Six charities that help women in need

Women can end up in financial difficulty for all kinds of reasons: illness, breakdown of a relationship or losing their job. There is some state help available but there are also some charities that help women in need.

Below is a list of charities that provide support to women. Most provide financial help but some provide housing or other support.

Housing for Women

The charity Housing for Women provides social housing for women and their families across London. It operates across 11 different boroughs and owns and manages over 920 homes across London. Most of these are general needs housing, providing social rent homes to women and their families across the capital. A quarter of tenants are women aged over 60, and the charity supports them to live independently and help prevent isolation.

Housing applicants must be referred to the charity by their local council or an approved referral agency. The charity also runs a helpline for victims of domestic abuse which you can contact on 0208 317 8273.


Refuge was set up to support women and children who’ve experienced domestic violence and abuse. Its centres provide emergency temporary accommodation for women and children fleeing abuse. There are also outreach workers who support women in their homes or in a safe place within the community. The charity can provide a wide range of other help, including practical support around safety planning, housing applications and financial empowerment.

Refuge runs a free 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for women who are suffering domestic abuse on on 0808 2000 247, or you can get in touch online here. 

Margaret’s Fund

Margaret’s Fund started out supporting women with TB (tuberculosis) but now offers financial assistance to women in need in the UK who are suffering from any illness. Because the charity started out supporting women with TB, it prioritises TB and chest and pulmonary illnesses over other diseases. It can issue grants for clothing, extra heating, extra food, for a holiday to convalesce from an illness and disability aids.

The charity doesn’t provide funding for debt, transport, repairs or alterations or general/ongoing funding.

Royal Society for the Support of the Women of Scotland

The Royal Society for the Support of the Women of Scotland was set up to provide support to single women over the age of 50 living in Scotland who struggle to live on a limited income and who have little by the way of savings. It does this by paying an annual grant which currently amounts to £1,320.

In order to qualify for a grant:

  • You must have lived in Scotland for at least two years when you apply
  • You must be unmarried, widowed, divorced or separated.
  • You must also have savings and capital of less than £16,000 (not including your home).
  • Your annual income after tax has been deducted must be less than £17,500.
  • You don’t have to be living alone but you can’t apply for a grant if you’re living with your partner or civil partner.

There are one or two other rules relating to your income and level of debts. You can find this information on the application criteria page of the charity’s website here.

Smallwood Trust

The Smallwood Trust was set up with the aim of helping women on low incomes become financially resilient. It gives out grants through its Women First Direct Fund.

To be eligible for a grant, you have to live on your own or with your children, be on a low income, be of working age, have no more than £5,000 in savings, have no more than £16,000 of debt and have the right to live in the UK. The charity has paid out grants to help someone remain in her rented accommodation and money to help someone buy food for when her grandchildren stay.

St Andrew’s Society for Ladies in Need

St Andrew’s Society for Ladies in Need gives one-off and regular grants to women who are of working age and who cannot earn a living, or those who have retired. The website says that in order to receive financial assistance, recipients need to live alone and have a ‘good education’.

You must also be British born, have limited savings and be claiming all the state help you’re entitled to. If you are in any doubt about your eligibility, for example, you’re not sure if you have the required qualifications, the charity urges you to get in touch for an informal chat as you may still be within its scope.

Bear in mind that the charity cannot give any financial help towards paying off debts.

Have you received any help from charitable organisations? Do you know of any other organisations that support women in need? You can join the money conversation on the Rest Less community or leave a comment below.

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