How low income families can get free or cheap fridges, carpets and furniture
HOUSEHOLDS on low incomes could get help furnishing or decorating their home.
Grants are available for carpets, furniture, electricals and white goods if you can't afford them.
If you're moving into your first home and don't have the money to furnish it, or if something has broken and you don't have the cash to replace it, you might be able to get help.
Charity End Furniture Poverty says budget cuts have made it harder than ever for people to apply for help getting furniture. Its research found one in five people live in an area where there is no local authority crisis support.
But there are still some grants available to those who need help making their homes liveable.
A number of charities and not-for-profit organisations also provide free or cheap items to those who need them.
Local councils are sometimes able to help provide essential furniture to those on low incomes. The eligibility criteria varies depending on where you live so you'll need to check with your local council whether you can get help.
You can check your local authority on the government website.
If your local council can't help, it should be able to suggest organisations in your area that can provide assistance or other benefits you may be eligible for.
You will usually have to fill in an application form explaining what help you need and why.
If you are in rented accommdation, you could also check whether your landlord can supply any furniture.
While some properties come furnished, many do not – and some don't even have carpet.
If your landlord provides furniture, you won't be able to take it when you come to move and you may lose some of your deposit if it gets broken or damaged.
Another option might be to apply for a Budgeting Loan if you need help with essential one-off expenses, which can include furniture.
You could be eligible if you or your partner recieve pension credit, income support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
How charities can help
For help from charities, website Turn2us is a good place to start.
It lets you search based on your location, age and other factors to find grants or support that may be available to you.
The organisation awarded £3.6m in grants last year. It can suggest charities that might be able to supply furniture or help with decorating, among other things.
Elsewhere, Glasspool Trust is a UK-wide charity that helps people in financial hardship. It provides grants for furniture and flooring.
However, you can't apply to Glasspool yourself, you'll need a support worker registered with the trust to make the application for you.
Buttle UK, meanwhile, supports children and families providing packages of items. It distributed more than £1.5m through its Chances for Children grants last year.
Again, applications must be made by a registered support worker.
Family Fund helps families who are raising disabled or seriously ill children aged 17 or under.
Last year, it provided more than 150,00 grants or services worth a total of £48m. You can apply directly.
Other websites to check
There are plenty of websites you can check for furniture listings too.
Reuse Network can help you find preloved furniture nearby.
The organisation, which saves items from landfill, estimates it saved UK households more than £427m on reused items last year.
Sites such as Freecycle or Gumtree let people list free or low-cost furniture that they no longer need.
Other places to check include eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Don't forget your local charity shops too, where there are often plenty of bargains to be found.
Any furniture at a charity shop should be cleaned and checked for safety before it is sold, and the same applies to electricals.
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