16 June 2020

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

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.

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. If people need help but do not fall into one of these groups, they can call the British Red Cross support line* for help with access to food, medicines and financial problems, or just to talk if they feel lonely or depressed. 

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. 

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.” 

If you or anyone you know is struggling through this pandemic, you can call the British Red Cross coronavirus support line for free on 0808 196 3651. It's open from 10am to 6pm every day offering emotional and practical support.


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 will support people with no access to stable income sources, people who lack recognised legal status, people with no or in temporary accommodation, families living below the poverty line and those facing domestic or sexual and gender-based violence. Individuals will not be able to self-refer to the Hardship Fund. Families with children or other dependents can apply for up to three separate grants per month.

*The British Red Cross support line

Anyone can also get support at this difficult time by calling the British Red Cross Support Line for free every day between 10 am – 6 pm on 0808 196 3651. Callers can get help with mental health issues such as coping with self-isolation, loneliness or depression, and with accessing essentials such as prescriptions and food. We can offer advice about where to turn for financial help with money, rent and bills. And we are always there to listen if you just want to talk.

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




new Hardship Fund to provide financial support to people across the UK during coronavirus