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Guide to financial assistance

In some circumstances, financial support can be provided to individuals who are experiencing financial difficulties or who have an essential cost that they cannot afford. 

During a telephone appointment, in addition to supporting you with advice and information, our team can explore your eligibility for a grant.

Financial assistance is provided through the RCN Foundation and its charitable funds are supported through voluntary donations.

Whilst we would like to provide financial assistance to all the worthy requests we receive for help, due to limited funds, grant giving is subject to funding guidelines. The following information relates to eligibility for charitable grant assistance.

Who can apply?

Qualified Nurses and Midwives 

Can apply whilst working, if unemployed and when retired.

Health Care Assistants (HCAs) 

Can apply whilst working, if unemployed and when retired but must have worked as an HCA for a minimum of three years.


Can apply whilst on a pre-registration nursing degree programme if their bursary has stopped due to illness or the student must relocate due to circumstances beyond their control, such as domestic violence.

Post-graduate students are not eligible for support through the funds administered through the Lamplight Support Service. The RCN Foundation provides educational grants and for further information about these visit their information on bursaries.

When can someone be considered for funding?

As our fund is means tested, an individual’s circumstances would generally demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • A shortfall between household income and expenditure;
  • Savings of under £2000 (£5000 for retired nurses);
  • Insufficient funds to meet the cost of an essential item or service, such as disability adaptations or household appliances.

If you are unsure whether you are experiencing a shortfall between household income and expenditure, or you would like to look at what you have coming in and going out in order to budget, you can complete this budget form

The budget form can be completed electronically and saved, or printed out to complete by hand. If completing electronically, the form will calculate total income and expenditure for you. You can navigate from one cell to another by clicking into it with your cursor.

What can the fund assist with?

Assistance is made with the full consideration of an individual’s circumstances and support tailored to ensure its biggest impact. The type of assistance available will aim to be flexible to the needs of individuals.

What can’t the fund assist with?

There are certain costs the fund cannot directly assist with and these include:

  • Funeral costs and costs associated with bereavement.
  • Educational or training costs, with the exception of support with cost of living during a Return to Practice.
  • A shortfall between income and expenditure due to credit cards and loans.
  • Private medical treatment where this treatment is available on the NHS.
  • Top-up fees for care homes.
  • Grants for dependents.
  • Costs associated with NMC hearings and legal fees.
  • Union membership fees.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties and one of the above is a factor, we may be able to support you in a different way and would be happy to discuss this with you.

Make an appointment

To make an appointment with the Lamplight Support Service, please call us on 0345 772 6200 between 8.30am and 8.30pm.

Alternatively, RCN members can access the service through RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100.