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Why has Clergy Support Trust changed its grant-making policy?
We realise that clergy families face many different challenges, and so we have increased the range of grants we offer, especially in the areas of health and wellbeing. This will enable us to be more responsive to the needs of clergy today and will support our strategic goal of doubling the number of people we help over the next four years.
The last review of our grant-making was in 2015. With a strategic review taking place in 2018, we felt it was a good time to review the way we give out grants, so that we can be even more responsive to the needs of Anglican clergy families today.
Our aim is to make it easier to understand (through our new eligibility checker) what you can apply for. We also want to enable eligible applicants to apply more than just once in any 12 month period, if the need arises. We appreciate that life can be unpredictable, whether a small unexpected cost, or a more serious life event. In addition, we want to reduce the number of declined applications, by being more transparent about who is eligible and what people can apply for.
What is new in the revised approach to grant-making?
Clergy face challenges of all shapes and sizes, and so we have widened the categories and types of grants that you can apply for. In each application, you will need to specify what type of grant you are applying for. If you are unsure, please contact our friendly and confidential grants team by calling 0800 389 5192 or by emailing us on email@example.com.
Our new financial support grant is means tested against the nationally recognised Minimum Income Standard, which we have adapted for the particular circumstances of clergy and their families. This will provide for greater transparency and enable us to assess need against your disposable income (including housing costs). Our old means-tested system only took into account income.
The new emergency and wellbeing grants have been revised to provide shorter application forms and speedier payments. These forms and criteria have been updated alongside internal processes to speed up decisions and, where appropriate and possible, we will signpost you to other sources of support. These grants are non-means tested in terms of your disposable income, although we will ask you to declare your level of household savings and whether you own property, to ensure you meet our thresholds and are eligible for support.
The health grants have been reviewed and more specific guidance is available for what we may be able to fund. For some health applications, we may ask our Medical Advisor to review your application in confidence. We will inform you of this if we think this may be necessary and gain your consent to do so.
Will I receive as much support as I used to?
If you meet our clergy-adapted Minimum Income Standard (MIS) means test for your situation, then you may receive a similar level of support compared to previous years. However, this will depend on your eligibility and when you decide to apply for additional grants throughout the year (eg emergency or wellbeing).
It is possible you may receive slightly less than previously, though you may well be eligible to receive emergency and wellbeing grants. Use our updated eligibility checker to check. We are committed, over the next four years, to doubling the number of people we help, and this may mean that in some cases our grants to individual clergy are less than in previous years.
How long will I wait for a decision?
Some of our grants, eg emergency grants, can be processed quickly (usually no more than five working days for a decision), once we’ve received all the information we need.
Other grants, such as financial support or health grants, may take up to 20 working days for a decision. However, each application is unique and may require more time to ensure we get the best outcome for you.
If you are successful in your application, and there are no conditions attached, it is likely we will be able to pay your grant the following week. We are moving from monthly grant payments to weekly. This means you will not need to wait until our monthly payment run to receive the grant after it has been approved.
In the case of larger grant amounts, we may choose to spread these throughout the year to help you budget and to limit the impact it may have on any state benefits you are receiving.
Are there restrictions on how I can use my grant?
The new grants criteria have more defined categories and we would of course expect a grant given to meet the need for which you have applied.
If you have applied and received a grant for ‘General living expenses’, this can be used to help your current situation, to support you and your family.
If you need help towards something that isn’t listed within any of the grant categories, please get in touch with a member of our grants team to see how we can help by calling 0800 389 5192 or by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How was the new grant-making policy decided?
A review of past applications was carried out to identify common needs for which Anglican clergy families were requesting support, We also wanted to increase the range of grants we offer following our greater focus on clergy wellbeing and the expansion of our charitable objects in 2017 to include the promotion of health.
We consulted a number of our clergy partner organisations on the new policy and received very positive feedback. A number of suggestions were incorporated into the policy as a result. Further review and refinement by our trustees, and medical and education advisors, resulted in the approval of the new policy in early 2019.
We will continue to review the policy against need, to ensure our charitable spend continues to make a difference to people’s lives.
Is there a cap on what I can apply for?
For most applicants, we would normally be unable to provide grants totalling more than £6,000 in any 12 month period (with the exception of health, debt support and school fees), although each application is viewed on its own merits.
If you think your needs may exceed this or are unsure, please contact our grants team to discuss your situation.
How do I continue the application I started?
If you have started an application and not completed it, you can come back to it later. If you have clicked save you should have a link in your email (check your spam folder).
At present each application requires you login at a different link, although with the same username and password. The application form links are:
- Financial Suppport Grant Application
- Wellbeing Grant Application
- Emergency Grant Application
- Health Grant Application
- Health Grant (Ordinand) Application
- Debt Support Application
Note: If you haven't already, please do ensure you have gone through our eligibility checker first so you won't be disappointed and please contact us before applying for debt support or health grants.