Benevolent Funds

Benevolent funds can provide financial and practical help during a bereavement.

Please note:

All information and costs are correct April 2024.

Please telephone or visit the relevant benevolent fund to confirm up to date help and financial support.

Free benevolent funds

Benevolent funds are a charitable organisation that assist people when they fall on tough times. Sometimes these funds support the bereaved with financial and emotional assistance. They can also offer other types of help during difficult times, such as legal advice and/or counselling services.

Although most people are aware of funeral plans and life insurance, many are unaware of benevolent funds, even though many have been established for around 100 years with thousands of members.

Benevolent funds and trusts are usually set up to help an individual for a particular job or profession they were in, and have their own different rules and guidelines for financial assistance and other support.

You don’t always have to work in a profession to be entitled to help from the benevolent fund, so it’s always worth checking to see if you are entitled. Dependents, children and partners of employees are often also entitled to help.

It’s worth remembering that many unions have funds available to members or families through hard times such as bereavement.

One of the most established benevolent funds is the Benevolent Irish Society (BIS) formed in 1806 it is open to Irish residents of Newfoundland North America.

Although funeral grant help is not directly listed in many funds, if you were to find yourself struggling financially to pay other bills or purchase other important items after paying for a funeral, then the different funds can look into helping you.

Listed below are a few benevolent funds which can help the bereaved or if they are caring for a partner. Most benevolent funds offer help to both present and past employees of a particular industry. Some funds operate worldwide, while others just in the UK.

The Insurance Charities – For employees of the insurance industry

Telephone: 0207 606 3763

The Insurance Charities was formed in 1902 and supports both past and present employees with financial support which includes funeral costs. 

National Benevolent Charity – Open to those receiving benefits and who fit the criteria needed to apply

Telephone: 01666 848 667

The National Benevolent Charity was formed in 1812 this charity is one of the oldest established benevolent funds. It now has King Charles as its patron, and provides individual grants to those who fit the terms of application which include having already applied to other job related benevolent funds if relevant.

Rainy Day Trust (RDT) – For people in the UK home improvement industry

Telephone: 0800 9154627 

The Rainy Day Trust was named in 2004 but has its origins dating back to 1843. The trust  supports employees of the home improvement industry. They provide financial grants, and to be eligible you must be on a low income, have less than £10,000 in savings and have worked for at least one year with one company.

Road Haulage Association – For employees of road haulage

Telephone: 01733 261131

The Road Haulage Association was formed in 1945 although it has origins dating back to 1932. This charity provides support for employees and their families in the road haulage industry. Their benevolent fund provides various grants including funeral costs.

Police Charities UK (PCUK) – For police officers

This is not a charity but a list of charities which serve the past and present police officers and their families.

League of Helping Hand (LHH) – For those on very low incomes

Telephone: 01444 236099

Formed in 1908 the League of Helping Hand provides financial grants to those on a very low income, who are in receipt of benefits who have tried all other sources of funding, including the Government and charities. To be eligible an applicant must have learning difficulties, mental or physical condition. Carers who are caring for an adult or child with a disability are also eligible.

Railway Benefit Fund (RBF) – For railway and station staff

Telephone: 0345 241 2885

Formed in 1858 the Railway Benefit Fund charity provides financial grants, legal and confidential advice to past and present employees which includes their families. They also offer a free will service.

The Transport Benevolent Fund (TBF) – For public transport staff and their families 

Telephone: 0300 333 2000

The Transport Benevolent Fund was formed in 1923 and offers financial grants, emotional and other forms of support under the HOW CAN WE HELP tab and legal advice under the LEGAL ADVICE tab.

The Junius S. Morgan Benevolent Fund – For nurses, midwives and nursing associates

Telephone: 0207 399 0067

Founded in 1890 the Junius Benevolent fund assists nurses and healthcare workers. These nurses and healthcare workers must have been working in the UK for a minimum of five years to qualify for help.

Unfortunately at present the fund is unable to offer financial help with funeral costs, but can offer other financial grants.

The Care Workers Charity (CWC) – For all those in the caring industry

The Care Workers Charity was formed in 2009. This charity provides one off financial grants for past and present carers.

Hospitality Action – For people who make food

Telephone: 0808 802 0282

Hospitality Action was formed in 1837 to provide financial grants for past and present employees, although past employees must have worked for a minimum of seven years in the industry. They also offer an advice hub for emotional issues such as bereavement.

The Timber Trades Benevolent Society (TTBS) – For employees of the timber industry

Telephone: 07767 723666

The Timber Trades Benevolent Society was formed in 1897 this benevolent fund provides both financial help for past and present employees who have worked in the timber industry for at least ten years. They can also look into cases whereby an individual has only worked for five years.

Teaching Staff Trust – For present and retired staff who have worked in an educational role with under 19’s

Telephone: 01322 293822

The Teaching Staff Trust was formed in 2017 this trust has origins dating back to 1797 when started as the Society of Schoolmasters. They can provide grants to help different situations.

Grocery Aid – For employees of the grocery industry

Telephone: 0808 802 1122

Grocery Aid was formed in 1857 to assist employees of the grocery industry. Individuals who are experiencing financial hardship due to a traumatic event can apply for a financial grant. They also provide a helpline for emotional support as well as counselling and practical help on legal advice. Home visits can also be arranged.

Racing Welfare Trust – For employees of British horse racing 

Telephone: 0800 6300 443

Racing Welfare Trust was formed in 1900 this trust provides financial grants to help with various different needs. They also provide other forms of support including mental health support.

The Fishermen’s Mission – For fisherman and their families

Telephone: 0800 634 1020

Founded in 1881 The Fishermans Mission was initially set up to provide essential support such as food and emotional support.

In the modern day it provides financial grants for various needs including housing costs such as rent, utility bills, household goods and educational costs.

Bereavement support, and other emotional support as well as home visits to help with form filling, and other paperwork is available.

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) – For farmers, crofters, and their families

Telephone: 0800 188 4444

RABI was founded in 1860 and offers support in various different financial grants which cover many different areas. They also offer a comprehensive range of emotional and practical help including counselling and support services.

Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) – For Scottish farmers, crofters and families

Telephone: 0808 1234 555

RSABI was founded in 1897 and offers support in various financial grants for essential items which cover many different areas. They also offer a large range of emotional and practical help including counselling and support services.

Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE) – For building service engineers

Telephone: 0208 675 5211

The Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers was formed officially in 1976 and then renamed in 1985 its origins date back to 1897 and 1909 when two charities were formed. Their benevolent fund which is the IHVE Benevolent Fund was set up in 1933 and supports employees and their families.

The Drinks Trust – For employees of the alcoholic drink industry and their families

Telephone: 0800 915 4610

The Drinks Trust was founded in 1886 under the name of ‘The Benevolent’. In 2020 it changed its name to ‘The Drinks Trust’.

This benevolent fund provides help to all those who are employed in the alcoholic drink industry. Help is by way of emergency grants and other financial support including white goods, as well as other support services including counselling and legal advice.

The Retail Trust – For employees of the retail industry facing the public

Telephone: 0808 801 0808

The Retail Trust was formed in 1832 to support those working in the retail industry, the trust helps with financial aid and emotional support in the form of a wellness hub which includes counselling. They offer a large range of bereavement support services.

Army Benevolent Fund – Army personnel and their families 

Telephone: 0207 901 8900

The Army Benevolent Fund is one of the larger benevolent funds formed in 1944. The fund assists soldiers, veterans and their families with individual grants under WAYS WE CAN HELP which includes funeral costs, and emotional support under KEY CONTACTS. They also fund many other front line charities.

The RAF Benevolent Fund – RAF employees, veterans and their families 

Telephone: 0300 102 1919

The RAF Benevolent Fund was formed in 1919 the fund can in some cases provide support for funerals and bereavement. They also provide grants for important household items and bills. Counselling support is also offered.

Footwear Industry Trust (FIT) – For employees of the footwear industry

Telephone: 07999 126572

The Footwear Industry Trust was formed in 1836 this charity provides both financial help for all those past and present in the footwear industry. Employees must have worked for a minimum of five years in the industry.

Electrical Industries Charity – For all employees of the electrical/energy industry and their families

Telephone: 0800 652 1618

Formed in 1905 the Electrical Industries Charity provides Support Services for bereavement counselling, legal advice, and financial assistance.

Benevolent funds, charities and support schemes

A comprehensive list of benevolent funds can be found by visiting the link.

For a list of helpful organisations The Association of Charitable Organisations provides a member directory of all the charities in the UK.

Cancer UK has produced a short list of charities that help both service and ex-service people.

For a list of possible funeral grants for disabled people visit Disability Grants.

Help with Funeral Costs lists financial help from the Government, and other help including Money Helper and charities.

Financial grants search portal

Lightning Reach was more recently formed during the Covid 19 period as a free to use portal which has access to over 2500 charities, benevolent funds and support schemes. This portal is popular for quickly locating help for a particular trade, but likewise it is still advisable to visit the charity/trust directly once you have located them through the portal as the charity/trust can provide you with all their services which may not be listed on the portal.

For further helpful information covering different aspects of funerals from poems, flowers, bereavement gift ideas, what to wear at a funeral, low-cost headstones and much more, visit the Save Funeral Costs™ blog.

SW Barratt
Founder: SW Barratt

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