UNISON and the Branch have special funds to help members in financial difficulties.

We also provide support and advice about a wide range of Welfre issues for members. 

UNISON would love to get rid of Pay Day Loan companies and loan sharks who take advantage of people in difficult financial positions. There are much better alternatives, some of which are listed below.

The 3 main roles of a Welfare Officer are

·         Signposting

·         Active listening

·         Being a link/support 

The main criteria for help is

·         Have to be a member for 4 weeks

·         Have unexpected unforeseen hardship

·         Have supporting evidence

·         Savings under £3000

·         Circumstances


·         Previous help


 Some useful help


This is a charity set up to help people in need with bills and goods. Many of the large companies have been persuaded to financially support the charity such as Anglian Water, EDF, British Gas, and Scottish Power.  In addition to assisting those in debt they also administer Warm Homes Discounts.

OFWAT have told the water companies to make bills more affordable so they will offer a social tariff therefore anyone I in water debt should look at the websites to see what can be done to reduce the debt.

There will be £140 off electric bills this winter from all energy companies – contact Customer enquiries to see if you are eligible and applications are to be made online.

Rebate schemes may be offered through Warm Homes Discount.

CHARIS assess if they can help people on low income who are vulnerable.  They look at priority debts in particular.

CHARIS does not advertise their help but does act through advisers such as Union welfare reps. It is an independent organisation and confidential. It only offers high quality goods to applicants and processes claims quickly.  The types of debts it pays are rent arrears, council tax arrears, bereavement expenses (up to £2000), - also goods such as boilers etc. Anyone can apply and it can be done online, letter, e-mail and telephone and awards are made quickly.

They also use the British Gas Trust who have very generous one off payments.

DLA/PIP is not counted as income when assessing what people have coming in.

Postal Address

Charis Grants Ltd
Midgate House
Peterborough PE1 1TN

Email admin@charisgrants.com
Telephone 01733 421021
Fax 01733 421020


Application Form Requests


Request line 01733 421060 (automated)


Food banks

Trussell Trust

Offer none perishable quality food from bases in schools, churches, supermarkets etc. Companies and individuals are now donating food because they understand how difficult things are and want to help.  All food donated is checked to ensure it is fit for consumption and then weighed and sorted into bags for distribution. Anyone wanting to use a food bank will have to be referred by an agency/professional who gives them a voucher to spend.  Everyone applying is treated with dignity and respect and vouchers can be exchanged for 3 days- worth of food.

The Branch can contact a food bank and ask for emergency vouchers if we have anyone in need.





B1 3DJ

0121 236 2997.


Credit Unions

These are used to prevent debt rather than get people out of it.  Anyone using one has to commit to save every week/month to be able to get a loan. One third of the population in the USA uses a Credit Union but in the UK this figure is 2%.  While we are unsure why this should be the Government wants us to use banks in preference so does nothing to encourage the population and in some ways actually makes it difficult.

Benefits –

·         Children can join credit unions and have their own accounts

·         The APR is fixed so loan repayments don’t go up/down

·         Credit scores are not used to determine the amount of interest as banks do.

·         Credit checks are only used to check that people are telling the truth on declarations.

·         The only reasons for not letting people join/have a loan is dishonesty, affordability, lack of control of their money.

·         You can join more than one Credit Union.

·         Unison has links into many of the Credit Unions across the UK – the main one in Birmingham is City Save  and this is open to anyone who lives there.

Citysave Credit Union
16 Waterloo Street
Birmingham B25UG

TEL: 0121 616 6200

FAX: 0121 616 6660


For enquiries: enquiries@citysave.org.uk
For loans:


School Uniform

Unison may be able to help with costs of school uniform.See pdf documents at the bottom of this page. Please also see Unison/thereforyou



Download School Uniform Grant
Download School Uniform Grant 1



facebook Twitter You Tube


What will be the impact of Brexit on jobs and serv...
Read More