Hardship Fund

Financial support for the most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis

What is 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.

Official Referral Partners register people with us for support.

The fund then provides short term financial help for people who can’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

We work with a network of organisations to reach the people in greatest need.

Who can we help?

We can help people who can’t afford the essentials because they have:

  • No income or welfare support
  • Delays to accessing income or welfare support

We cannot help anyone:

  • In employment
  • Already receiving financial support from statutory or voluntary services

You can check the eligibility criteria when making a referral

How much money do you get?

Our network of Referral Partner organisations register people for cash assistance.

They can request a one-off payment of £120 or a three month grant.

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

Families with children or other dependants can receive up to three grants, for a total of £1,080 over the three months.

How do pre-paid cards work?

The money will be delivered on a pre-paid card provided by our partner Bankable to the applicant’s chosen address.

The cards can be used online or in shops using chip and pin or contactless. ATM withdrawals are limited to £35 for the lifetime of the card.

The card expires after 14 weeks and any remaining balance is returned to the British Red Cross.

How do you get a card?

We are working with statutory and voluntary partner organisations to ensure we are helping the people in greatest need.

We can only accept referrals from official Referral Partners who are registered with the Hardship Fund.

If you are already a Referral Partner, you can make a referral on this site.

If you would like more information please read the FAQs.


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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