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Click on these questions to get answers to your frequently asked questions.

What does connecting to a bank account through Lightning Reach mean?
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Once you log in, you will be guided through a simple process to connect your account. You will provide the email addresses of any adults in your household as they will need to do this too. This gives us access to view the last 3 months of your statements only (from the date that you connected). We cannot view any other time period, or make any changes to your account.


Is it safe to connect my bank account through Lightning Reach?

Lightning Reach uses the latest technology to process your information in a secure way. It is safer to transfer information through Lightning Reach than via email or post. You can read more about this safety here.


What if I don’t connect my bank account through Lightning Reach?

Priority will be given to applications which provide financial evidence in this way. If you do not have online banking we will accept a full months bank statement as a pdf at the point of application (for the account your income goes into) which is no more more than two months old. We do not accept screenshots.

Within 10 working days of completing Stage 1 of the application process, you will receive an email from, which has the subject line Continue your National Benevolent Charity Application. Please open the email and follow the instructions. You will need a smart phone for the security code and to scan the QR code.

If you do not receive the email please check your junk or spam.

I received a grant but still need more help/additional funds
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If you receive a grant, you will not be able to apply again for twelve months. However, there are other organisations you might be eligible to apply to such as Turn2Us or Lightening Reach.

Will you pay for an item I have already bought?
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We do not provide funds for goods or services already purchased.

Do you provide emergency help?
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We do not currently offer emergency help.

Do I have the right of appeal if I don't like what I have been offered?
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Our policy is to award grants based on all the available information and in good faith. The budget we have available at the time of decision will also be a factor in some decisions. Consequently, our decision to award or not to award and the value is our decision alone and is not subject to complaint by the applicant or referrer. Consequently, there is no appeals basis in these circumstances.

Why have you refused my application?
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Around 85% of those applicants who supply all the information requested are successful and receive a grant however we cannot help everyone who appies and unfortunately we refuse some applications.

How do I send supplementary information?
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If we ask for supplementary information, please attach it to your reply email. We accept photographs, pdfs, or jpegs. Please do not send paperwork as we cannot ensure it is secure and post is not picked up regularly.

I have emailed my supporting evidence or have asked a question but have not yet had a response?
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We respond to applicants in date order. During busy periods this may mean a delay of 5 working days. But we will get back to you!

Who can I use as a referrer ?
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Your referrer must be an independent person who is professionally involved with you for example a Charity Advice or Support Worker, Social Worker, Housing Officer, Money Advice Worker, CAB Advisor, Health Visitor etc. They should write a statement or letter which should include: a description of your current circumstances, what you are applying for, how they are professionally involved with you and that they support your application.

Can I apply without a referrer?
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No. We have limited funds, and we try to ensure that our funds go to those most in need. A referrer who can verify your situation means that you are more likely to receive a grant that meets your needs.

How often can I apply?
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Households can only have one successful application per twelve months and no more than three successful applications in a five year period.

If I am successful, how will I receive my grant?
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We normally supply a voucher via Select Rewards. You will be able to redeem the voucher online or in store with various retail outlets. But we also can pay cash or pay suppliers direct or pay a third party such as a landlord. We try to be flexible and make sure that a grant is awarded in the most appropriate way.

I do not have an email address can I still apply?
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If you are applying for yourself you need a valid email address as our system uses the email address to identify you.  In addition, we always correspond via email. If you do not already have an email address we suggest that you set up a Hotmail or Gmail email address for the purposes of your application.

If you are applying for someone else as a referrer, provided you select referrer as contact in the application form, the applicant email address is not required. Please do not use made up email addresses or work colleagues email addresses for applicants.

Can I apply over the phone or use a paper application/I am having difficulties applying online?
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No. We ask that you always apply via our secure application form on our website.  If you are having difficulties, please contact your referrer to ask for assistance or try the following:

  • Use a different browser  
  • Refresh your browser
  • Ensure that the documents you are uploading are no more than 10Mb per file and are one of the following - pdf, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, txt, rtf, zip, jpg, jpeg,  png, gif  

If you need to contact a member of the grants team, please use our contact form on the website or email supplying as much information as possible of the type of issue you are experiencing.

How long will I have to wait for a decision ?
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Provided you have supplied all the information we have requested, and your application is not for an exceptional item, we can usually decide within 15 working days. Applications for exceptional items may take up to six weeks.

How will you contact me?
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We will contact you by email. We only phone applicants in exceptional circumstances.

How long until I hear from you?
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We aim to provide an initial response within 15 working days but during busy periods this could take a little longer. If you have not heard from us, please check your junk mail or spam.


Find out about our grants
and how  to apply

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