Am I eligible and what support is available?
Q1. Who is eligible for help?
A1. Any individual who worked for BHS for 12 months or more at any time and in any part of the retail business, i.e., Stores, Head Office – including Luton Finance and Atherstone. You also need to be a UK resident.
Q2. I am currently employed, so can I still apply?
A2. Yes, absolutely. If you’re facing financial difficulties, you can apply whether you’re currently in work, between jobs, on maternity leave or retired.
Q3. What kind of help does the Fund give?
A3. We can provide non-repayable financial grants to individuals facing difficult times. This might be due to struggling to pay bills, buy food or replace essential household furniture and appliances.
There are other instances of hardship which we can help with, such as funeral costs or emergency travel costs. We might suggest other forms of help or advice too.
Q4. I have very large debts. Can the Fund help?
A4. We always do our best to help individuals facing difficult circumstances.
However, as a small charity, if your debts are beyond our level of support, we will suggest other organisations who can provide help with major debts
How do I apply?
Q5. If applying, what initial information do I need to give?
We will initially ask you for a few details about your circumstances, including where you worked and for how long. An application form will then be sent to you for completion, either by post or email to help us understand your difficulties. All information is treated with complete confidentiality. We can provide support to complete the form, should this be needed.
Q6. What happens next?
A6. One of our case workers will contact you to discuss your application in confidence. This can take place by telephone or a face-to-face meeting in a quiet café, for example, whichever is preferred.
Once the case worker has a good understanding of how we might help you, they will send recommendations to our Trustees, who will agree the help to be offered. This will be communicated to you by your case worker.
Q7. Once I’ve provided all the information you need, how quickly will I hear?
A7. On average 1-2 weeks. If you face an urgent situation such as eviction, utilities being cut off or not being able to buy food, we can act very quickly.
Q8. Do you share my financial information with any other parties?
If I’m to receive financial help, what happens next?
Q9. If it’s decided that I’m to receive a financial grant, how will it be paid?
A9. If the Fund agrees to help you with bills or arrears, then we pay the supplier directly i.e., utility suppliers, credit card companies or local authorities and many other providers. If you need help with buying food, we can provide a supermarket gift card.
Q10. What happens if I’m being helped with the replacement of white goods or essential furniture purchases?
A10. We will discuss your needs and ask you to select the product you require, within a given price range. The Fund will purchase and arrange for the delivery of the new item on your behalf.
Q11. Will the Fund ask me to repay the grant at some point in the future?
A11. No, our grants do not need to be repaid at any time.
Q12. If I get help now, does that mean I can't get help in the future if I need it?
A12. As a small charity, we aim to provide short term help, giving you breathing space or support when facing financial difficulties. Should you re-apply, your new situation will be assessed and responded to, as with your first application. Should we be unable to help, we will suggest other organisations who may be able to support you.
Q13. If I’m helped, do I have to notify benefits/universal credit agencies?
A13. No, as any financial help given is not classed as income, but a charitable award or gift.