16 June 2020

British Red Cross and Aviva create new Hardship Fund to provide financial support to people across the UK during coronavirus

The Hardship Fund has closed

The Hardship Fund was set up to support the most vulnerable during the coronovirus pandemic. It is no longer running and cannot take on new cases. The Hardship Fund ended in June 2021. 

If you are lonely, worried, or need access to food or medicine, please contact our Coronavirus support line.

If you need help with money problems, you can get advice from Turn2Us.

The British Red Cross, in partnership with Aviva, has created a Hardship Fund to provide financial support to people who are struggling as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the British Red Cross have been delivering food and medicine to those who need it most, making sure refugees and people seeking asylum are safe, and continuing its work with the NHS, helping patients get home from hospital.

The British Red Cross is working with statutory and voluntary partner organisations, including local government and charities, to identify and reach those in greatest need. These organisations can refer individuals to the Hardship Fund to receive support.

This Hardship Fund will provide cash grants of £120 a month for up to three months to help people immediately meet their essential living costs.

British Red Cross and Aviva aim to support 13,000 of the most vulnerable people in the UK via the Hardship Fund by partnering up with local organisations who will lead in its delivery.

At the outset of the coronavirus outbreak, Aviva and the Aviva Foundation* committed an additional donation of £10 million to the British Red Cross to support individuals and communities most at-risk during the coronavirus outbreak. £5 million of this has been allocated to the Hardship Fund.

The Hardship Fund gives cash grants to those hardest hit by the pandemic.  These may be families living below the poverty line, those experiencing domestic violence, refugees and people seeking asylum or those who are homeless. 

Alex Fraser, Director at the British Red Cross, said: “We know that people are struggling financially right now. Thanks to funding from our partner, Aviva, and the Aviva Foundation*, we’ve created a Hardship Fund to help support people most financially impacted by coronavirus.  

“Cash grants give people the support they need through the coronavirus outbreak with dignity. Every household has different needs. With the cash grants, people can buy exactly what they want and need. A grant could also cover other costs, such as rent or fuel payments. Or it could buy a few minutes of mobile phone credit so you can let your loved ones know that you are OK. 

“We believe it is crucial that people affected by crises, including the coronavirus outbreak, should be at the centre of any humanitarian response. The Hardship Fund will get support to people quickly and enable them to manage their finances independently.”

The Hardship Fund will complement, not replace, replicate or substitute, government and voluntary sector support. It is a tool to support the current work of local organisations and is therefore designed to be delivered by partner organisations.

Maurice Tulloch, CEO, Aviva said: “Since 2016, Aviva and the British Red Cross have worked in partnership to build stronger, more resilient communities in the UK and around the world. Today, in the face of COVID-19 this has become even more vital. 

“Sadly, it is the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our communities who are going to be hardest hit by the impact of this virus. Getting financial aid to those who need it most is critical, and Aviva is playing our part to make this happen.”


British Red Cross
For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. The British Red Cross enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities; and when the crisis is over, help them recover and move on with their lives. 


The Hardship Fund
The Hardship Fund works with partner organisations to support people with no source of income, including people who lack recognised legal status, people with no or in temporary accommodation and those facing domestic or sexual and gender-based violence. Families with children or other dependents can receive up to three separate grants per month. Individuals are referred by external organisations and are not able to self-refer to the Hardship Fund.  

Aviva is a leading international savings, retirement and insurance business. We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. Our vision is to earn our customers’ trust as the best place to save for the future, navigate retirement and insure what matters most to them. Since 2016, we’ve been partnered with the British Red Cross and we’re working together to build stronger, more resilient communities. 


For more information

Email: Press@redcross.org.uk