From 1 January 2022, the RCN Foundation will be changing the way it provides financial hardship grants to nursing and midwifery staff who most need it.
We will be bringing the service in-house, issuing grants for financial hardship and signposting sources of support. Named the RCN Foundation Benevolent Service, this will be a change from the existing Lamplight Support Service, which has been delivered by the RCN.
An independent charity and grant-maker, the RCN Foundation aims to assist nursing and midwifery staff ‘who by reason of adversity, ill health, or otherwise are in need of assistance of any nature.’
Our Benevolent Service will continue to support nursing and midwifery professionals who are struggling financially. Any current, former, or retired nurse, midwife or health care support worker will be eligible to apply for a grant.
You don’t need to be a member of the Royal College of Nursing to apply for a hardship grant – if you are a nurse, midwife or healthcare support worker facing financial difficulties, you can apply to the service for the support you need.
“Without the grant I would have struggled to keep a roof over my head.”
When registered nurse Hannah* lost her job in January she knew she had some savings to fall back on. But when the pandemic struck, life got much more complicated for the 71 year-old. Born in South Africa, she was struggling to renew her work permit and running out of money. RCN staff helped her resolve the permit issue and suggested that she apply for an RCN Foundation grant.
“It was a godsend. My savings only went so far and when they ran out I had to rely on the generosity of others. Just when I was worried my luck had run out, the RCN Foundation grant came through – £600. It meant I could do a food shop and pay a month’s rent. Without the grant, I would have struggled to keep a roof over my head. I don’t have any family in the UK.”
So what’s changing?
The hardship grant service has been run by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) since 2016, with funding provided by the RCN Foundation.
As of January 2022, the RCN Foundation will bring the service in-house once again, alongside the many other grants that we provide for nurses and midwives. The service will be run by a dedicated team.
In the service’s new form, assessments for grants will no longer require an in-depth phone call conducted during office hours; this step will be replaced by a simple online application process that can be accessed at any time of day or night.
The RCN Foundation Benevolent Service will also offer clear signposting to other services that provide nurses and midwives with benefits, mental health support, housing advice, and options for making existing income go further.
Deepa Korea, Director of the RCN Foundation, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to support thousands of individuals through our funding of the Lamplight Support Service and the provision of hardship grants. As the landscape has changed for nursing and midwifery, it is right that we take stock of the way in which this support is provided in the future.
"I would like to thank our colleagues within the Lamplight team for their commitment and hard work in supporting members of the professions when they have been at their most vulnerable.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the challenges faced by many nurses, midwives and health care support workers clearer than ever. The RCN Foundation continues to listen to the needs of those experiencing financial hardship and evolve our service to ensure we provide the support they need, when they most need it.
Information about the application process, eligibility criteria and documents that need to be provided will be available on the Hardship Grants page in January 2022.