Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Get Help with School Uniform costs - UNISON "there-for-you" fund : supporting members when it gets tough

Tonight at our UNISON London Housing Associations Branch Executive meeting, we discussed a number of key issues facing members - possible/probable strike action over pay, breaking of pension promises and trade union victimisation & bullying by a major employer of UNISON activists. 

However, we also discussed how we can get the message out to our members about the UNISON benevolent fund called "there-for-you" which is about to open its annual "get help with School Uniform costs" cash grant application process.  This is means tested. 

UNISON is I believe the only major trade union that has its own self help charity dedicated to support its members. This week I had to refer a member who is off sick due to a disability (and on reduced pay/zero) to to see if they are able to get assistance to pay their rent and avoid eviction. 

On the day only - online applications. Up to a max of £150. Net household income* of no more than £26,000/year (£2,166.67/month)   OR:   In receipt of means-tested benefits.

"The 2023 School Uniform Grant Programme will open twice on 1 June 2023 at the following times:

1000 applications at 8.30am  

1000 applications at 5pm 

Applications will be made online.  You cannot apply before these times. 

A link to apply online will be added to the bottom of this webpage when the grant is live. 

Please ensure you read the below information to see if you are eligible before making an application.    

School Uniform Grant 2023 eligibility:

Applicants must:   

  • Be a UNISON member   
  • Have paid at least four weeks subscriptions at the time of applying. Subscriptions must be up to date.   
  • Not have received a grant through our main applications since 01 December 2022    
  • Not have received more than £750 in total if within the first year of membership   
  • Have savings (including the total rolling balance on current accounts) below £1,000 to qualify.     
  • Be financially responsible for school aged child(ren) and receiving Child Benefit for them. By school aged we mean children aged between 4-17 years old who will be returning to school in the autumn. 

Only one application per household will be considered.   

And EITHER:   

  • you are on a low income:   
  • Net household income* of no more than £26,000/year (£2,166.67/month)   


In receipt of means-tested benefits. This includes:   

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child and/or Working Tax Credits
  • Pension Credit
  • Means-tested Jobseekers Allowance
  • Means-tested Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

 *by household income, we mean income from: salary payments, student finance payments, state retirement pension, occupational or private pensions, child maintenance.   

What can I get help with?   

We can help with a one-off grant of £50 per school aged child, up to a maximum of £150. We want to make this fund go as far as possible and help as many members as we can.  Please only apply if you are in financial difficulty. There is a limited amount in the School Uniform Grant Fund.  

What if I don’t know my membership number?   

We cannot accept applications without a membership number. This can often be found at the bottom of any emails you have received from UNISON.   
Alternatively, please contact UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.   

How will you contact me?   


Successful online submissions will receive an automated message confirming your application has been received. If this doesn’t show in your ‘inbox’, please check your ‘junk/spam’ folders.     

Processing time   

You should not expect to receive an immediate decision. It could take up to 8 weeks before you hear from us. We will require further evidence to support your application and we will be in touch via email to request this. Please do not send chasing emails as we will be unable to respond.   

If I have recently received a grant can I apply?   

If you have received a grant from UNISON Welfare since 01 December 2022, excluding the Energy Support Fund and Winter Fuel Grant, you will not be eligible to apply for a School Uniform Grant.   

How do I apply?   

All applications should be made online. Make sure you have your membership number to hand.   

Applications are currently not open

If you are unable to complete the application due to an accessibility issue, please email: or call UNISONdirect on 0800 0 857 857.  
Any questions?  
Contact us via email: 

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