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Guide to 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 and is essential reading for those wishing to apply, including "What does Lamplight require someone to do as part of their application?"



Nurses and Midwives that have been registered in the UK...

Can apply whilst working, if unemployed and when retired including those that have been referred to NMC or suspended awaiting NMC decision. Nurses and midwives that been struck off the NMC register are referred to the Partnership Working Group (PWG) Committee for consideration.

Nursing Associates or Trainee Nursing Associates (England only)...

Can apply whilst working, if unemployed and when retired. Must have completed a minimum of three years’ service as a Nursing Associate or Nursing Support Worker in the UK.

Nursing Support Workers...

Can apply whilst working, if unemployed and when retired. Must have completed a minimum of three years’ service in the UK. A nursing support worker includes Healthcare Assistants and Assistant Practitioners that work providing health or social care under the guidance and supervision of a registered nurse, midwife or health visitor.

Nursing degree apprentices...

Must have completed a minimum of three years’ service as a nursing degree apprentice or nursing support worker in the UK.

Student Nurses and Student Midwives...

Can apply if their funding (which may include a bursary or student loan) for their UK programme of study has stopped due to illness. Students and apprentices fleeing domestic abuse or who have experienced a bereavement of a partner that they co-habited with are also eligible to apply.

The individual applying will generally have experienced a change of circumstance. A change in circumstance can refer to unexpected expenditure as well as reduced income. The individual will be assessed to check whether they fulfil one or both of the following:

  • The individual can demonstrate a shortfall between their household income and essential expenditure;
  • The individual requires an essential item or service that they are unable to fund, that they cannot be expected to do without and cannot afford over a reasonable amount of time

Savings is capital that an individual, their partner, and/or dependent children can access at the point of application (when the account is in the parent’s name).

When applying for general support (i.e. support with day to day costs) the following saving limits apply (this includes the savings of a partner and dependent children):

  • £2000 for individuals of working age
  • £5000 for Individuals who have reached or are over state retirement age

When applying for support with one-off costs – such as disability adaptations – these limits do not apply. The cost of that being applied for and the individual’s ability to meet the cost within a reasonable time-frame will be primary consideration.

To be successful in an application for funding, an individual must:

  • Apply for all benefits they may be eligible for
  • Take reasonable steps to increase household income (e.g. renting a spare room out, working additional hours) and reduce non-essential household outgoings. This includes a partner’s income/expenditure and contributions from non-dependants.
  • Access specialist debt advice, if needed

The individual’s circumstances will be fully considered and financial assistance tailored to ensure its biggest impact. The type of assistance available will aim to be flexible to the needs of individuals.

  • A shortfall in income over expenditure caused by the repayment of debt *
  • 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 course where other sources of funding are unavailable
  • Private medical treatment (including support with costs associated with the diagnosis of conditions, such as autism and dyslexia)
  • Legal fees
  • Costs associated with immigration fees, such as visas
  • International travel
  • Top-up fees for care homes
  • Grants for dependants
  • Union membership fees
  • Attendance of NMC hearings (we can however help with the NMC registration fee) 

*Debts include credit cards, loans, store cards, hire purchase agreements, and council tax arrears, utility arrears and mortgage arrears. We also cannot consider payments to Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) and Debt Management Plans.

When there is no disposable income to set up a repayment plan or housing is at risk, support toward the repayment of priority debts can be considered, as can payment toward bankruptcy fees and Debt Relief Orders (DROs).

An individual can only receive one grant each calendar year (January to December)

The following steps make up an application for financial assistance:

1.) Read this guidance in full to check to see if an application is appropriate

2.) Contact RCN Direct to schedule a telephone appointment with the Lamplight Support Service

  • 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.

3.) Complete a Pre-appointment Questionnaire (PAQ) at least two days ahead of your appointment. This will ask details on your household, income and expenditure.

4.) Have your telephone appointment with a Lamplight adviser.

You will be advised on benefit entitlement during your appointment and expected to make any claims for benefits that you may be eligible for. Lamplight would also expect you to take reasonable steps to increase household income (e.g. rent a spare room out, working additional hours) and reduce non-essential household outgoings. This includes a partner’s income/expenditure and contributions from non-dependants. The adviser may require you to seek specialist debt advice before agreeing your eligibility.

5.) If you are deemed eligible for financial assistance, you would need to return documentation. The adviser will outline this in their correspondence. Please note, not everyone is eligible for financial assistance as grants are means-tested. A final decision can only be made once all documentation has been sent to Lamplight.


There is no need to provide documentation until after a telephone appointment with the Lamplight Support Service has taken place. If you are eligible to apply, the adviser will write to you outlining the exact documents we need you to send.

The documentation an individual will need to supply will vary depending on the type of application they are making. At a minimum they will need to supply:

  • Copies of two months’ recent statements from all open bank accounts you hold (and your partner holds, if you have one), including all current, savings and business accounts
  • Recent payslips if you are working
  • Documentation relating to benefits awards and/or applications, if you are receiving benefits or have applied for benefits
  • Evidence of your employment as a nurse, midwife, nursing support worker, nursing associate, nursing apprentice or nursing student. When evidencing employment as a nursing support worker this must demonstrate employment of a minimum of three years
  • Bills and/or quotes relating to the cost being applied for. If an individual is applying for support with costs associated with their health we will require supporting medical documentation.

If an individual is applying for support with costs associated with their health, we will require supporting medical documentation.

If you have a question about the support available, you can email lamplight@rcn.org.uk