Charities can often provide a safety net when the state is not able to help you, although many are only able to assist certain individuals in specific circumstances.
You may be able to get a grant from a charity or benevolent organisation particularly if you are looking for one-off help. Most will only give grants for things you cannot get through state-funded grants or benefits.
Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services.
It’s also worth asking your local voluntary council if there are any charities which could help with your specific needs or situation.
As well as financial help, there are charities out there which will help with your immediate needs, providing you with clothing, furniture and food.
Clothes and personal items
Many charity shops now sell used items of clothing including shoes for as little as £1 each.
Look out for jumble sales, bring and buy sales and car boot sales – you never know, you might find exactly what you need for pennies.
Furniture and household goods
Some charities will provide certain individuals – women fleeing domestic violence and people who have been homeless – with some of the basic items necessary to set up home. There may be a small charge. You will usually need to be referred to the charity by a social worker or health professional.
Freecycle has over 30 local groups across Wales. It’s free to register and you might find someone is giving away the very item you need.
Some charities have dedicated furniture and electrical shops which sell good quality items at very low prices.
It’s always worth checking out Facebook marketplace as there are often free and low-cost items advertised.
All councils have a 24-hour telephone service for people in emergency situations, e.g. if you suddenly find yourself homeless as a result of a fire, flood or domestic violence.
There are night shelters in bigger towns and cities.
Foodbanks and food
Foodbanks will provide three days emergency food supplies for people in crisis but you cannot just turn up and ask for provisions. You need to be referred by a frontline professional, e.g. a social worker, health visitor, GP, police officer or doctor.
Some charities and churches serve hot meals cheaply or free of charge.
Funding for activities and groups
If you’re not looking for support for yourself but for a group or project you’re involved in, why not visit My Community or the National Lottery Community Fund.
Your local voluntary council will also be able to offer you guidance and advice.