How to make money

Grants funding - Find out how to get free money

Information about UK and USA grants

This guide will take you through whatís available, and how to apply for the free cash. Get busy in your free time and you could see the free money rolling in.

What is a grant?

A grant is an amount of money given to an individual or business for a specific project or purpose. You can apply for a grant from the government, local councils and charities. You wonít need to pay a grant back, but thereís a lot of competition and they are almost always awarded for a specific purpose or project.


Advantages include:

  • you wonít have to pay a grant back or pay interest on it
  • you wonít lose any control over your business


Disadvantages include:

  • youíll have to find a grant that suits your specific project, which can be difficult
  • thereís a lot of competition for grants
  • youíll usually be expected to match the funds youíre awarded, eg a grant might cover part of the cost of a project but youíll have to fund some of it yourself
  • grants are usually awarded for proposed projects, not ones that have already started
  • the application process can be time-consuming

Lottery Funding

Uses Lottery money to make positive changes for communities, through the fair and open funding of people, projects and programmes, with a particular emphasis on tackling need. BIG was set up in 2006 and is the largest Lottery distributor. Learn more


The leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs in the UK. UnLtd operates a unique model by investing directly in individuals and offering a complete package of resources; from awards of funding, to ongoing advice, networking and practical support. Learn more

Local Trust

Aims to enable people to make their communities better places to live. Local Trust was created to be the corporate trustee of the Big Local Trust Ė the independent trust that funds Big Local. Local Trust provide a mix of funding and finance to aim to help to create long-term sustainable change, maximise impact and make the best use of scarce resources. Learn more

Heritage Lottery Fund

Gives grants to a wide range of projects involving the local, regional and national heritage of the United Kingdom. HLF was set up by Parliament in 1994 and distributes a share of the money raised by the National Lottery for Good Causes. It helps groups and organisations of all sizes throughout the UK. Learn more

The Savoy Educational Trust

The Savoy Educational Trust gives grants to people entering or working in the hospitality industry, or charities offering hospitality related education projects. Either scholarships of £5,500 to young people to help with their training or grants up to £500 to purchase items such as books, uniform and kitchen equipment e.g.. knives. Initial contact/ request for funding should be made in writing. Learn more

Learner Support Funds

Learner Support Funds can give 16-19 year olds in England financial support for the costs of books and equipment, visits and field trips, and emergencies affecting personal circumstances. Learn more

Care to Learn

If you are under 20 and want to start or return to learning, Care to Learn may be able to pay for your childcare costs. Learn more

Children Today Charitable Trust

The Children Today Charitable Trust supports children and young people with disabilities under 25. Grants are available for up to £1,000 to provide vital, life-changing specialist equipment, such as wheelchairs, walking aids, trikes, educational toys, communication aids, lifting and posturepaedic sleep equipment and specially designed sensory equipment like fibre optic sprays.01244 335 622 Learn more

The Prince's Trust

The Prince's Trust is a youth charity that helps change young lives. We give practical and financial support to disadvantaged young people, developing key workplace skills such as confidence and motivation. We work with 13 to 30-year-olds who have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law. Learn more

Up to £3,500 for insulation and heating improvements

For example, one of the main schemes in England is called Warm Front, which gives up to £3,500 to homeowners or those who rent from a private landlord and receive certain benefits. You can find out if you are eligible on the Warm Front website or by calling free on 0800 316 2805. In Scotland the scheme is called the Energy Assistance Package, in Northern Ireland it's Warm Homes, and in Wales it's the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme.

Free loft & cavity wall insulation plus solar energy discounts

A further big scheme is the Green Project. This provides grants for loft and cavity wall insulation to all homeowners and private tenants, and people on an income or disability related benefit can have these insulation measures installed for free.

Search 100s of energy grants and discounts

This is one of the main areas to grab cash at the moment, as we are encouraged to try and reduce our impact on the environment. Installing energy-saving heating and insulation will make your house warmer and save you money; an average saving of up to £200 per year can be made.

The Government, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants to help you implement energy saving measures. The best place to start is the Government's Energy Saving Trust (EST) which lists most of these grants in one place. Just use its grant search tool or call 0800 512 012 (more info for those in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

Free cash to help pay for utility arrears

As well as grants to make your home more energy efficient some utility companies also offer them to help if you have large arrears on your gas, electricity or water bills. You'll usually need to be a customer of the company, so if yours isn't listed contact it to see if it has a similar scheme.

Homeheat gives advice on utilities (inc. grants and reduced tariffs) to people struggling to pay their bills and keep warm. You can call 0800 33 66 99 or check the website for info.

Gas & Electricity: Schemes are offered by British Gas Energy Trust, EDF Energy Trust, Npower First Step

Water: The Water UK website has info on all the water company schemes (some also help with gas and electric arrears). Plus if you're on a meter and have three or more children under the age of 19 or someone in the household with a medical condition needing lots of water, you could get help from the WaterSure scheme.

South Essex residents: The Warm and Healthy Homes Partnership has insulation and heating grants for households that spend more than 10% of their household income on gas/electric, or if their state pension is over half their household income.

Coal-fired or electric heating users

If you aren't able to get mains supply gas to your property E.on has a scheme called HeatPlant which heats your home and provides hot water by collecting energy from the ground. You need to be on benefits, live in your own home or private rented accommodation and not live in a solid wall property to get the installation (and up to £800 of insulation) for free.

Green grants for local community groups

Grants of upto £50 (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) and £250 (Scotland) are available from Action Earth to community groups wanting to run small environmental projects each July. Projects can be things such as repairing a pathway, collecting rubbish, planting trees or something else. The outcome can have an immediate or lasting benefit to the environment but it needs to involve volunteers

EDFís Green Fund also gives out grants of up to £30,000 (although it expects matched funding, and not from another energy company) in August and February each year to community, non-profit, charitable and educational groups to help cover the cost of renewable energy systems (eg solar or wind). See the Green Fund application form from full details.

There may also be grants available from your local council to help your organisation. As councils can offer different funding, search for details on its website or contact it to ask for more information. To find your local councilís details enter your postcode in the DirectGov website.

Energy Saving Plug

Grass Roots, a company helping the government meet its Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, is offering those over 70 and people receiving certain benefits (such as Council tax benefit, Housing benefit, Income support, Income JSA, Income ESA, AA, DLA - check the full list) a free LIME energy saving plug worth £19.99.

The plug helps you save energy by automatically switching off the electricity to your connected equipment. You can either use it for one piece of equipment such as your TV or PC or for multiple ones connected through a extension cable. You'll can also switch the plug on/off from a distance with a remote control.

Apply for a plug on Energysavingplug before 31 Dec 2010, entering the code 'GREEN' on the sign up form, and the plug will be sent within 28 days. Make sure you enter your postcode and details correctly to avoid confusion. Though it's only one per household, you also get a voucher to get another one half price (£9.99) if you want.

Eaga ShowerSmart

Eaga, an energy efficiency company, is offering all UK households a free Eaga ShowerSmart. The average family of 4 would save about £30 off their gas bills and over £30 off their water bills (where metered) per year, which could equate to £900 over its lifetime.

The ShowerSmart is a device you can fit on your shower tap to help you regulate the water flow and therefore save you money and energy on water. Sadly, it doesn't work with electric showers.

To get the ShowerSmart, visit the special Eaga page and fill in your details. It should be sent to you within 42 days. The offer's ongoing and is limited to one per hosuehold only.

Water efficient products for Anglian Water customers

Customers of Anglian Water can check to see if they're eligible for a water efficiency check, during which an approved plumber will visit your house, check for any leaks and fit free water efficiency products such as a dual flush for your toilet, tap fittings for your shower and sink and a hose pipe gun

To qualify you need to be in an water stressed areas and take a quick survey about your water use at home.

Help around the home

If you are elderly, disabled or on a low income your local Home Improvement Agency (HIA) may help you to repair, improve, maintain or adapt your home. There are around 300 not for profit, locally based HIAs around the country, that can help in varying ways. Assistance can include putting together flat pack furniture or looking after your garden. Search for your nearest on the Foundations website (or Care and Repair Cymru in Wales).

Alternatively, independent charity Turn2us has a grant search to help you check for any charities that might be able to help with things like furniture, decorating or bills and household expenses. The grants usually depend on an individual's circumstances, maybe any illnesses or their nationality, occupation, age or income.

Help adapting your home if youíre disabled

A Disabled Facilities Grant is available from your local council to help towards the cost of adapting your home if you, or someone living in your property, is disabled. The grant is for work that is essential to help a disabled person live an independent life. Here's an example. I had a disabled facilities grant to remove my bath and put in a level access shower. Contact the councilís housing or environmental health department and ask them to send you an application form before you start work - if work begins before the council's approved your application you won't normally get anything. Find more info on the grant and your local councilís details on the website.

An additional scheme in Wales is the Rapid Response Adaptations Programme which helps with small-scale alterations to your home (such as ramps, alarms or hand rails) with a grant of up to £350. You need to be referred by a health professional so speak to your doctor if you think you might qualify..

Need help in an emergency?

Families on a means tested benefit, such as Income Support or Pension Credit, may be eligible for a Community Care Grant (which you don't have to pay back) from the governmentís Social Fund, to help pay for certain items or expenses that would ease exceptional pressure on the family; such as damage to a property or essential furniture you cannot afford.

If you're not eligible for the grant there are a couple of interest free loans (you need to pay these back) available in the scheme; Crisis loans (again for emergencies or disasters, but you don't have to be getting benefits in order to get the loan) and Budgeting loans (for any day to day spending).

Demand is extremely high for all Social Fund money at the moment and there isn't a bottomless pot of money but if you think you qualify and really need the cash ask at your local Job Centre.

Local council or housing association grants

There may also be other grants for your home (including for landlords) available from your local council, such as the Home Repair Assistance Grant, or Housing Association (if you are a tenant of one). As councils can offer different funding, search for details on its website or contact them to ask for more information.

To find your local councilís details enter your postcode in the DirectGov website. Do be careful to check if there are any restrictions on council grants, as some need you to have lived in the property for a number of years or require you to repay part of the grant if you move within a certain timeframe.

Pell Grant

Question: What is a Pell Grant?

A Pell Grant is money the U.S. federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college. If you think you don't have enough money to pay for college, the U.S. government can help through the Federal Pell Grant Program.

Answer: Pell Grants are federal grants for low-income students. Unlike most federal assistance, these grants do not need to be paid back. Grants range in size from $555 to $5,550, with an average award of $3,800. To qualify for a Pell Grant, a student needs to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

USA Government grants are awards of financial assistance to an individual and/or organization. Search for your federal grants by keywords or more specific criteria. All discretionary grants offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies can be found on You do not have to register with to find grant opportunities.

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More grants

Vocalise runs an open grants programme (£5,000-20,000) which encourages music making for children and young people aged 5-18 (or up to 25 for those with special education needs, disabilities or in detention).

University Grants
There is a host of funding opportunities out there for students about to become, or who are currently, undergraduates. Here at Uni Grants we have compiled a selection of organisations that offer funding of this nature and detailed the typical grants they offer.

The Rank Foundation
The Rank Foundation provides support for young people to encourage leadership amongst them. Grants are available for local community initiatives. 0207 834 7731

Family Fund
We are the UKís largest provider of grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people. We help ease the additional pressures families face. We can help with essential items such as washing machines, fridges and clothing but can also consider grants for sensory toys, computers and much needed family breaks together.

First Light Movies
First Light Movies funds the making of short films by young people aged 5- 19 years.

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