Financial assistance in times of health-related hardship
What can we help with?
If you are experiencing financial difficulties or distress because of sickness, infirmity, disability or any medical condition, we may be able to help financially. The majority of our grants are under £1,000, but we can consider requests for up to £5,000.
Grants can be for a variety of needs such as helping with the cost of medical treatments not available through the NHS or Benenden membership, purchasing specialist equipment, or simply by providing some breathing space if your circumstances mean you struggle with everyday living costs.
It would have caused a great
deal of stress if we hadn't
been able to get help.
Benenden Charitable Trust
just took that away when
they supported us.
Who do we help?
We can help members and former members of Benenden, as well as friends and family named on another person's membership. We also accept non-member referrals from our selected partner charities (Charity For Civil Servants, The Rowland Hill Fund and BT Benevolent Fund). Please note that we do not accept applications from non-members directly.
If you’re not sure, call us on 0800 414 8450 (Mon-Fri 8am-4pm).
How to apply
You can download a printable application form from the link below, or you can request one by calling 0800 414 8450* (Mon-Fri 8am-4pm). Download an application form and guidance leaflet.
Whether you would like to discuss your individual situation, or need help in completing your application, we are happy to advise you. You can also read our grant making principles for a more detailed explanation of what we can help with.
How long does it take?
We will write to you to acknowledge your application within 2 working days of receipt. If we need any more information we will contact you to ask for this. Once we have all the information we need, it usually takes around 2 weeks to reach a decision.
Request more information
If you have any questions which are not answered on these web pages, please use this enquiry form to make an enquiry and one of our team will be in touch soon. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 414 8450* (Mon-Fri 8am-4pm ).
Support for Stress & Anxiety
If you’re a Benenden member, you can call the 24/7 Stress Counselling Helpline and speak with a qualified counsellor who can offer information about local UK services that can help. If you’ve been a member for more than 6 months, Benenden may also be able to help towards the cost of face to face therapy.
There is also a wide range of other organisations that support people with stress and anxiety. Here are a few that we hope you'll find useful:
Debt Advice and Tools for Money Management
If you are experiencing financial difficulties, there are a number of organisations which offer free advice and a range of money management tools to help you deal with debt and get back in control.
StepChange Debt Charity
Debt Remedy Tool - this free and anonymous online tool will create a personal action plan, giving you the best ways to deal with your debt. It takes about 20 minutes to fill out, but you can stop and come back to it as many times as you wish.
A free and impartial debt advice service which gives four simple steps to getting back in control of your finances. You can also phone, or email them, for confidential advice.
Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service has lots of useful advice and tools. The Budget Planner is particularly helpful if you're just starting to tackle your debt.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP)
A national charity specialising in debt counselling for people in financial difficulty, including those in need of bankruptcy or insolvency. CAP also provide Job Clubs for those seeking employment and Release Groups for people looking to overcome addictions and dependencies.
Help from other charities
As well as considering what help we can provide, we will often also be able to direct you to other organisations because of where you have worked, where you live - or another aspect of your individual circumstances.
If you give us your consent, where appropriate we can work directly with a number of other charities to source additional financial support for you.
Request more information
If you have any questions which are not answered on these web pages, please use this enquiry form to make an enquiry and one of our team will be in touch soon. Alternatively you can call us on 0800 414 8450* (8am-4pm Mon-Fri).
A brief history
We were formed at Benenden’s centenary conference in 2005 to help in situations where a member’s personal healthcare plan could not. 2015 was therefore an important year for us as we celebrated 10 years of helping people experiencing financial difficulty as a result of sickness, infirmity, disability or any medical condition.
In our first ten years, we have provided over £650,000 of grants. As awareness of the support we're able to offer increases amongst the Benenden membership, so does the number of requests for assistance.
Benenden Charitable Trust exists to assist people who find themselves in financial difficulty due to sickness, disability, infirmity or any other medical condition. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and grants are made to help with a variety of needs including:
- treatment not available on the NHS or through Benenden membership
- treatment where there are long NHS delays
- specialist equipment and disability aids
- breathing space grants to help people get back on their feet again
The difference we make
Assistance from Benenden Charitable Trust can come in a wide range of forms depending on the needs of the individual. The following stories highlight a number of ways in which we have responded to the needs of Benenden members who have found themselves in difficult circumstances because of ill health.
We are extremely grateful to the individuals featured in these videos for sharing their story and helping to bring the work of Benenden Charitable Trust to life.
Trustees and staff
The Charity is run by a Board of Trustees and a small team of staff.
- Valerie Miskimmon MBE - Committee of Management Trustee (Chair)
- Geraint Day - Committee of Management Trustee
- Mark Regan – Independent Trustee
- Celia Hadfield – Branch Trustee
- Thomas Craigen – Charitable Trust Manager
- Amanda Shaw – Charitable Trust Executive
Benenden Charitable Trust is a member of the Association of Charitable Organisations, the national UK umbrella body for Trusts and Foundations that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need.
We rely on the generous donations and fundraising efforts of people like you to enable us to provide financial assistance grants in times of hardship and distress. The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited (“Benenden”) makes an annual donation to cover the running costs of Benenden Charitable Trust, so 100% of the money we receive from individual donations and fundraising go directly to help people in need.
In September 2016, Benenden Charitable Trust and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) are teaming up to organise Cycle GB 2016 - a 600 mile charity bike ride from SAMH’s home in Glasgow to Benenden Hospital in Kent.
Frequently asked questions
What does the Charity do?
The charity exists to relieve hardship and distress caused by sickness, infirmity, disability or any medical condition by providing financial assistance.
Does the Charity only help members?
Applicants must be a Member, former Member, or Nominee, of Benenden. Applications from individuals who do not satisfy these eligibility criteria will be considered only through referral from selected charities.
Are applications means tested?
Yes. The Charity considers the full circumstances of the applicant and their household, and the background to their individual situation. To make a decision, evidence is needed of all income, savings and capital, and all outstanding liabilities for all members of the household. Assistance will not normally be provided where overall savings are more than £15,000.
Why do I need to give details about the household?
This information is used to get a picture of your full circumstances and therefore your needs. Without it we cannot understand the full picture and so won’t be able to make a decision on what help we can provide.
What financial information do I need to give?
We’ll need details and supporting documents such as full monthly bank statements and relevant bills. We look at all your income and expenditure, so this includes housing costs, utility bills and household expenditure. We’ll ask about savings or assets and we also need to know about any debts, arrears or outstanding bills. If you are asking for help with the cost of medical treatment, or the provision of other, non-medical, products or services (e.g. stair lifts, home repairs, etc.), we will need copies of formal estimates, quotes or invoices for these costs.
What will you help with financially?
All applications are considered individually. We’ll look to see what the unexpected need is and where we can be of most help. If it’s an emergency, we may be able to offer a one-off payment to provide some breathing space to allow applicants to put other measures in place or seek further advice.
Is there a limit to the amount I can apply for?
It is unusual for the Charity to make a grant of more than £5,000, and the majority of grants are for less than £1,000.
What if I need more than £5,000?
Where an applicant's needs are more than £5,000 (e.g. where high value medical treatment is needed), the Charity may seek to share costs with other relevant organisations. Applicants will also be encouraged to look at what alternative resources are available to them and where appropriate, to pursue alternative sources of funding (e.g. commercial loans, help from friends and family, or other charitable organisations). If there is still a shortfall the Charity may consider providing financial assistance towards that amount.
Is there an appeals process?
No. The charity's decision on an application is final.
Do you give advice on things like money issues, financial planning or debt?
We can’t provide advice, but may be able to signpost you to an organisation where you will be able to request advice in these areas.
Does Benenden Charitable Trust work with other charities?
We work closely with the Charity for Civil Servants, Rowland Hill Fund and BT Benevolent Fund. We are also continually looking to establish new relationships with other charitable organisations.
How do you use my information?
Where can I get help to complete the application form?
You can speak with a member of our team by calling 0800 414 8450* (Monday – Friday 8-4pm) or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
If I am enquiring on behalf of someone else do they need to sign the enquiry form?
You need to have the person’s full consent to make an enquiry on their behalf. If the person named in the application is not able to sign the form, the person applying on their behalf would be asked to provide documentation confirming that they are authorised to act on their behalf. This could be evidence of an active Power of Attorney or some other form of documentation such as a letter from the applicant him/herself or from the GP, DWHP or other official source.
Can you send an application form to my friend/relative?
We can only send an application form to the person who contacts us. We cannot send the form to anyone if they have not asked for it themselves, as it would be considered unsolicited mail.
Can you help with ongoing assistance over a period of time?
No. We provide one off grants to assist with a short term problem, to help reduce clients’ dependency on charitable funds over time.
How long will it be before you contact me?
After we receive your enquiry, we’ll contact you within a few days to let you know we have received it. We may need further information in order to make a decision. The more information you can provide with your application, the more quickly we can deal with it.
How long does it take to get a decision?
In normal circumstances, the outcome of an application will be notified to the applicant within two working weeks of receipt of all requested information.