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You may be eligible for a grant from the RCN Foundation Benevolent Service.

We’re here to help nurses, midwives and health care support workers make ends meet during times of hardship. Whether you’re retired, unemployed or in work, we can provide support.

Who can apply for a hardship grant from the RCN Foundation?

You do not need to be a member of the Royal College of Nursing to apply to the RCN Foundation. We are here for all members of the nursing and midwifery professions. This includes:

  • NMC registered nurses and midwives who live in the UK, including nurses who have qualified abroad and are seeking to work in a health care environment.

  • Health Care Support Workers, Nursing Associates and Nursing Apprentices living in the UK who have practiced in a Health Care Support Role for three or more years, under the supervision of registered nurses.

  • Applicants who have previously worked in the above roles, for example are currently retired or off sick, can be considered for funding if evidence of the work history is provided, covering three years for Health Care Support roles.

  • Nursing undergraduate students whose funding has stopped due to illness, or who are fleeing domestic abuse, or who have experienced a bereavement of a partner that they lived with (please get in touch with the Foundation to discuss specific cases).

As well as having worked in one of these roles, you’ve experienced a change in your situation that means you can’t afford to pay for the essential costs you’re facing, and…

  • This hardship would continue even if debt repayments and extra spending are put on hold.

  • Your current financial difficulty could not be addressed by using savings, capital (including property), or an affordable borrowing arrangement.

  • You've applied for benefits if you have an entitlement (talk to an adviser or use a benefit calculator if you're unsure)

  • You haven’t already received a hardship grant from the RCN Foundation in 2022.

You can find the full description of criteria here, which includes costs the RCN Foundation can consider, and information about costs that are outside of the remit for hardship funding. 

If you are an undergraduate student experiencing hardship, visit our student support page here.

If your hardship is caused by paying off debt, or if you need advice on benefits, visit our advice guide page here.

The application process

Once you have familiarised yourself with the application criteria, you can apply by clicking the ‘Apply for a grant’ link at the end of this page. This will take you to a one-page form which can be filled out in half an hour by yourself or by someone you give permission to help you.

If you cannot complete the form and would like to discuss support we can offer, please get in touch with us to talk through options. Once you have supplied the necessary information, just hit submit. You'll receive an automatic email once your application form has been submitted successfully. 

Once we receive your application, we’ll aim to contact you within two weeks.

To progress your application we will ask you to send documents that show your income, savings level, and that you’ve worked in one of the nursing, midwifery or health care support worker roles we support. If we can see from your income, expenditure or other details that you don't meet the eligibility criteria for a grant, we'll contact you and explain the reasons for this. 

Once a grant application is approved, you’ll receive the funds within seven working days of confirmation.

We can’t always offer a grant, but we do our best to support every applicant as much as we can, which includes signposting all applicants to other sources of help when this may be available. When you tell us about your situation as part of a grant application, you’re also helping us to deliver support to the nursing and midwifery team, by showing us the issues that are affecting you and the experiences you’ve had.

Is this the right grant for you?

It may be helpful to hear about others who have already benefited from hardship grants.

A nurse had to move to a new area to escape an abusive relationship. Unable to afford the deposit needed for her daughter’s nursery placement, she had to prioritise childcare over working. The Foundation provided a contribution to the childcare costs, enabling the nurse to return to work. She was soon able to cover the ongoing costs using her wages and Universal Credit.

Whilst recovering from a stroke, a health care support worker was not able to work his usual hours. His income took a hit and keeping up with rent, bills and food became difficult. The RCN Foundation signposted him towards some additional benefits he didn’t know about and awarded £500 to help him cover living costs.

A midwife’s four-year-old son became seriously ill. She had to take unpaid leave to care for him, and when her cooker broke, her savings couldn’t cover the cost of replacing it. The RCN Foundation awarded £350 so that she could buy a new cooker.

Next steps

Apply for a grant

Find advice about benefits or debt

Find out about other financial support