Turn2us, in collaboration with the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO), has released new research providing insights into the vital work of the UK’s grant-giving charity sector.

The results reveal that over a third (34%) of the charities surveyed have seen an increase in applications in the last year, and the same number expect to see an increase in the year ahead. Over two-fifths (43%) of charities cite struggling to manage finances on a limited income as the biggest trigger for people seeking help, whilst over a third (37%) said it was because of a physical illness or disability.

The research, conducted amongst grant-giving charities that provide financial help and other support to individuals, also provides greater understanding on how the sector operates and its impact.

The findings show that support still predominately takes the form of financial help, with almost four-fifths (79%) of charities giving one-off financial grants and almost a third (31%) providing regular financial payments. Grants are awarded for a wide range of purposes, with disability equipment, education/training costs, and household goods the three most common.

With demand increasing, the sector has focused on changing application forms and introducing online applications to improve turnaround times. Almost a third (30%) of charities are able to provide emergency support, and of these charities, half (49%) have a turnaround time of 24 hours to deliver this help.

The research also explores how charities would like to see the grant-giving sector develop. Improving public understanding of the sector was identified as the most important area, followed by a wish for greater collaboration between charities to share good practice and ideas.

Turn2us has a free online Grants Search tool to help people in financial need check their eligibility for grants and other support from over 3,000 charities, according to their particular circumstances. Individuals who have used the tool have seen an average annual income increase of over £2,400 in regular charitable grants and over £550 in one-off grants.

Read the Turn2Us report.