In a previous time I worked as a chartered accountant. Every year when paying my membership fee, I was asked if I would consider contributing to The Chartered Accountant’s Benevolent Fund (CABA). Role forward to now and I’ve called on their help on a number of occasions. I first made contact when my childcare provision fell through and I struggled to find a replacement. They had a free advice line who kindly investigated the options available. Then when getting a ground floor bedroom and wet floor shower room put in, they help with that. During a bleak time for me, the help line was available 24 hours per day. Finally last year, when Bobath had to start charging for their services, they immediately covered the cost. As you can see the services they offer are extensive and are open to anyone who is or was a chartered accountant and their family.
Since then I’ve discovered a whole host of other unusual sources of help. Few offer the comprehensive range of services that CABA do, but many are able to cover a variety funding needs. Many large organisations have them for both current and previous employees as do trade unions, professional bodies and the armed forces. Also some memeber groups of friendly societies are able to make small discretionary grants.
Finding them isn’t as easy as with CABA who have a dedicated web site. A quick search under benevolent fund shows up plenty. You can narrow it down to areas specific to you but it’s also worth a general level search in case you miss a category. For friendly societies it’s the local member branches that tend to be able to help and you'll find details in their newsletters.
Each organisation will have different criteria, applications, limits and award periods so you cannot guarantee a quick outcome. Because of that, it may be worthwhile identifying some that are relevant to you before you need them
If you have any other suggestions for unusual or perhaps unknown bodies who help, please share them in the comments section.