“Not everyone feels comfortable seeking help during difficult times but that’s exactly why the RCN Foundation Benevolent Service was set up,” says Sarah McGloin, Head of Grants and Impact at the RCN Foundation.
The service is for nursing and midwifery staff, including nursing support workers, who are struggling financially due to a change in their situation that means they can’t afford to pay for the essential costs.
Don’t let the thought of tricky admin deter you
Staff at the Foundation are concerned that some people may feel put off by the thought of laborious paperwork, so they’re on a mission to explain that the application process is now simple.
The Foundation will ask to see some documentation, but only that which shows your income, savings level, and that you’ve worked in one of the nursing or midwifery roles they support.
“Please don’t let the thought of tricky admin deter you,” Sarah says. “You only need to complete a one-page online form. That usually takes about half an hour, and you can get someone to help you if you want. If you can’t complete the online form, get in touch to find out about the support we can offer. We’re here to help.”
All nursing staff can apply for grants. This includes health care support workers, nursing associates, maternity support workers and nursing apprentices living in the UK who have practised in a health care support role for three or more years, under the supervision of registered nurses or midwives.
Applicants who’ve previously worked in these roles, who are now retired or off sick, can also be considered for funding, although they’ll need to provide evidence of their work history.
“One health care support worker who was recovering from a stroke got in touch,” Sarah says. “He couldn’t work his usual hours, so his income declined and keeping up with rent, bills and food became difficult. We signposted him towards some additional benefits he didn’t know about and awarded £500 to help him cover living costs.”
It’s a quick process too. The Foundation aims to tell you if you’ve been successful in your application within two weeks of receiving your supporting documents, and once approved, you’ll receive the funds within seven working days.
All nursing staff can apply for grants
Getting in touch with the Foundation can also help you and the nursing community in other ways.
“Even if we can’t offer you a grant, we’ll do all we can to support you if you apply, which might mean putting you in touch with other sources of help,” Sarah explains. “Just by sharing your situation with us, you’re also helping the Foundation deliver support by showing us the issues that are affecting you and the experiences you’ve had.”
Are you eligible?
Apply if you’ve worked in one of the qualifying nursing, nursing support or midwifery roles, you’ve experienced a change in your situation that means you can’t afford to pay for the essential costs you’re facing, and:
- this hardship would continue even if debt repayments and extra spending are put on hold
- your current financial difficulty could not be addressed by using savings, capital (including property), or an affordable borrowing arrangement
- you've applied for benefits if you have an entitlement (use a benefit calculator if you're unsure). A new RCN Foundation portal launching soon will have a benefits checker as a compulsory part of the application process and so you won’t need to do a separate one after this date
- you haven’t already received a hardship grant from the RCN Foundation within the calendar year.