The Hardship Fund has now closed. New cases cannot be submitted. Payments to existing cases will continue as normal.

Hardship Fund

Financial support for the most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis

Key information

The Hardship Fund was set up to support the most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. It is no longer running and cannot take on any new cases.

The Hardship Fund ended in June 2021. 

What if I still need help?

If you are lonely, worried, or need access to food or medicine, please contact our Coronavirus Supportline.

If you need help with money problems, you can get advice from Turn2Us

What was the Hardship Fund?

The Hardship Fund was created by the British Red Cross with our partner Aviva and the Aviva Foundation to help those most financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The fund provided short term financial help for people who couldn’t afford the essentials:

  • Food and toiletries
  • Somewhere safe to sleep
  • Access to a telephone and the internet
  • Fuel to keep the lights on, cook or stay warm

Official referral partners registered people for support. This network of 400 organisations, made up of local charities, councils, Citizens Advices, national bodies and more across the UK helped us to reach the people in greatest need.

The fund came to an end in June 2021.

Who we helped?

Through these organisations, we provided nearly £4.5 million to more than 19,000 people

We helped people who couldn’t afford the essentials because they had no other form of income or welfare support.

In particular, we supported:

  • 6,500 people who have No Recourse to Public Funds, due to their immigration status
  • 4,000 people who had disruption or delays to welfare benefits or asylum support
  • 3,250 people facing homelessness or living in temporary accomodation
  • 1,500 survivors or gender based violence, including domestic abuse
  • 800 people with a significant deterioration in their mental health

The above categories are non exclusive.

How much money was provided?

Nearly £4.5 million was distributed directly to people in need.

Referral Partners could request a one-off payment of £120 or a three month grant for their clients.

People registered for the three month grant received £360, paid in monthly instalments of £120 each.


The Hardship Fund was created by the British Red Cross with our partner Aviva to help those most financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

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