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Whether you’re a student or a business owner, it’s not a secret that you might need financial assistance to help you out. The good thing about asking assistance is that there are many funding options that you can choose from, and free grants are one of them.

Where Can I Learn More About Grants?

  • Better Business Finance – provides impartial information and support for business and entrepreneurs who are looking to develop and grow. This was set up by Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander in 2011 and is managed by the British Bankers’ Association in collaboration with their business and finance partners.
  • Gov.uk Finance and Support Finder – the search function of the site can be used to find government-backed support and finance. Search can be customised by location, size and activity.
  • Turn2us – a grant database that has more than 3,000 charitable funds that offer welfare and educational grants, including other support and services.
  • GRANTfinder – the leading UK grants and policy database.
  • GovernmentFunding.org – search for funding for the voluntary and community sector.
  • Funding Central – a guide to more than 4,000 grants, contracts and loans.
  • Citizens Advice Bureau – offers free, confidential and impartial advice from more than 3,000 locations, including grants.

List of Government Grants

What are these exactly and how do they help you out? Read on to find out.

What Is A Grant?

A grant, put simply, is the amount of money that is given to an individual or a business for a specific project or purpose. Basically, it is like a loan where you get a specific amount of money to use for a specific purpose. However, a grant is quite different from a loan, especially in terms of payback.

With a grant, you do not need to pay back the money. This is in contrast when it comes to loans, which you do have to pay back at a given time.

Many organizations offer grants, including the government, the European Union, local councils and charities.

Grants are also time limited. They are offered to implement existing government policies, start new ways of undertaking studies and projects, or to secure agreed outcomes.

Why Choose a Grant?

One of the best characteristics of choosing free grants over other financial assistance options is that you do not have to pay them back. With loans, you get the money, but you also have to worry about paying it back at a certain time. With a grant, you are given the money which you can use for the purpose you asked it for without ever having to think about paying it back in the future.

Whether you’re a business owner or an individual, you will appreciate the fact that you get the assistance you need without ever thinking about how you can gather the resources to pay back the amount you took.

When you take out a loan, you do get the money you want, but you must pay this back in full. Not only that, you have to pay interest at an agreed rate as well. In short, you somewhat pay more than the money you originally owed.

With grant, you do not need to do this. The only thing with a grant is that it is very specific. Yes, it guarantees that you do not have to pay for anything once you secure the money, but your reason for applying for one need to fit a certain purpose.

Although it may be time consuming to apply for grants, some still prefer the option. Why is that the case? Suppose someone decides to opt for a loan but the interest rates are so high. When this happens, seeking a grant seems like a more attractive option given the fact that there is no need to pay back the money that was given.

from www.grantauthority.com

What Are the Different Kinds of Grants?

Given that grants are awarded for a specific project or purpose, those applying for one need to look for that one specific grant to answer their needs. For example, if you’re a student and are looking for financial assistance for living costs, you can apply for a maintenance grant. You need to use the money specifically for this purpose only.

With grants though, the application process can be a bit time consuming. Using the same maintenance grant example, a student needs to fulfil certain requirements in order to be granted. For example, they must be a full-time English student and they need to provide details about household income and the start date of their course. The maintenance grant is paid to the bank account of the student at the start of term.

Other than a maintenance grant, what are the other types of grants available?

For students

  • Special Support Grant – the amount a student receives is dependent on their household income. A Special Support Grant is intended to be used for assistance when it comes to additional course-related costs such as books, childcare, equipment and travel.

There are certain requirements needed in order for a student to be granted a Special Support Grant, and some of these include: being a lone parent, having a partner who is also a student and being 60 years or older.

  • Travel Grant – students can avail of a travel grant to cover expenses when they travel. An example of this is when a student lives in England but is studying away from away. Medical and dental students can also qualify to help with the costs of attending placements in the UK.

A student can be granted a travel grant when they study abroad as part of their course or an an ERASMUS study or work placement or they are a medical or dental student studying abroad or attending a clinical placement in the UK.

  • Childcare Grant – full-time higher education students who have children can apply for a Childcare Grant of the following nature: up to up to £150.23 a week for 1 child and up to £257.55 a week for two or more children (these values are applicable for 2024 to 2015).

A Childcare Grant is able to help with childcare costs for children who are under 15, under 17 or have special education needs.

  • Adult Dependants’ Grant – full-time students can apply for an Adult Dependants’ Grant who have on adult who is financially dependent on them. The maximum Adult Dependants’ Grant is £2,642 every year. The exact amount that you receive is dependent on income and the dependant adult’s income.
  • Fee Grant – applicable to part-time higher education students to pay for their tuition fees.
  • Course Grant – applicable to part-time higher education students to help with other costs related to their education, including books, materials and travel.

from www.college-financial-aid-advice.com

Students can also get funding for postgraduate study through various means, one of which are grants. Charities and trusts often provide grants for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or those who have achieved academic excellence. A lot more can be learned about grants from charities and trusts from different publications such as (you can search your local library for these):

  • the Educational Grants Directory
  • the Charities Digest
  • the Grants Register
  • the Directory of Grant Making Trusts

Here’s a video on funding grants from private schools courtesy of UK Grants via Youtube

For homeowners

  • Disabled Facilities Grant – Special rules need to be followed when applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant. This can be granted by a local authority so that work can be carried out in order to help a disabled person live an independent life. Here are some requirements for granting a Disabled Facilities Grant: making it easier to get in and out of the house (providing ramps, widening doors, etc.), making it easier to get to any part of the house (installing stairlifts, providing downstairs bathroom) and making it easier to access garden.
  • Renovation Grant – a property is eligible for a Renovation Grant when I is unfit for human habitation, fit to live in but is in disrepair and is at least 10 years old – among others.
  • Repair Grant – available to landlord, agents and tenants to help with the cost of repairing houses.
  • Replacement Grant – for replacement of homes located in rural areas that have been ruled unfit to live in.
  • Home Repair Assistance Grant – can be used to fulfil small-scale repair work.

For businesses

A company can apply for a business grant to cover the costs of a project they are undertaking. However, the project needs to be a proposed one and not one that has yet to start. This is one of the requirements needed for being given a business grant. For example, the Regional Selective Assistance in Scotland gives a business grant for business projects which create and safeguard jobs.

Here are other kinds of grants that can be given to businesses:

  • Research & Development Grant – this supports business competition through the improvement of products and services. It is organised by the Scottish Enterprise. A Research & Development Grant is available for companies of all sizes located in Scotland. There are a number of factors for granting a Research & Development Grant such as the nature of the R&D, links to other local companies and whether there is a global market opportunity.
  • Childcare Business Grant – the Childcare Business Grant is given to set up a childminding business or nursery in England. This is organised by the Department of Culture, Media & Sports. The Childcare Business Grant is available only for a temporary time until all the grant money is allocated.
  • Commercial Property Grant Scheme – the Commercial Property Grant Scheme is available for businesses located in the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock so they can restore architectural heritage.

These are just a few of the many business grants that can be awarded to businesses in the UK. More information about other kinds of grants can be found here.

Where Can You Avail of Grants?

A lot of organizations provide grants, including:

  • private finance providers – these include banks
  • public funding – these include government schemes

Government departments and agencies are the biggest distributors of grants. They offer these to different third party organisations like a charitable organisation to carry out work on their behalf.

There are other major grant distributors in the UK as well, including the National Lottery, charitable trusts and corporate foundations.

Are You Applicable for a Grant?

A grant isn’t automatically given to those who request for it. There is a process that must be followed. Given the fact that grants only apply to specific projects, it may be difficult to find one to finance what you need. Grants are also only awarded to proposed projects and not the ones that have already started. This means that you have to submit documentation to prove that you meet the requirements set out for getting the grant.

When you need to apply for a grant, check with the requirements to see if you are eligible to apply for it. Others also make use of grant writing services when submitting an application for a grant. The process involves search, proposal and accounting for competitive grant funds.

What Is the Difference Between a Loan and a Grant?

A grant is a gift of money that is given by an organisation for a specific project or purpose. Of course, you need to be in financial need and actually have to qualify in order to be granted the money you need. A good thing about grants is that you do not need to pay back the money you received from it.

A loan is the amount of money that you are allowed to borrow from banks and other financial institutions in order to pay for something that you need. Unlike grants, you have to pay back loans in regular instalments, whether this is on a monthly basis or a weekly basis. Another thing about loan repayments is that an interest is required. Although there are loans available in the market that are actually interest-free.