompson
The Matthew Trust
PO Box 604
0207 736 5976
I've been in the Healthcare unit for 6 weeks , as I became quite unwell and as soon as I received my art materials, from the £20 you sent me, I used some to make some decorations for Christmas, because they only had a Xmas tree. I quite enjoyed it, keeping busy and creative, after all it's the time to share. I thank you once again for your help."
There is much to consider before deciding to commit time and energy to become self-employed.
Before it merged with the Learning and Work Institute, NIACE produced a resource entitled, “Let’s Talk about Self-Employment”. This can still be accessed by visiting the following web page: www.niace.org.uk/current-work/
The Citizens Advice Bureau provides some useful information along with further links to other resources. Click on CAB’s Advice Guide http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/work_e/ and scroll half way down the page to the sub-heading, ‘Help setting up in self-employment’.
You may be able to tap into support to develop your business idea whilst still in prison. Examples of business course providers include:
www.learndirect.co.uk Tel: 0800 101 901
www.icslearn.co.uk Tel: 0800 115 0527
www.stonebridge.uk.com Tel: 0845 230 6880
Some education departments offer accredited business courses that it may be useful to attend.
An organisation not listed that may be worth approaching is:
Unltd - https://unltd.org.uk/about_unltd/ (for support in starting up a social enterprise)
Where can I find a grant?
“Local Business Links are usually a good source of information about any publicly-funded grants currently on offer in your neighbourhood. For example, grants are sometimes available for doing-up premises or improving shop displays, particularly in regeneration areas. The geographic area in which such grants are available is often very precisely defined.
If you are involved in the agricultural sector or certain types of rural business a complex system of financial incentives and schemes applies. This is the most heavily grant-aided part of the economy, but as usual strings are attached and finding your way to the money can be difficult.
The best place to start is Defra itself: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs
Internet search sites can help find a wide range of public, private and charitable initiatives. Apart from Google, there are some specialised funding search sites you can try.
Grantnet is one of three similar services for finding UK grants online. They provide a basic service free, and often have contracts with local authorities or regional development agencies to provide an enhanced service in a particular area.
Be cautious about web sites (or firms) that say there is a myriad of unclaimed government grants out there and that then offer to find you one for a fee. Don’t pay until they get you the money!
In the UK the key source of revenue for businesses is overwhelmingly customers, during the start-up period as well as later. This after all is what distinguishes a business from a charity or public sector body. Businesses requiring more money to get going than early customers, friends, family and the entrepreneurs’ own resources can provide, have two other options:
They can seek a business loan from a bank or quasi-bank institution, or find an investor willing to put money into the business, usually in return for an equity stake.
Chasing for unlikely grants can be a distraction from putting together a strong offering that will prompt customers to voluntarily hand over money to you in return for your product or service.
Note also that your early customers will bring not just money when you most need it, but quite possibly also valuable information you can use to help guide your business. This feedback from real paying customers is something officials at a government agency or grant-giving charitable trust will be hard-pressed to match.”
Extract from a 2008 article which may still in large part be relevant. The article was entitled, 'Business grants - myth and reality' and is reproduced by kind permission of Prime.
OrganisationStart Up Loans
Name of grant/loanStart Up Loans
Anyone aged over 18 at the time of registration and living in the UK, is eligible to apply for a loan. You must have an acceptable business idea and want to use the loan monies to support this venture. You may have already started your business, but you cannot have been trading for more than 24 months. You must have the legal right to remain in the UK for the duration of your loan term and the right to be self-employed.
Every loan application is considered according to the needs of your business, with an average loan size of around £6,000. The final loan size will be determined by your business plan. Only one Start Up Loan can be granted per person at any one time, but second loans are possible as long as the total amount of all loans is not more than £25,000. However more than one person in a company can be eligible for a loan. You are required to pay back the loan within 1-5 years, however the exact term of the loan will be agreed with your Delivery Partner as part of your application process. The Start Up Loan is not a grant. A grant is a non-repayable fund provided by an individual or an organisation for a particular purpose, often awarded to non-profit entities as well as business. However, a Start Up Loan must be repaid in full with fixed 6% interest p.a.
If you have a viable business idea and access to the internet, visit www.startuploans.co.uk and complete the quick registration form. If you are eligible, your details will be given to a delivery partner who will contact you. Your delivery partner will help you with your personal loan application and assess your business plan and cash flow. You will then be ready to submit your application.
Start Up Loans is a government-funded scheme to provide advice, business loans and mentoring to start up businesses. If you are reading this online, to read an inspirational story of someone who after he was released from prison, started up a business with the help of Start Up Loans, click here: https://www.startuploans.co.uk/success-stories/panama-joes/
Start Up Loans do not take any form of commission or ask for money from applicants as a form of payment. We do not require any security from applicants to offer against their loans, and would not partner with companies who would do any of the aforementioned actions.
Name of grant/loanBusiness start-up microloan
Maximum decision time2 months
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of loans made in a year: 3
Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol & Bath, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire.
Ex-offenders with a business idea who will be setting up a business in any of the areas covered and who have been declined a loan by a mainstream lender.
Funds to cover expenses required to set-up a business provided in the form of a business loan to be repaid within a period of one to three years.
Training and funding for certain ineligible types of business.
Applications can only be considered after you have been released and are settled in an area we support. Applications can only be made online and a list of requirements is available from the website: www.fredericksfoundation.org
Applicants will be asked to submit a business plan, a cashflow forecast and other documentation as specified. We also ask for permission to contact the applicants Probation Officer.
Maximum loan: £10,000 (average loan size: £3,500); interest rate: on application.
Apply toFredericks Foundation
39 Guildford Road
The ongoing support I still receive from Fredericks is vital to the continuing success of my business. The entire experience was brilliant, an excellent online portal - Thank you so much."
Name of grant/loanStart Up Loan or Community Development Finance Initiative.
Principally North East England
Any person who has been turned down by mainstream finance.
Unsecured business loans £100 - £7,500. (Normally c.£2500) Fixed interest rate currently from 6% repayable up to 5 years. Loans can be for capital, revenue/running expenses.
Download an application form from our website or call on 0191 492 8219 or 0191 492 8215 and we will provide an application form.
We offer a roll-on roll-off programme.
Email, letter or telephone.
In addition to our access to business finance programme we can provide a range of business and enterprise programmes helping create an awareness about working for oneself as a work option. This extends to enterprise coaching and mentoring through to business planning and business start-up. Some businesses we have recently assisted include shoe-shine, executive chauffeur, health-care provider, florist, builder, retailer, horticulture/gardening, caterer etc.
Apply toThe Pinetree Centre
0191 492 8219/15
Organisation(The) Prince's Trust
Name of grant/loanEnterprise Programme
OrganisationSir Thomas White Loan Charity
Leicestershire and Rutland only.
Any prisoner on the verge of release and any ex-offender in the UK who is over 18 and under 35 who wishes to set-up a business in Leicestershire or Rutland or undertake postgraduate study, who has a real need for loan charity funds and without which the project or study could not proceed.
Business loans up to £15,000, interest free for nine years. We also provide loans up to £6,000 interest free for graduates aged over 18 and under 35 who have lived in Leicestershire or Rutland for three years and who are studying/wanting to study for a higher degree.
Only the above qualify for loans.
Telephone us or visit our website for application details. You will need up to four guarantors for the loan, depending on the amount of the loan. Once completed, return the application form. An interview will be arranged with a small group of Trustees so you can explain why you require the loan. If you are successful you and your guarantors will sign a joint and several bond. There is a payment-free period of 3 years and then the loan must be repaid by equal monthly instalments over the remaining 6 years with no interest charged.
Interviews take place in February, May, August and November. Applications are required at least four weeks prior to the interview dates.
We aim to acknowledge all correspondence.
Some businesses we’ve recently assisted include: coffee house, florist, shoe retailer, costume designer, electrician, hairdresser, chiropodist, restaurant, plumber, accountant and landscape gardener.
Apply toMiss Barbara Amos
Sir Thomas White Loan Charity
Unit 5 Friars Mill
OrganisationThe Harry James Riddleston Charity of Leicester
Leicestershire and Rutland only.
Applicants must be over 21 and under the age of 35 and may be ex-offenders or prisoners within days of their release provided they have a home in Leicestershire or Rutland.
An interest free loan to help start-up a small business. Grants are not available.
Only if eligible according to the above criteria, contact the charity by visiting the 'Contact Us' page on our website.
Complete the registration form and add a short message saying that you would like to apply for a loan, then click 'submit'. The Administrator will send you a brochure and an application form.
We will always aim to respond.
Registered Charity no: 262787.
Apply toHarry James Riddleston Charity of Leicester
Via the 'Contact Us' page on our website. www.harryriddleston.org.uk/contact/
Homeless UK advertise the London-wide Winter Night Shelters list every November and fortunately some of these shelters do allow for self referrals. Quite a few of the hostels also last until the end of March.
Many hostels & supported accommodation providers now only accept referrals from preferred agencies rather than self referrals or 'any agency' referrals. These agencies vary. For example in London they can be the Street Outreach Teams, Social Services and the Probation Service. Other hostels’ referral criteria may prioritise homeless day centres or the local authority.
The Street Outreach Teams are the people working for charities such as Thames Reach who go around various streets of London looking for rough sleepers to encourage them to move into hostels. The Outreach teams will give people they have had more than one contact with a CHAIN (Combined Homeless & Information Network) number so that they will be registered on a London-wide database. In theory, anyone with a CHAIN number should be able to get into a hostel more easily as they have already been verified as a rough sleeper & their details will be known to potential supported accommodation providers. However, the reason many people continue to be homeless is that they may be barred from hostels they once stayed at. Reasons for the exclusions can vary from non-payment of service charge, rent arrears, non-engagement with key-workers, assaults on staff, etc. Another common factor is some economic migrants/refugees who may not be entitled to any benefits thus unable to claim Housing Benefit, which is essential to staying in hostels/supported accommodation. In addition, not all homeless people sleep in high-visibility areas due to fear of attack so they prefer car parks, cemeteries, public parks, etc – places where Outreach teams often will not go.
In London a number of boroughs have adopted a Pathway approach to making referrals for accommodation. Prison housing/resettlement teams can complete the Pathway’s referral forms and send these over and then the respective Pathway team should forward to suitable accommodation providers in their boroughs. Many boroughs require applicants to demonstrate a ‘local connection’. A local connection means the applicant has to prove that they have lived in the borough they are applying to for at least 6 months previously or have a family connection to that borough.
Day Centres & prison housing teams use a very helpful website run by Homeless UK to access information about hostels/support accommodation across the country by visiting their website http://www.homelessuk.org This is a very good resource for information on accommodation and also to find out about day centres, CABs and law centres.
The website gives the user information about what is available in which borough/county, how to make referrals, the criteria of the hostels and which type of offences will exclude people from applying to various accommodation, etc. Users can type in the borough in the search engine on this website and it will give you what is available. Some boroughs have more service provisions available than others.
There are several charities providing housing advice & assistance in prisons such as St Giles, Shelter, St Mungos-Broadway, Nacro and De Paul Trust. It may be assumed that prison housing workers from charities like St Mungos-Broadway should be able to refer directly into their own hostels however this is not always the case. The Pavement Magazine has a section for ex-offenders that can be viewed here:
If you are viewing this directory online, you may also find it helpful to visit these three resource pages provided by Shelter and by Housing Advice NI.
Homeless applications to the local authority
People leaving prison who are vulnerable due to old age, or who have physical/mental health issues can approach their local authority Homeless Persons Unit (HPU)/Housing Options. The HPU must carry out an assessment and make inquiries in accordance with the Housing Act 1996. If the local authority has reason to believe that the applicant may be eligible and in priority need, they have a duty to provide interim accommodation until a decision is made and the client is notified otherwise.
To be 'eligible for assistance' means that the applicant must be a British citizen and not be subject to any asylum/immigration controls, therefore they must have been granted permanent leave to remain in the UK. Proof of identity such as a birth certificate/passport will be needed.
The applicant will need a National Insurance number to be eligible to apply for public funds such as Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) & Housing Benefit. In Part 7of the Housing Act 1996, to be in 'priority need' refers to a person who has dependent children they normally reside with or to someone who is vulnerable due to old age, mental illness or a physical disability. A life-threatening illness such as HIV, Sickle Cell or Hepatitis C could also count as a physical disability. Evidence of a physical disability or mental illness will be required by providing a medical report from GP or similar. Most HPUs will not view an ex-offender as being in priority need simply because they have been released from prison, unless they are deemed vulnerable.
The key question which may be asked to decide if the person should be deemed vulnerable in this context is, 'Is the applicant more vulnerable than an ordinary person if made homeless?'
This means that an applicant must be less able to look after themselves when homeless, or less able to fend for him or herself in finding accommodation and more vulnerable than the average homeless person on the street.
The Code of Guidance (a policy document which local authorities should refer to for guidance), sets out relevant factors regarding institutional background, such as the length of time a person was in care, or in prison or in the armed forces & whether the applicant has been able to obtain and/or maintain accommodation during that period. Unless institutionalisation can be proved, most prisoners will not be housed by the HPU unless they have an additional priority need. What housing advisors find is that most local authorities will look at whether the client has made themselves 'intentionally homeless' and whether they have a local connection to that borough at the first point of contact. Intentionally homeless in this context refers to someone who previously had a tenancy who either abandoned their property, or were evicted for non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour. Prisoners often fall into this category of making themselves intentionally homeless for being absent from their home and usually unable to pay their rent, or evicted for breach of their tenancy conditions.
If a person manages to demonstrate that they are in priority need for housing in theory, the HPU should place the applicant into temporary accommodation such as a B&B, whilst enquiries are carried out to prove that the applicant is telling the truth. For those homeless people who are not found to be in priority need the HPU must advise and assist them with housing advice via their Housing Options Team. Everyone is entitled to a written decision known as a Section 184 letter from the HPU explaining why they were turned down and did not meet their criteria for housing.
A common rejection is a result of the applicant making him or her self intentionally homeless due to losing their accommodation by going to prison. If the client feels that the decision was wrong, it is advisable not to leave the HPU without a decision letter and approach a housing solicitor, Law Centre or CAB to challenge the decision. A client only has 21 days in which to appeal against the decision!
According to section 195A of the Localism Act, if a suitable offer of accommodation by the HPU is offered & refused, then the homelessness duty ceases. Under the term 'suitable', the council can now place people into Private Rented Sector (PRS) accommodation.
Private rented accommodation
As government funding for essential homeless accommodation is being reduced there will be more reliance on the private sector to pick up the shortfall. However, the government has also reduced and capped Housing Benefit allowance. The reduced rate of Housing Benefit applies now to under 35 year olds and some landlords are refusing to consider people under this age. There are two exceptions: If the applicant has spent at least 3 months in a hostel and/or they are a Level 2 or 3 MAPPA.
A person seeking to find private rented accommodation will need to find a deposit (usually equivalent to 4 or 6 weeks rent) and, in addition, will need to pay a month’s rent in advance.
Secondly, references from a previous landlord and/or employers will be required by letting agents. An offender may also have to face the issue of viewing properties and drawing the landlord’s attention to the fact that he or she is currently in or has just left prison.
There are Rent Deposit Schemes available but some of these have conditions attached. Some RDSs are aimed at former drug users but the applicants have to prove themselves clean in the community for three months upon release before being considered for accommodation. Some are run by local authorities but they often select their priority-need clients for these schemes and refuse non-priority clients.
Council Housing waiting lists
Anyone can apply to go on their local authority’s housing waiting list but be aware that the applicant may have a very long wait! Most councils advertise their accommodation, together with housing association accommodation, through websites like Choice Based Lettings in S.E. England. The applicant completes a housing waiting list application form and the council will contact the applicant with a reference number with the points awarded or, in some boroughs, the banding that the applicant has been placed in.
When the person is nearer to his or her release, he or she can then bid for voids via their website or through their magazine for the properties that they are allowed to bid for each week. The bidders with the highest number of points (or in the highest band) will get viewings of the empty properties bid for. It will be offered to the person/s with the highest points and if they refuse the offer it will go to the second and so on.
Some local authorities will refuse to put prisoners on their housing waiting list (or if they are already on the list they will suspend their account), until they are released from prison.
Support from charitable sources
There is support available to people who have served more than seven days in the British armed forces. The British Legion and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) are available to assist with rent deposits, purchasing household goods, floating support in the community and are well worth approaching for advice and assistance before you leave prison. http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/can-we-help and http://www.ssafa.org.uk/
For those who have not served in the armed forces it may be worth approaching one or two charities in this directory that may help fund accommodation to see if it is possible as a last resort to obtain a little additional help. St Martin in the Fields Vicar’s Relief Fund is an example of one charity that may be able to help in these circumstances.
Lee Humphries - Housing Caseworker
Name of grant/loanSmall Grants Programme
Families with children aged 18 or under who are living with parents or carers, estranged or orphaned vulnerable young people under the age of 21. We do not, however, provide grants to young people for whom there is already some form of statutory provision.
Buttle UK provides critical household items such as: gas or electric cookers (standard sized 50cm wide); fridge freezers (including separate under counter items); washing machines, particularly if there are disability or soiling issues; children's beds and bedding; clothing in an emergency situation; home grants; essential items for families or young people setting up home e.g. white goods, beds and bedding; kitchen equipment and other essential household items; baby equipment.
Carpeting or flooring; bedroom storage such as wardrobes and chest of drawers; payment of fuel/utility bills, council tax or rent; payment of loans or debts, bankruptcy fees or rent deposits; household repairs/adaptations/additions; holidays; school trips or play schemes; childcare/child-minding/afterschool clubs; children's toys/Christmas presents; specialist equipment; computers or televisions; travel costs or driving lessons.
Applications must be completed by an organisation which is supporting the family or young person. They should also be able to administer a grant on behalf of Buttle UK. We can accept applications from a wide variety of organisations including statutory or charitable organisations providing a health care, social care or advice service, Probation and Youth Offending, Tenancy Support, Education services including Primary and Secondary schools, NHS and Primary Care Trusts, Sure Start and Children’s Centres.
We operate a rolling programme with no cut-off date.
We will always acknowledge correspondence.
Buttle UK can award 10,000 small grants a year. It takes up to two weeks for an application to be reviewed.
Apply toOnline at www.buttleuk.org
020 7828 7311 (England); 01505 850437 (Scotland); 01633 440052 (Wales); 02890 641164 (Northern Ireland)
Name of grant/loanSupport for Estranged Young People
Young people (16 – 20 year old) who receive no support from parents or guardians. We refer to them as being ‘estranged’. Note: Applications must be completed by an organisation which is supporting the family or young person. This funding will help to address the needs of this group by providing help to overcome financial barriers preventing them from engaging in education, employment or training and also to help settle them in secure accommodation by helping them set up a comfortable home environment. This funding offers an ‘enhanced’ level of giving with a maximum spend of £2,000 per case.
Research shows that maintaining stable accommodation is a key factor in re-engaging young people with education, employment or training (JRF, 2008). Maintaining positive overall emotional and physical wellbeing are also key to their success. In recognition of these facts, part of our package of support can also include funding to establish a home and fund access to interests or activities that help promote a young person’s wellbeing. This could include, but again is not limited to, basic furnishings such as a bed, cooker, fridge or microwave, access to activities or groups.
Applications must be completed by an organisation which is supporting the family or young person. They should also be able to administer a grant on behalf of Buttle UK. We can accept applications from a wide variety of organisations including statutory or charitable organisations providing a health care, social care or advice service, Probation and Youth Offending, Tenancy Support, Education services including Primary and Secondary schools, NHS and Primary Care Trusts, Sure Start and Children’s Centres.
We operate a rolling programme with no cut-off date.
We will always acknowledge correspondence.
Firstly, the young person and their support worker will discuss what the young person’s education, employment or training goals are and create a plan of how they will get there and what they will need to do it. We will provide practical support to help remove financial barriers that stand in the way of reaching these goals. Such barriers could include, but are not limited to, access to a computer to study with, travel costs to get to college, equipment needed to take up a training opportunity or interview clothes.
Name of grant/loanThe Anchor Project
The Anchor Project has been set up to meet the needs of children and young people in affected families in any London borough, to help them recover from the trauma and upheaval they have experienced. These grants will be mainly targeted at families that have been forced to leave their homes due to domestic abuse and are at the rehousing or post-housing stages.
The grants, of up to £2,000 per family, will be needs-led and will focus on empowering children, young people and families to identify what they most need to make their transition to independent living a success. These holistic packages of support can be tailored to meet the physical, emotional and developmental needs of the child or young person. The grants can include a wide range of items or services provided they will have a significant impact on the child’s wellbeing. For example, this may include essential household items such as cookers and children’s beds or counselling and activities for children.
Applications must be completed by an organisation which is supporting the family or young person. They should also be able to administer a grant on behalf of Buttle UK. We can accept applications from a wide variety of organisations including statutory or charitable organisations providing a health care, social care or an advice service.
We operate a rolling programme with no cut-off date.
We will always acknowledge correspondence.
I could never have imagined how just being able to provide them with some ‘basic’ items has improved their understanding of one another and those around them."
OrganisationDavid Isaacs Fund
Inner London only
Probation officers, CAB advisors or Social Workers on behalf of men and women suffering financial hardship who come to the notice of a District Judge or Coroner, presiding at an Inner London or City of London Court.
Grants for furniture and domestic items, usually obtained from charity sources. Clothing from value-for-money stores such as Primark, Matalan, George at Asda. Tools, training courses and second-hand computers, which could lead to employment. Any applications over £400 have to go before the Grants Committee.
Via a Probation officer, CAB Advisor or Social worker who can contact the Secretary with a request for an application form. It is helpful if an estimate of individual costs is provided on the application form before it is submitted to a District Judge or Coroner.
Applicants will not be given cash, rather the organisation supporting the application will arrange payment to the supplier.
Apply toPeter Goodday Esq.
The David Isaacs Fund
Westminster Magistrates Court
179/181 Marylebone Road
Thanks for your generosity. I now have carpet in my bedroom and my front room for the first time in three years. I can’t convey how happy this has made me feel and how this has improved the quality of my life."
Name of grant/loanHardship Fund
The North East only
Social organisations such as National Probation or Citizens Advice on behalf of the person in need. The person (who may be an ex-offender) must live in the North East of England and be in extreme social need.
Grants of between £50-£150 given for essential items such as washing machines, cookers, furniture, fridges, carpets, baby equipment, clothing, school uniforms.
Payment of debts, rent bonds, computer equipment.
Applications should be made on behalf of a client by a welfare agency, for example social services, probation service, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, or health, disability and housing projects. The application form can be completed on our website.
Applications are assessed weekly and you can expect a response within two weeks of your application.
The Greggs Foundation aims to respond to all applications, successful or not. However, if you haven’t had a decision within three weeks of your application, get in touch with Greggs Foundation to check its progress.
We are hugely over-subscribed at present and have sufficient funds to award around half the requests we receive. We have identified three priorities to ensure our grants make the greatest difference. We are far more likely to support an application if it meets the priority criteria listed below. We prioritise (i) families over individuals (ii) the most financially excluded people (iii) items that will make the most difference.
Apply toGrants Manager
Newcastle upon Tyne
0191 212 7626
OrganisationNewby Trust Ltd
A probation officer on behalf of a prisoner or ex-offender. Please note: We do not accept applications or correspondence directly from individuals. Grants are normally only given to support individuals whose poverty is exacerbated by additional misfortune including bereavement, divorce, abuse, homelessness, addiction, disability or ill health. Those with a drug or alcohol dependency must usually be in recovery to be eligible for a grant.
The Trust makes small grants of up to £250 to assist individuals and families in crisis. Grants are made to ensure that an individual’s basic needs are met, such as: bed, sofa, table and chairs, cooker, fridge/freezer or washing machine, kitchen equipment and other essential household items, emergency clothing, school uniforms, baby equipment. Occasionally grants are made to assist with: rent deposits; course fees or training equipment.
Grants are not normally made where the household income is in excess of £1500 a month. Also, grants are not normally made for: televisions or computers; tumble dryers or dishwashers; carpets unless the individual has a medical need or there is a baby/toddler in the household; curtains; rent, bills or council tax; debts; bankruptcy or DRO fees; driving lessons.
By online application form on the website. The probation officer or a staff member of another agency such as social services or Citizens Advice Bureau must submit the application on behalf of the individual in need and be able to accept payment on their behalf.
The Trust would expect all clients to have claimed all eligible benefits and applied to all available local authority discretionary funds.
Apply toOnline applications only
Organisation(The) Officers' Association
Maximum decision time1 month
Prisoners/ex-offenders helpedMaximum number of grants made in a year: 2
Any former Officer of the Armed Forces or the Reserve Forces and their spouse/recognised partner.
Limited funds for courses, help with down payment for accommodation on release, furnishings, white goods, disability equipment.
Debts, solicitors' fees.
Write to the Secretary at the address below and ask for information on how the Officers' Association may be able to help.
You may apply any time. When we can help, we normally do so within a month.
We will always respond. Award of a grant depends on eligibility and the maximum number of grants we can award to an individual depends on need.
Apply toThe Secretary
The Officers' Association
1st Floor Mountbarrow House
6-20, Elizabeth Street
020 7808 4175
I wanted to write and convey my heartfelt thanks to the Officers' Association in all that you have done to help my family in these trying circumstances I find myself in. My family feels less alone whilst I am here knowing that the OA is there to lend support as my child grows up. I will let you know how I progress with my studies and thank you again for your assistance in helping my family to move into a new home."
OrganisationSt Martin in the Fields Vicar's Relief Fund
Name of grant/loanVicar's Relief Fund (VRF)
Probation officers, social workers, support workers, CAB advisors etc. on behalf of people, including offenders and ex-offenders, who are at risk of being made homeless, are homeless or vulnerable or have experience of being homeless and are trying to establish or maintain a tenancy. We cannot accept applications directly from offenders or ex-offenders. If you are personally seeking funding support, you should not write on your own behalf as your letters will not be responded to.
One-off grants up to £250 but the average is usually around £200.
Where someone who is in temporary accommodation needs help putting together a deposit for a more permanent home, a VRF grant can help that happen. The VRF also makes grants for items such as beds, furniture and other household items, household appliances such as cookers and fridges for those who are moving on from homelessness and not for those who already have an established tenancy.
Anything other than the above.
Recognised agencies only, using the online grant application process. We no longer accept applications via email or post. For details and to register to apply click https://smitf.flexigrant.com
Grants are allocated on an on-going basis.
We aim to respond to all applications within 3 working days of receiving them.
As a crisis fund, we expect applications to the VRF to be a last resort. We want to avoid situations where we make a grant quickly but the money is not used immediately, so please don't apply to us first simply because we normally act quickly. Where support workers have been able to demonstrate that they have received or been promised funds from other sources, we have usually been sympathetic to requests to make a grant as part of a package.
Apply toGrants and Volunteer Co-ordinator using the online application form
Local Welfare Assistance
With the abolition of the Community Care Grant and Crisis Loans in April 2013, these were replaced by a system of discretionary payments administered by first tier local authorities in England, and in Scotland and Wales, national schemes administered through the devolved governments. Note; Budgeting Loans are, however, still available through the DWP to those who meet the criteria and many local authorities expect applicants to have exhausted this avenue before making an application to the Local Welfare Scheme. Budgeting Loans will be replaced by advance payments within Universal Credit.
There are over 125 different Local Welfare Assistance schemes, with different names and criteria – to determine the scheme that may be applicable for an individual please see the helpful search facility developed by the Children’s Society at
As an example, here is information relating to one particular scheme that covers the whole of Wales:
Additional information based on a telephone call to the helpline is shown in italics.
Discretionary Assistance Fund for Wales
From 1 April 2013, The Welsh Government has set up a national scheme called the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
The purpose of the fund is to offer payments or in kind support to provide urgent assistance to people where there is an identified need to safeguard health and well being. The fund can also be accessed to enable or maintain independent living.
These payments will be made available to people who have no other means of meeting the immediate cost of living and are not intended to meet the cost of ongoing expenses.
Within the scheme there are two types of non-repayable grant support:
- Emergency Assistance Payments to provide assistance in an emergency or when there is an immediate threat to health or wellbeing. Anyone over the age of 16 can be considered eligible for these payments to help meet expenses due to an emergency or because of a disaster. Generally a small payment of around £30 that can be accessed within 24 hours of a discharge grant running out. It is possible to apply for EAP a maximum of three times in a year and there must be at least 28 days between applications.
- Individual Assistance Payments to meet an urgent identified need that enables or supports vulnerable citizens to establish themselves or remain living independently in the community. If for example unfurnished living accommodation has been found for someone about to leave a bail hostel, it is possible to apply for IAP in order to buy a bed or various essential white goods.
To be eligible applicants must be:
- entitled to and be in receipt of income related welfare benefits. Income related welfare benefits refer to: Income Support; income-based Job Seeker's Allowance; income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Pension Credit; or
- due to leave an institution or care home within 6 weeks, that they are likely to be entitled to receive income related welfare benefits on leaving.
To see if you are eligible for support under the scheme and would like to make an application, please:
- access the online application form (External link)
- telephone by calling the freephone number - 0800 859 5924 which is free from landlines or 033 0101 5000 which is charged at a local rate'.
- submit a postal application and send to:
Discretionary Assistance Fund
PO Box 2377
Further information and a downloadable paper based application form is available at the money made clear website (External link)
Please refer to the purple tabbed Appendices for a more comprehensive description of Universal Credit, Budgeting Advances and Foodbanks which is reproduced by kind permission of Citizens Advice (England and Wales).
OrganisationDWP - Jobcentre Plus
Name of grant/loanBudgeting Loan
You can apply for a loan if you’ve been getting income-related benefits for at least 26 weeks.
You could get a Budgeting Loan to help pay for essential things like rent, furniture, clothes or hire purchase debts. The smallest amount you can borrow is £100.
Print off and fill in claim form SF500 and send or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus. You can also get the form from your local Jobcentre Plus.
The information above has been taken from the gov.uk website. Here is the link: www.gov.uk/budgeting-loans
This web page offers a portal to more comprehensive information on Budgeting Loans. Those who are eligible, may apply for a Budgeting Loan until they make a claim for Universal Credit at which point they may wish to check their eligibility for a Budgeting Advance.
For more information on Universal Credit and the Budgeting Advance, see The Hardman Directory Appendices on Benefit Changes.
Apply toJobcentre Plus via your local Jobcentre Plus office.
OrganisationCommunity Action Isle of Wight
Name of grant/loanHelping Hands Grant
Apply toCommunity Action Isle of Wight
The Riverside Centre
Isle of Wight
OrganisationEdinburgh & Lothian Trust Fund
Maximum decision time1 month
Apply toTrust Administrator
Edinburgh & Lothian Trust Fund
EVOC, 1st Floor
14 Ashley Place
OrganisationInner London Magistrates Court
Name of grant/loanPoor Box Fund
Only probation officers or social workers on behalf of those who have appeared in court before the Inner London Magistrates, may apply.
Essential subsistence up to a maximum value of £75 though the average amount granted is £40.
Ask your probation officer or social worker to contact ILMCPBF at Ealing Magistrates Court and to submit an application on your behalf. Please note that we will be unable to process your application unless it is submitted in this way.
Funds can be applied for at any time.
Apply toAdministrator to the Trustees
ILMCPBF, Ealing Magistrates' Court
c/o Brent Magistrates' Court
Church End, 448 High Road
OrganisationMichael and Shirley Hunt Charitable Trust
A dependent relative of a serving prisoner.
Grants are made to assist dependent relatives of serving prisoners to visit a family member in prison, to relieve hardship, etc. Grants can also be made to prisoners to cover the cost of travel to visit family members on town visits and home leaves, if the family is in hardship and cannot afford to pay the fares. Applications must be supported by a probation officer, social worker, prison officer, etc.
In writing to the Trust at the address below.
Apply toMrs D S Jenkins
The Michael and Shirley Hunt Charitable Trust
Other places to look
A variety of fund-raising directories can be found at:
OrganisationDirectory of Social Change (DSC)
352 Holloway Road
Directory of Social Change (DSC)
1 Old Hall Street
Phone08450 77 77 07 (General Enquiries - local rate)
020 7391 4800 (London Office)
0151 708 0117 (Liverpool Office)
The two which may be of particular help are: A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need 2016/17 and The Guide to Educational Grants 2015/16.
DSC directories can also be purchased online at www.dsc.org.uk
If you are in London you might wish to visit the small resource centre at the DSC and do your own research from the directories which are available there for public use. Opening times can be found on the DSC website.
This online directory of potential funders is easy to use and includes small funders who may provide grants to individuals in need according to geographical location or previous employment. The online directory also has a tool that enables the user to determine his/her state benefit entitlement.
Directories that offer guidance on how to find funds for students or for individuals in need may also be available to the public in the reference section of your public library. Your local Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) may have an advisor who can help direct you to possible funding sources. Your local CVS may also have funding databases that are accessible to the public.
Other possible places to go to find small scale funding support
If you know where you will be when you are released from prison, then think about seeing if your local faith community (church/mosque/ synagogue/temple etc) can help you by providing some material assistance either directly or by putting you in contact with some affiliated charity.
It may be worth speaking to one of your prison chaplains before you are released, to ask for the name of a minister and to write with your request ahead of your release. If you decide to write to the minister you might ask for example if they know of anyone who will help provide some smart job interview clothing or some specific furnishing for your house or flat. Don’t be shy to ask the minister for whatever it is you think you will need to aid you in your resettlement. He or she may be able to help. At worst they can only say no!
Advice NI is a membership organisation for independent advice centres in Northern Ireland. Independent advice centres offer advice to the public on matters such as social security, housing and consumer rights. Many of the centres also represent their clients at appeal tribunals.
Some centres offer specialist advice on matters relating to lone parents, people with disabilities, prisoners and their families, housing matters and the needs of older people.
If you need advice contact Advice NI on 028 9064 5919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatively, you can find your local independent advice centre on our website www.adviceni.net Advice NI can also provide helpline advice in the following areas:
Tax and Benefit Advice Service
The Tax and Benefit Advice Service is supported by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and offers advice and support to members of the public and organisations, across Northern Ireland, struggling with issues relating to HMRC products and services, such as:
- Tax Credits,
- Child Benefit
- Taxes (direct/indirect)
- National Insurance Contributions and National Minimum Wage.
For more information or advice contact Freephone 0800 988 2377 or email email@example.com
Business Debtline is a free telephone service offering tailored, independent and impartial advice for sole traders, partnerships and Limited Companies trading in Northern Ireland. We provide free debt advice and free debt solutions for businesses experiencing financial difficulties, whatever the circumstance or situation.
For FREE Business Debt help call the Business Debtline FREEPHONE on 0800 0838 018
OrganisationDWP - Jobcentre Plus
A Jobcentre Plus Prison Surgery Advisor is generally available to see individual prisoners or groups of prisoners at certain times during the week or month to give information and advice regarding:
- any training and any employment/work related enquiry that relates to getting him/her back into mainstream employment,
- any enquiries relating to benefits, allowances and grants.
To find out whether a Jobcentre Plus Prison Surgery Advisor visits your particular establishment, speak to an officer who has particular responsibility for resettlement.
OrganisationLearning and Work Institute
Seeks to promote offender learning.
Learning and Work Institute and NIACE recently merged. NIACE has a range of resources to help and inform an offender. They are very diverse from e-learning guides to money management products, help and advice about becoming self-employed or an introduction to a great range of ‘Quick Reads’.
The financial literacy products are particularly popular:
‘Let’s Talk About Money – Your Money Guide’ aims to help offenders and their family get to grips with some of the basics of money and gives some guidance on how best to manage it so that they can make the most of what they have. Click here to view the guide.
A prison sentence should not be a barrier to an offender considering being self-employed,‘Let’s Talk about Self-Employment’ offers help, advice and sign posting to organisations which can offer assistance just before and on release. Click here to view this guide.
‘Thinking About How to Manage Your Money’ is specifically for young offenders. There is a range of animations that cover a number of scenarios that a young offender will experience, in and outside of prison, with supporting information. Click here to view this resource.
All of the guides have very good websites with download facilities that are available via the Virtual Campus. They focus on the financial needs of offenders in a number of different situations and are particularly helpful during the resettlement period of a sentence.
OrganisationNational Careers Service
The National Careers Service provides information, advice and guidance on learning, training and work opportunities. This can include:
- advice on choosing a career
- help to improve your CV
- support with interview skills
- information on possible sources of funding.
The service offers people confidential and impartial advice to help them plan for their future skills, careers, work and life choices.
The National Careers Service can be contacted free on 0800 100 900 seven days a week between 8am and 10pm. The service can also be contacted through a variety of online methods via the NCS website.
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help is the national charity providing lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force, as well as the spouses, ex-spouses, widows and widowers, and dependents of those who have served. We act as a caseworking charity between client and service benevolent funds to raise funds for particular needs and signpost on to other relevant organisations where necessary.
We CAN help with: household items; essential items; rent deposit; priority debts. We CANNOT help with: cash grants. We do not have accommodation, but can provide support and advice in this area if required.
At SSAFA we are committed to providing serving personnel and veterans in custody and their families with lifelong support, however their circumstances may have changed. For those in the criminal justice system we can also help:
- families of veterans whilst they are in custody
- veterans and their families on release
- veterans whilst they are in custody.
Our network of local volunteers and specialist Prison In-reach caseworkers provide advice and information. We can also offer practical support, such as getting hold of essential household items. We cannot make cash grants or provide legal support, but we may be able to signpost you to the right organisations.
If you are a veteran in custody and would like SSAFA’s assistance, please speak to your Veterans in Custody Support (VICS) Officer to find out how to get support from SSAFA's Prison In-reach service. If you do not have a VICS Officer, please contact SSAFA’s welfare team for details of the Prison In-reach caseworker who covers your prison.
Queen Elizabeth House
4 St Dunstan's Hill
0207 463 9354
OrganisationThe National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
The Citizens Advice service helps people to resolve their problems.
As the UK's largest advice provider we are equipped to deal with any issue, from anyone, spanning debt and employment to consumer and housing plus everything in between. The service has a network of over 300 member local Citizens Advice who deliver services from over 3,300 community locations in England and Wales. Citizens Advice and also each one of its member local Citizens Advice are all registered charities in their own right. Together we make up the Citizens Advice service. Of the 28,500 people who work for the service, over 22,000 of them are volunteers and nearly 6,500 are paid staff. We act as one service, with one vision, yet we are also rooted in communities across England and Wales. The service offers information and advice through face-to-face, phone and email services, and online via the Citizens Advice website. The website covers all four countries that make up the UK, and has information and fact sheets written specifically for prisoners - citizensadvice.org.uk.
As well as from their high street premises, local Citizens Advice make face-to-face advice available from other locations including community centres, doctors' surgeries, courts and prisons, bail and probation hostels, and often in partnership with other local support services. In this way we aim to make sure that people can access advice where they need it most.
If you want to get advice post-release, it is best to contact or visit your local Citizens Advice and find out about the services that they provide. Or you can find out about their services from the Citizens Advice website (citizensadvice.org.uk), by searching for your local service. The information will include details about their services, opening hours, and any specialist services they offer (eg debt advice).
For those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland, there are similar services offered by Citizens Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice Northern Ireland. You can find out more about these organisations from their websites – cas.org.uk (Scotland) and citizensadvice.co.uk (Northern Ireland).
Citizens Advice is an operating name of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux. Registered charity number 279057.
Veterans Aid (VA) operates from a Central London Drop-in Centre/Head Office near Victoria Station and an East London hostel, New Belvedere House. It takes calls for help from throughout the UK and overseas.
The charity is non-judgmental and provides speedy, practical support to veterans in crisis regardless of rank, age, ethnicity, gender or length of service.
Some ex-servicemen and women learn about the charity’s work while in prison and are directed to it on release. Everyone is treated as an individual and support is offered to those who are homeless, facing homelessness or in any other situation that requires emergency aid.
The help provided is immediate and practical; VA would rather meet people before they get into trouble or develop debt, legal, drug, alcohol or financial problems, but it is there for all veterans in crisis genuinely seeking to address their difficulties.
Specialist staff deal with rehab/detox, accommodation, legal issues and help with education, training and employment.
Established in 1932 this frontline charity has an unbroken tradition of addressing homelessness and its consequences as part of a unique Welfare to Wellbeing model that embraces prevention, immediate intervention and sustainability. Its commitment to holistic solutions is delivered by examining and addressing the causes of homelessness, crisis and social isolation; acting immediately to address problems and crafting bespoke, collaborative programmes for each individual seeking aid with a view to s/he sustaining an independent and rewarding life.
Apply toVeterans Aid
40 Buckingham Palace Road
020 7828 2468, 0800 012 6867 (freephone)
Working Chance is the UK’s only recruitment consultancy for women with criminal convictions. Set up in 2009, this London-based charity has placed over 1000 women into quality jobs with mainstream employers.
Our mission is empowering women with convictions to achieve financial autonomy through employment. We believe all women have the right to work so they can support themselves and their families. Working Chance is not about racking up placement numbers, but about creating long-term, sustainable opportunities for you to build a meaningful career.
We know that firm foundations will be the secret to your success. This is why we provide all the support you need to overcome your barriers to employment. We offer advice and guidance on everything from accessing mental health services and resolving childcare disputes to repaying your debts and finding a safe, affordable home.
Once we’ve helped you build strong foundations, we will support your journey into work step by step. We offer in-depth employability training, covering everything you need to know about looking for work: we will teach you to write an outstanding CV, prepare for interviews and disclose a conviction to potential employers. We also run workshops and training courses on a range of life skills including healthy living, emotional intelligence and relationship management.
For many of our candidates, voluntary placements are a great way of building up work experience before moving on to a paid job. Voluntary work can help you brush up your expertise or build up the skills you need to take your career in a new and exciting direction.
When you are ready to look for paid work, we will offer one-to-one, tailored support around searching for opportunities, applying for jobs and preparing for interviews. We empower our candidates to move forward with their lives and become financially independent.
Apply toWorking Chance
24-27 White Lion Street
020 7278 1532
Reproduced by kind permission of Citizens Advice (England & Wales).
The Citizens Advice website covers the whole of the UK. It is regularly updated and the information is likely to change, especially for Universal Credit and the benefits it covers.
Before you consider taking any action, you should read the latest version of the content or go and get advice from your local Citizens Advice.
In April 2013 the Government started introducing a number of major changes to the social security benefits system, under the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Pensions Act 2011. This followed on from the changes to Employment and Support Allowance that began in April 2012.
Virtually all benefits for working age people will be affected and there will be changes for those pensioners who are responsible for children or have housing costs. For people currently claiming benefits, some of these changes may mean they will no longer meet the stricter eligibility criteria, which will quite possibly result in them having to deal with changes in income and/or to their benefit payment amounts.
Main changes to benefits system
Generally referred to collectively as Welfare Reform, the main changes to the benefits system are as follows:
Universal Credit is the main means-tested security benefit for people of working age and replaces all means-tested benefits and tax credits, namely:
|Phased, 2013 to 2021|
|Benefit Cap||The Benefit Cap will limit the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can receive||Apr-13|
|Child Maintenance||Child maintenance schemes offered by the Government are changing||Apr-12|
|Council Tax Benefit reform||Council Tax Benefit has been abolished and replaced with support schemes run and managed by local authorities, and based on criteria developed by them (ie not set at national level)||Apr-13|
|Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)||Payment of ESA is to be limited to one year for most people. People in the ESA ‘Support Group’ are not affected||Apr-12|
Pension Credit is to incorporate:
|Personal Independence Payment (PIP)||PIP will replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age. Currently PIP will not apply to those under 16 or over 65||Apr-13|
Parts of the Social Fund have been abolished:
Local authorities have been allocated some funding to provide schemes, but it is not mandatory for them to do so
Universal Credit is a new benefit that is gradually being made available across the UK. In future it will be the main means-tested benefit for people of working age and will replace all existing means-tested benefits and tax credits, namely:
- Child Tax Credit
- ESA (income related)
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- JSA (income related)
- Working Tax Credit.
The new benefit is being operated by Job Centre Plus offices in England, Scotland and Wales, which are managed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
IMPORTANT NOTE: All the information provided in this section applies to England, Scotland and Wales only. The Northern Ireland Assembly will start to roll out Universal Credit in 2017.
Some information for Northern Ireland can be found on the Citizens Advice website –
Up to April 2016
By the end of April 2016, all Job Centre Plus offices will be offering a partial Universal Credit service to people.
There is a map available on the Gov.uk website which you can use to search according to where you live. The map will show your nearest Job Centre Plus and also the types of claims they can currently handle.
- The map is available on Gov.uk from this page - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/jobcentres-where-you-can-claim-universal-credit
After you have searched to find your nearest Job Centre Plus office, click on the coloured ‘pin’ for it and a box will appear on the screen that shows the details for that office. This will include the types of claims they currently handle (for example – single claimants only).
May 2016 onwards
From May 2016 onwards, the online version of the full Universal Credit service will start to be made available in certain local authority areas and to the following people:
- anyone making a new claim, no matter whether they are single, a couple or a family
- someone who is currently receiving an existing benefit or Tax Credit and has a change of circumstance that alters what they are entitled to receive. They (and their partners/family) will have no choice but to change to receiving Universal Credit
- anyone living in the selected local authority areas, who is currently claiming Universal Credit, will be moved over to the online version the new benefit.
You can find out about the local authority areas selected for 2016 from the Gov.uk website - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-transition-to-full-service
You will need to use the map on Gov.uk to find your nearest Job Centre Plus office:
- The map is available on Gov.uk from this page - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/jobcentres-where-you-can-claim-universal-credit
January 2017 onwards
There is no information yet for what will happen from January 2017 onwards.
Those who cannot get Universal Credit
You cannot get Universal Credit if any of the following apply to you:
- you can't work or look for work (eg because of illness or disability)
- you’re in supported or temporary accommodation
- you’re a homeowner
- you’ve applied for a fitness for work note from a doctor
- you’re pregnant or have given birth within the last 15 weeks
- you have caring responsibilities, eg for a disabled person
- you’re self-employed, or expect to earn money from self-employment in the next month
- you’re a company director or part of a limited liability partnership
- you’re in education or on a training course of any kind
- you live in the same household as a member of the regular or reserve forces who’s away on duty
- you pay child maintenance via the Child Support Agency
- you’re an approved foster parent (even if you have no foster children)
- you’re expecting to adopt a child in the next 2 months
- you’ve adopted a child within the last 12 months
- you’re homeless.
How to apply for Universal Credit
To find out what is available in your area, you need to contact your local Job Centre Plus.
If you're not sure whether or not you can apply, contact the Universal Credit helpline or visit your local Citizens Advice.
Universal Credit helpline:
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
Calls to this number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay). You can call and ask them to call you back.
Local Citizens Advice:
You can find details of your local Citizens Advice in the Yellow Pages, or from these Citizens Advice websites -
Budgeting advances on Universal Credit
If you're getting Universal Credit, you might be able to get a loan to cover an expense that comes up, such as:
- a one-off item, eg replacing a broken fridge or getting a piece of furniture
- unexpected expenses, eg a bill that’s higher than usual
- expenses for starting a new job or keeping a job, eg uniforms, tools, etc
- repairs to your home, maintenance or security
- travelling expenses
- maternity expenses
- funeral expenses
- moving costs or rent deposit
The loan is called a 'budgeting advance' - you'll have to pay it back by getting lower Universal Credit payments until it’s paid off. You’ll be told how much your payments will be reduced by.
If you've applied for Universal Credit but haven't had a payment yet, you might be able to get an advance payment instead of a budgeting advance.
To get a budgeting advance loan, you have to be able to meet these rules:
- have been getting Universal Credit for 6 months or more, unless you need the money to help you start a new job or keep an existing job
- have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the 6 months before your application
- you or your partner must not be paying off a previous ‘budgeting advance’.
The amount you can get:
|Single with no responsibility for children||£100 - £348|
|In a couple with no responsibility for children||£100 - £464|
|You're responsible for children.||£100 - £812|
You’ll get less if you have over £1000 in savings or investments.
You need to contact your local Job Centre Plus to apply for a budgeting advance loan.
The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you’re of working age. The Cap will only affect you if you're getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If the Cap does affect you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced.
The Citizens Advice website has the most up-to-date information about the Benefit Cap –
- England, Scotland, Wales - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/the-benefit-cap
- Northern Ireland - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland/benefits/welfare-benefits-reform-ni/benefit-cap-ni/
Both parents are legally responsible for the financial costs of bringing up their children. If you split up, and you’re the parent who doesn’t have the main day-to-day care of the children, you may have to pay money to the person looking after the children. This is called child maintenance. Sometimes it's also called child support.
Child maintenance usually takes the form of regular financial payments towards the child's everyday living costs. Depending on your circumstances, you can either arrange this yourselves or use a government scheme. If your situation is complicated, you may need to get a court order.
Arranging child maintenance
You can arrange child maintenance in the following ways:
- a family-based child maintenance arrangement
- a government scheme
- a court order.
Family-based child maintenance arrangements
A family-based arrangement is usually the quickest and easiest way to arrange child maintenance if you can agree. A family-based arrangement is not usually legally binding. So if the agreed payments aren’t made, you can’t go to court to get the other parent to pay. However, if the arrangement breaks down, you still have the option to use a government scheme for an enforceable agreement. This means that the parent who has to pay maintenance can be made to pay it.
If you can’t agree on a family-based arrangement, or the arrangement has broken down, you may want to try using a government scheme.
There are three government schemes for arranging child maintenance. Their rules are based on law so they are sometimes known as statutory schemes.
|2012 Scheme||The child Maintenance Service (CMS) runs a statutory scheme called the 2012 Child Maintenance Scheme. This is open to all new applicants who are unable to make a family-based arrangement. In England, Wales and Scotland, you have to pay a fee to apply to the 2012 Scheme.|
|1993 and 2003 Schemes:||
The Child Support Agency (CSA) runs two statutory schemes:
The Child Support Agency has stopped taking new applications into the 1993 and 2003 Schemes. However, it will continue to manage existing cases on these schemes until they are phased out.
Court orders for child maintenance
A court can deal with new applications for child maintenance in some situations. For example:
- you can’t apply to the CMS because your ex-partner lives outside the UK
- you have extra expenses which the CMS don’t take into account when making a maintenance calculation. For example, this would cover expenses to cover education or the extra costs of a child's disability
- your ex-partner has a very high income and you want more maintenance than would be awarded under the CMS calculation.
You'll need expert advice about what to do if your partner lives outside the UK, and how to apply to court for maintenance.
Once a court order is in place, the court can force a parent to pay maintenance if they fail to pay what's been agreed in the order.
Child Maintenance Options Service
The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is taking over from the Child Support Agency (CSA) and will be handling all cases by 2018 (or sooner). All new claims for government support on child maintenance must be made through the CMS.
If you currently use the CSA to receive child maintenance, your case will be closed between now and 2018. You will receive two letters about this – one a few months before your case is closed and one a few weeks before the final date. After your case has been closed, you will need to apply to the CMS to receive payments under the new scheme – if you want to continue receiving government support.
The Child Maintenance Options Service can provide information about your options. They also provide forms, leaflets and a maintenance calculator to help you get started.
- The Child Maintenance Options Service website has full details – www.cmoptions.org
- The Citizens Advice website has full details of the 2012 Child maintenance scheme – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/relationships/children-and-young-people/child-maintenance/child-maintenance-2012-scheme/
The government has introduced fees and charges for parents using the 2012 statutory Child Maintenance Scheme (CMS).
The fees and charges will apply to new parents who want to use the 2012 Scheme and existing parents already on it. This is to encourage parents to reach their own agreement through a private family-based arrangement or, if they use the CMS, to pay each other directly through Direct Pay.
The following fees and charges apply:
- application fees in England, Wales and Scotland
- from 11 August 2014, collection fees for using the Collect & Pay service
- enforcement charges.
The parent who applies to the CMS must pay a £20 application fee. Your application won’t be processed until you pay the fee in full. You won’t have to pay the application fee (called a waiver) if:
- you’re a victim of domestic violence or abuse and have reported it to certain organisations such as the police or domestic violence organisations
- you’re under 19.
Both parents must pay a collection fee for using the Collect & Pay service. The Collect & Pay service is when the CMS works out the amount of child maintenance to be paid and collects payments from the paying parent and passes them on to the receiving parent.
The paying parent will have to pay a 20 per cent collection fee each time a payment is collected from them.
The receiving parent will have to pay a 4 per cent collection fee each time a payment is passed onto them.
There will be a range of charges for the different enforcement actions the CMS can take when a payment is missed or not made in full. In some situations, the fee may be waived and you won’t have to pay it.
Council Tax Support
You can no longer make a claim for Council Tax Benefit. If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to help from your council towards paying your council tax.
Since 1 April 2013, local authorities in have been responsible for running their own local schemes for help with council tax. These are called Council Tax Reduction (CTR) schemes. They are also sometimes known as Council Tax Support. Across the UK:
- In England, there are big differences between the CTR schemes in different local authorities, but in Wales there are only very small differences.
- In Scotland there is a national Council Tax Reduction (CTR) scheme and each local authority runs the scheme in their area. Second Adult Rebate is a form of CTR that can be paid instead of the main type of CTR, depending on the circumstances of your household.
- Northern Ireland did not switch to the council tax system. In 2007 Northern Ireland changed to a new system of domestic rates which is based on the capital value of individual properties.
You will need to find out what your local authority offers, whether you’re allowed to get the Reduction from them, if there are any special circumstances that let you get the Reduction, and how to apply for the Reduction.
- The Citizens Advice website has full details of the Council Tax Reduction schemes in each country of the UK – www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
There are two types of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – income-related ESA and contribution-based ESA.
Although you it is possible you could apply for either or both types of ESA, Universal Credit is replacing income-related ESA and this is available from your local Job Centre Plus (JCP). See the section on Universal Credit above to find out about how to locate your nearest JCP.
If you have an illness, health condition or a disability which makes it difficult or impossible to work, then you might be able to get money from the government to help you.
You may be able to get contribution-based ESA if:
- you have a health condition that makes it difficult or impossible to work
- you’re not getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from an employer (but you can apply up to 3 months before your SSP ends - if you get ESA, it will be paid as soon as your SSP ends)
- you’re not old enough to get the State Pension
- you don’t work, are going to stop work or the work you do will be ‘permitted work’ when you claim ESA
- you live in the UK. If you live in the EEA or Switzerland you may get ESA if you have previously lived in the UK - the rules are complicated so it might be best to get advice if this applies to you
- you’ve paid at least 26 weeks class 1 or class 2 National Insurance (NI) contributions in one of the last 2 complete tax years and have been paid or credited with NI contributions for at least 50 weeks in each of the last 2 complete tax years.
You can’t get contribution-based ESA at the same time as Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance. If you get these benefits and want to claim contribution-based ESA instead, you can do, but you’ll need to stop your current claim so that you can claim contribution-based ESA instead.
If you have a partner who is getting one of these benefits, you may still be able to get contribution-based ESA at the same time.
If you haven’t paid enough NI contributions to get contribution-based ESA, you may be able to get income-related ESA if:
- you’re not old enough to get the State Pension. If you’re not old enough to get State Pension but old enough to get Pension Credit you can choose to claim either income-related ESA or Pension Credit
- you don’t work, are going to stop work or the work you do will be permitted to work when you claim ESA
- you live in the UK
- you have savings or investments worth less than £16,000
- your partner works less than 24 hours per week
- you’re either a British citizen, or an EEA national, or you’re not subject to immigration control
- you have the right to reside and pass the habitual residence test (British citizens who live in the UK and haven’t recently lived abroad will automatically pass this criteria).
You or your partner can’t receive income-related ESA at the same time as Income Support, income-based JSA or Pension Credit. If you or your partner receives Income Support or income-based JSA you’ll have to stop the claim and claim income-related ESA instead.
If your income is low and you get contribution-based ESA, you may also get income-related ESA. Make sure you fill in both parts of the ESA claim form giving your details and those of your partner so that you can be considered for both parts of ESA.
The Citizens Advice website has the most up-to-date information on ESA –
- England, Scotland and Wales - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers
- Northern Ireland - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/
Pension Credit is a benefit for older people and it is based on the amount of money that you have coming to in each week as income. Pension Credit is operated by the Pension Service and is made of two parts – guarantee credit and savings credit:
- the guarantee credit part tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed level
- the savings credit part is for people who have a small amount of their own income or savings.
You may be entitled to the guarantee credit or the savings credit, or both. You can claim Pension Credit whether or not you’re still working. You do not need to have paid any national insurance contributions.
- The Citizens Advice website has full details about Pension Credit and its rules, and about other benefits for older people - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/older-people/benefits-for-older-people
Who can get Pension Credit
If you're a woman, to claim Pension Credit you must be State Pension age.
If you're a man, you can claim Pension Credit when you reach the State Pension age of a woman born on the same day and in the same year as you.
You can work out the exact date of your State Pension age by using the State Pension age calculator on GOV.UK website - www.gov.uk.
If you’re a man, the calculator will also help you work out whether you're entitled to Pension Credit.
You claim Pension Credit for yourself and your partner who lives with you. If you, your partner, or both of you, are living permanently in a care home, you will usually each have to claim Pension Credit as single people.
There are different rules for getting the guarantee credit and the savings credit. Remember that you may be entitled to both, so it is worth giving all the details on the claim form.
Who can get the guarantee credit
If you're a woman, you can claim guarantee credit when you reach State Pension age.
If you're a man, you can claim guarantee credit when you reach the State Pension age of a woman born on the same day as you.
You must be living in the UK and not have any immigration controls on your stay here that would stop you claiming benefits. You must also have income below a certain amount. The amount depends on your circumstances. There is no limit on how much capital - that is savings and property - you can have, but you will be treated as having income from any of your capital above £10,000. However, some capital is ignored, for example, your personal possessions and the home you own and live in. Certain other types of property are also ignored. For full details of other property which is ignored, you should get advice.
Who can get the savings credit
You can get the savings credit if you or your partner is 65 or over. It does not matter which of you makes the claim for Pension Credit. You must be living in the UK and not have any immigration controls on your stay here that would stop you claiming benefits. You must have more than a certain amount of income, but not so much that you do not get any savings credit.
From 6 April 2016, you cannot make a new claim for the savings credit part of Pension Credit. If you’re already getting savings credit, then you will continue to get it as long as you continue to meet the eligibility conditions. New savings credits won’t be available to couples where only one of you is of pension age, unless you were already claiming it.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
If you need extra help because of an illness, disability or mental health condition you could get Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to qualify for PIP, and it doesn’t matter what your income is, if you have any savings or you’re working.
The main eligibility rules
PIP is replacing the Disability Living Allowance for a lot of people. To get PIP you must:
- be aged 16 to 64
- need help with everyday tasks or getting around
- have needed this help for 3 months and expect it to need it for another 9 months
- usually be living in England, Wales or Scotland when you apply
- have lived in England, Wales or Scotland for at least 2 years.
There are exceptions to these rules if you’re terminally ill or in the armed forces:
- If you have a terminal illness, the rules about how long you need help for and about living in England, Wales or Scotland for 2 years don’t apply to you
- If you’re in the armed forces (or a close family member of someone who is), the rules on living and applying in England, Wales or Scotland don’t apply to you.
Your illness, disability or mental health condition
PIP is not based on the condition you have or the medication you take. It is based on the level of help you need because of how your condition affects you. You’re assessed on the level of help you need with specific activities.
It’s hard to say if the level of help you need will mean you qualify you for PIP. But you should consider applying, if your conditions means that you get or need help with any of the following:
- preparing and cooking food
- eating and drinking
- managing your treatments
- washing and bathing
- managing toilet needs or incontinence
- dressing and undressing
- communicating with other people
- reading and understanding written information
- mixing with others
- making decisions about money
- planning a journey or following a route
- moving around.
The government started introducing PIP in 2015 and people who should be on this new payment are gradually being moved to it from Disability Living Allowance.
There are various rules about claiming PIP and also exceptions to those rules. It is important that you look at the full details available on the Citizens Advice website –
- England, Scotland and Wales - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/
- Northern Ireland - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland/benefits/welfare-benefits-reform-ni/personal-independence-payment-ni/
If you need help with understanding the PIP requirements or applying, you should get support and advice from your local Ctiizens Advice.
If you’re on a low income, the Social Fund may be able to help you with certain one-off or occasional expenses. If you meet the conditions, the Social Fund can provide funeral payments, maternity grants, budgeting loans and cold weather payments.
In April 2013, the government abolished two part of the Social Fund - community care grants, and crisis loans. In their place government has given local authorities funding to set up their own welfare assistance schemes. However, local authorities are not obligated to provide this assistance.
In England and Wales, you will need to find out whether your local authority offers this kind of help to people.
In Scotland, the Scottish Welfare Fund has been set up to replace the Social Fund community care grants and crisis loans for living expenses. It pays out community care grants and crisis grants.
In Northern Ireland, they have set up different schemes to replace community care grants and crisis loans.
The Citizens Advice website has details of the Social Fund and other welfare schemes –
- England, Scotland and Wales - www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/help-for-people-on-a-low-income-the-social-fund-and-other-welfare-schemes/
- Northern Ireland - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/help-for-people-on-a-low-income-the-social-fund-ni/
Foodbanks and Other Help
If you're struggling to feed your family, or need other urgent assistance, find out what help you may be able to get in your area.
If you need to go to a foodbank, you may also want to get advice about whether there is any way that you could increase your income. Are you getting all the benefits you're entitled to? Can you challenge a benefit decision that has reduced your income?
Finding a foodbank near you
In recent years, foodbanks have started to open around the country. They are often run by churches, charities and other community groups.
Trussell Trust foodbanks
The Trussell Trust is a charity that runs one of the largest network of foodbanks in the UK. You will usually have to have a food voucher to take with you to their foodbank in order to get food. People like GPs and social workers, and charities such as your local citizens advice bureau, may be able to issue you with a food voucher. The Trussell Trust foodbank can then give you up to three days' emergency food at one of their foodbanks.
You can search the Trussell Trust website to see if there is a foodbank in your area - www.trusselltrust.org.
The Trust can also help if you want to set up a foodbank in your community.
Other local foodbanks
If you can't find a Trussell Trust foodbank near you, there may be other foodbanks in your area. There may be one at a local church or at another community centre. Each will operate their own system. You may not always need food vouchers.
Contact your local council and ask if there is a foodbank near you, and what other help may be available.
If you can't afford to get to a foodbank
If you live in a rural area and cannot afford to get to a foodbank, you may be able to get an emergency delivery of food. Check if a foodbank in your area offers such a service.
Getting other emergency help
Your council, your local citizens advice bureau or another local charity will also know about what other help may be available in your area. This could include things like:
- a soup kitchen
- a place to go for breakfast or a hot meal
- emergency breakfast for children
- second-hand furniture or household appliances.
Local Welfare Assistance Schemes
You can ask your local council for the details of their local welfare assistance scheme and how the scheme can help you.
Index of organisations and funding schemes
16 - 19 Bursary Fund55
24+ Advanced Learning Loan55
Al-Mizan Charitable Trust - General Welfare Fund65
Amaryllis Group Holdings30
Arts Council England94
Arts Council of Northern Ireland95
Arts Council of Wales96
Bishop David Sheppard Tenth Anniversary Trust66
Bucks Association for the Care of Offenders (BACO)67
Budgeting advances on Universal Credit153
Burnbake Trust Prison Art Project98
Buttle UK - Small Grants Programme118
Buttle UK - Support for Estranged Young People119
Buttle UK - The Anchor Project120
Camden Garden Centre24
City & Guilds Group - City & Guilds Bursary68
Index of organisations and funding schemes
Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust - Hardship Award Programme69
Community Action Isle of Wight - Helping Hands Grant131
Cook Food Ltd26
Council Tax Support160
County Durham Community Foundation - Stanhope Castle School Charitable Trust70
David Isaacs Fund121
Directory of Social Change (DSC)136
Discretionary Assistance Fund for Wales128
Discretionary Learner Support55
(The) Duke of Edinburgh's Award - DofE Aldo Trust Bursary71
DWP - Jobcentre Plus - Budgeting Loan130
DWP - Jobcentre Plus - Flexible Support Fund59
DWP - Jobcentre Plus140
East Coast Trains26
Edinburgh & Lothian Trust Fund132
Emergency Assistance Payments (Wales)129
Employers' Forum for Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR)24
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)160
Family Action - Family Action’s Grant Programmes72
Frank Longford Charitable Trust (Longford Trust) - Longford Scholarships73
Fredericks Foundation - Business start-up microloan106
Index of organisations and funding schemes
Futures for Women74
Greggs Foundation - Hardship Fund122
(The) Hardman Trust - Hardman Award75
Individual Assistance Payments (Wales)129
Inner London Magistrates Court - Poor Box Fund133
Koestler Trust - Koestler Awards93
Learning and Work Institute141
Marks and Spencer28
(The) Matthew Trust99
Michael and Shirley Hunt Charitable Trust134
National Alliance of Arts in Criminal Justice92
National Careers Service/Two High Street Banks - Professional and Career Development Loan60
National Careers Service142
Newby Trust Ltd123
Index of organisations and funding schemes
NOMS - CFO Discretionary Access Fund (DAF)61
(The) Officers' Association124
Open University - Crowther Fund - Crowther Award76
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)165
Pets at Home28
Pinetree - Start Up Loan or Community Development Finance Initiative.107
Pret A Manger32
(The) Prince's Trust - Development Awards77
(The) Prince's Trust - Enterprise Programme108
Prisoners' Education Trust63
Professionals Aid Council78
Royal London Society - EaST Grants (Employment & Skill Training and Tools of Trade)79
Ruth Hayman Trust80
ScotsCare, the Charity for Scots in London81
Sheriffs' and Recorder's Fund82
Sir John and Lady Heathcoat Amory's Charitable Trust83
Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust84
Sir Thomas White Loan Charity109
Skills Funding Agency54
Index of organisations and funding schemes
St Martin in the Fields Vicar's Relief Fund - Vicar's Relief Fund (VRF)125
Start Up Loans - Start Up Loans104
Student Cash Point137
Student Finance England - 24+ Advanced Learning Loan62
Student Finance Wales58
Student Loan 56
The Harry James Riddleston Charity of Leicester110
The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux144
The Royal British Legion (TRBL)86
The Salvation Army87
The Sidney Perry Foundation88
Trafford Housing Trust28
Turn2us - Elizabeth Finn Fund89
Unlock - for people with convictions32