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Guide to financial assistance

The primary aim of Lamplight is to support individuals to become financially better-off in the longer-term so they can meet their essential costs without the need of a grant.
We know from experience that the individuals who come to us would prefer to be financially self-sufficient. Therefore we work to establish how they can increase their income and reduce their outgoings through their own actions. Therefore, before considering making a grant we would expect an individual to:

  • Apply for all benefits they may be eligible for;

  • Take reasonable steps to increase household income and reduce household outgoings, which includes a partner’s income/expenditure and contributions from non-dependants;

  • Access specialist debt advice, if needed;

  • Complete a comprehensive budget and provide supporting documents, including bank statements.

The Lamplight team appreciates that sometimes an individual’s own actions alone are not enough to meet certain costs and in these cases we can support individuals with one-off financial assistance.

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 and funds are prioritised according to need. The following information relates to eligibility for charitable grant assistance.

Who can apply?

Registered Nurses and Midwives 

Can apply whilst working, unemployed and when retired, if they have been registered as a nurse and/or midwife in the UK and are currently resident in the UK.

Individuals that have been suspended or removed from the NMC register by a Fitness to Practice panel are subject to review by a committee.

Health Care Assistants (HCAs), Nursing Associates (including trainees) and Nurse Apprentices  

Can apply whilst working, unemployed and when retired, but must have worked in a UK-based healthcare role with their duties directed to them by a registered nurse or midwife for a minimum of three years. They must be resident in the UK. 


Can apply whilst on a pre-registration UK nursing degree programme if they need to take a break from their studies due to illness, or must relocate due to circumstances beyond their control, such as domestic violence.

Please note we cannot general assist students who wish to relocate upon completion of their studies.

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 essential expenditure after all reasonable steps to increase income and reduce expenditure have been taken (essential expenditure does not include consumer credit debt, such as credit and store cards or loans);
  • Savings of under £2000 (£5000 for those that are state retired);
  • 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 is for your own use only and you do not need to return this to us. If you have scheduled an appointment with Lamplight you need to complete and return the pre-appointment questionnaire

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 consumer credit debt, including 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.

How to apply for assistance

An application for financial assistance begins with a telephone appointment in which a member of our team will provide tailored advice and information on: 

  • Eligibility for welfare benefits and tax credits;
  • Assessing a household’s financial capability to meet its outgoings;
  • Ways to increase income and reduce expenditure;
  • Setting an action plan to enable individuals to take steps to improve their financial wellbeing;
  • Additional services that could benefit.

If the advice provided isn’t enough to balance your budget and the Lamplight team think you may be eligible for assistance, they will ask you to return supporting documentation, such as two months’ bank statements from all active bank accounts. You may be asked to take certain actions before we proceed to request documentation, such as applying for benefits or having a debt advice appointment.

Once we receive all the documentation we requested your application will be reviewed at one of our weekly case review meetings. We’ll notify you of an outcome shortly after.

To schedule a telephone appointment:

  • RCN members can call RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100;
  • Individuals not in RCN membership can call 0345 772 6200.

Lines are open 8:30am - 8:30pm, 7 days a week.