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Safe Hands - Cost of Living Support


Who can apply?

African Health Policy Network are providing small support grants (up to a maximum of £300) to African Caribbean elders nationally who are living on low incomes.


Priority will be given to those:

  • Over 60 years of age

  • Living with long term health conditions such as HIV, Sickle Cell Anaemia, Mental Wellbeing issues, diabetes, and other long-term conditions

  • Those seeking Asylum or Refuge and caught within the procedural and legal process which means that they have no recourse to funds and are prevented from working

  • Those elders living alone and in isolation without supporting family or networks, perhaps with no (or only the most basic) state pension


AHPN is operating a referral process for this project i.e., community-based organisations will refer service users to us, fill the short application on their behalf and assist in getting support to them directly.

As a Referral Agent you commit to being your client’s representative throughout this process, ensuring that you provide us with the information we need, answer any questions, and support the completion of the process through to grant award and post-grant evaluation feedback.

You can find more information at

Why are we using referrers?

AHPN are a small team and we do not have the capacity to provide individual support for applicants. Referral Organisations are essential in providing local support to individuals with their applications, checking evidence/eligibility and ensuring we reach as many people as possible who are in genuine need.

Referrers also help ensure that applicants are accessing other benefits or support they are entitled to, and that any welfare issues can be identified and supported.

What are our eligibility criteria?

Our support grants are funded from donors who are supporting our work with specific communities. Funds are limited. We have simple and clear criteria to help make the process as easy as possible.

Your client/ service user should be:

  • Of African Caribbean heritage

  • Currently residing in the UK

  • In privately owned, privately rented, or social housing, but NOT in residential care

  • Usually over 60 years of age AND with MINIMAL savings

  • On a low income

*A low income is defined as up to 20% more than the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). You can check this here:


We can only accept one application per household.

What eligibility evidence will we require?

We are expecting that you will know the clients you are referring and be familiar with their needs and situation. You are our trusted partners and while we are happy to take on trust that you are confident of your client’s difficult financial situation and their need for a grant it can assist the application if, as part of the process you can declare that you have seen the following and/or are familiar with, and confident about, your client’s financial situation.

This includes confirming that:

You have seen evidence your client receives Guaranteed Pension Credit or Universal Credit

You have seen recent bank statements/transactions for all accounts or other evidence showing:

a) Low Income (including DWP/pension payments)

b) Any savings accounts

Anything else you need to make us aware of regarding your client’s finances, or that you would like to discuss.

Further to the information boxes on the application form we will also ask you to sign a professional declaration from your work email address.

What do we fund?

We currently have six support streams open:

  • Financial Support - Emergency household fuel and utility payments; fuel key payments; funeral costs, moving costs

  • Home Essentials - Emergency purchase/replacement of household white goods, furnishings, and appliances, e.g., Cooker, fridge, microwave, heaters, furniture etc

  • Digital Connection - Emergency connectivity issues e.g., phone credits. Anything to help older people get online and stay connected and can be used towards the cost of equipment such as tablets and smartphones as well as broadband and data costs.

  • Essential Living Costs - Emergency household food and supermarket shopping; everyday expenses including clothing, food, medicines, travel to medical appointments or other activities.

  • Emergency light building works e.g., mould removal/provision of dehumidifier.

  • Emergency Health Issues e.g., dental, optician, hearing, pharmacy, medicines sanitary items

We are here to help and are always happy to discuss the viability of a grant request if it’s not on this list.

How much are our grants for?

Our maximum grant value for any one stream is £300.  


Our funds are limited. We reserve the right to close our grants programme at any time.


Please bear in mind that applications will be checked and must be realistic. Applications that realistically claim for e.g., a new appliance costing £245.60 and showing the relevant estimate and paperwork may be more likely to succeed than an application simply claiming the maximum amount with no background paperwork.


For our record keeping and monitoring we would like you to keep and pass on to us receipts and paperwork for spends made. Where smaller spends are made on e.g., foodstuffs purchased on market stalls where paperwork is not given, we can show flexibility here.

What don’t we fund?

We do not fund items that should reasonably be provided via statutory services. However, if you have exhausted statutory options for your client then we will consider your application.

We will only pledge grants towards larger cost items such as significant repairs if you/your client has a viable plan of how they will cover the rest of the costs. We are willing to be the first organisation to pledge though.

We do not make grants for holidays or respite breaks, for travel outside the UK, or for use outside the UK.

We do not pay for goods already purchased, except in exceptional circumstances (for example an emergency window or door replacement, which must be paid for on the spot, or an unexpected repair e.g., burst pipe etc). In cases like this, the emergency and payment must have occurred and been made less than 1 month prior to your application.

We do not normally make grants towards mortgage or rent arrears unless there is an exceptional/specific reason for a one-off missed payment.

We do not normally make grants towards credit card debt unless there is an exceptional/specific reason for the bill, and that reason fits our criteria (e.g. an unexpected bill of some kind).

We do not make grants where the older person is not the main beneficiary, for example items for other family/household members who do not also meet our eligibility criteria.

Please note that contributions towards funeral costs must be for a loved one’s funeral for which your client is responsible for the bill.

Grant payment options

Grant payments will normally be made within 21 days of approval; you will be provided with the opportunity to supply payment details. –  account name, number, sort code.


Our preference is to make our grant payments via bacs to:

  • Your client (the grant recipient) - this is our preferred option.

  • You, the referral agency, to pass on as appropriate.


Where possible please attach a copy of the quote or bill with your application. Links to items online, scans or photographs are acceptable.


It is possible that we may provide gift vouchers for you to spend on your client’s behalf or pass on to your client. This is an effective way for you to ensure that the support is being spent as intended.

Our process and procedures

We do our best to process grant applications as quickly as possible. Our grants approvals usually take place twice a month. You should allow 3 weeks from submitting a properly completed application and supporting documentation to receiving an answer on whether a grant is being awarded.  

We may contact you for further information about your application, and we may ask to you provide an additional ‘professional declaration’ about your client’s eligibility and situation.

If AHPN provides a support grant towards an item or service, this becomes the property/responsibility of the named applicant/beneficiary. AHPN holds no responsibility for maintenance, repair, service, or any dispute that may occur with the supplier.

The beneficiaries that you refer can only be awarded one grant per person/household. AHPN is trying to reach as many people in need as possible.

Our funds are limited. We reserve the right to close the fund when monies are exhausted. Our website will state clearly whether we are open for applications or whether we have closed the application window.

We will be contacting the referral organisation, and possibly the named client for feedback, stories, and case studies. You will also be sent a feedback form around 6 weeks after every support grant award. You should complete this with your client where possible. This feedback is essential to our service development and obtaining ongoing funding.

Declined Applications

Should your application for a support grant be declined we will try to assist by signposting to alternative grant services.

The Application Form

You can find more information at



Please enter details of your organisation, the main contact, and the type of organisation you are (Charity, CIC etc). Tell us when you would like to start using the support monies requested.



This is the main part of the application form. Please answer the questions to tell us about your client’s situation so we can confirm they are eligible for one of our grants. They must generally be of 60 years of age and older.


Being in receipt of Guaranteed Pension Credit (GPC) or Universal Credit (UC) identifies a low income. 

If you are sure of your client’s eligibility, please tell us about the person who this grant application is for. We will never contact anyone you are referring without first discussing this with yourself.


Tell us the type of support you are applying for. Please click on the information icon. After filling in a relevant letter e.g. A, B, C, D etc you can provide any additional information.


Tell us about anything you have done to establish that the need for support is justified, and the situation is an emergency. Please detail whether you have sought support from other quarters.


Tell us how you would like the recipient to receive the grant. Please click on the information icon to guide you and place the relevant letter e.g. A, B, C, D etc plus any additional explanation in the box.


Provide any evidence/paperwork that you have to support the claim for support.


Under additional information we aim to collect information that assists with our own monitoring. Guided by the lettering in the information icon please select as many response choices that apply to the person you are referring.


This section allows you to provide more general information on the person you are referring.


This section requires you to make a professional declaration that you are satisfied that the information that you have provided is correct and verifiable.


You will also be declaring that you understand the conditions of the support award.


We have tried to ensure that we make this process straightforward for you and your client, whilst maintaining our own due diligence. We do expect you, in your professional capacity, to have a full understanding and confidence of the need for support, and to take this declaration seriously. We rely on you and your understanding of your client’s needs, to ensure our funds reach those most in need.


Please ensure that your client fully understands the process and authorises you to act on their behalf. We will not normally contact your client directly during this process, but we may occasionally contact clients and referral agents for feedback and case studies.


If you have any questions, please email our team at Support for the quickest response. A member of the team will call you back within 5 working days.


We look forward to receiving your Safe Hands referral application.

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