We are pleased to be able to offer grants for individuals facing extreme hardship, or for families struggling with the cost of a loved one’s funeral.

Most of our grants are given through the St John Southworth Fund as part of Caritas Westminster’s commitment to tackling poverty and social exclusion throughout the diocese. Grant applications need to be made through or supported by your local parish.

Follow the links below to find out more about the St John Southworth Fund and the types of grants we currently offer.

The St John Southworth Fund

Grants for social action and the relief of hardship 

The St John Southworth Fund is an amalgamation of a number of funds and legacies for the alleviation of poverty and hardship held by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster.

A former St John Southworth Fund operated from 2007 to 2013, giving grants to individuals, parishes and organisations to alleviate poverty and a wide range of other needs. It made around 650 awards in all amounting to over £2 million.

In 2014/2015 the Fund was integrated into Caritas Westminster as part of its commitment to tackling poverty and social exclusion, and re-established in its current form with the prime purpose of supporting parishes to help the most vulnerable.

About St John Southworth

The Fund is named after St John Southworth. Born in Lancashire in 1592, St John Southworth was ordained into the priesthood in Douai, France, in 1618. Upon returning to England, Fr Southworth ministered in Westminster, in the area close to where the Cathedral now stands.

During the plague of 1636, he tended the sick with outstanding devotion and courage, and raised money for the families of victims. He was martyred in 1654 at Tyburn. The casket containing his body lies in the Chapel of St George and the English Martyrs in Westminster Cathedral, the parish where once he laboured for the Lord.

St John Southworth was beatified in 1929, and canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. His feast days is 27 June celebrated in the Diocese of Westminster.

Crisis Grants for Individuals

Crisis grants help parish communities to support local individuals or families facing extreme hardship or crisis. 

Crisis grant applications need to be made or supported by the local Catholic parish in the Diocese of Westminster. If you are an individual seeking a grant, please talk to your parish priest. 

Parishes can download further information and the application form here. 

Feedback from recipients

Towards the end of 2022, crisis grants were provided to a number of Ukrainian refugees, mainly mothers and children. These provided essentials such as school uniforms, laptops for school work, food, clothes and shoes, as well as toys and travel cards.

Read more about how these much-needed grants supported people through this difficult and traumatic time.

A newly married couple were helped with a grant to stay in their home, they said:

“We would like to take this opportunity to express our profound GRATITUDE.

“My husband and myself have been experiencing serious financial difficulties since March after the termination of our jobs in the middle of our wedding planning. By God’s grace we got married in May.
Since then it has been difficult for us to cope with our basics needs including paying our rent. To the point where we had two months overdue and we were about to be evicted. 

“The Crisis grant has saved us from eviction and has contributed in keeping us together. Without this help from Caritas we would have been homeless or separately seeking refuge with friends .”
[grant awarded 2021]

A more unusual request for help was for a laptop to help a counsellor continue their professional development. The recipient sent this message of thanks: 

“I hold a sincere gratitude to the grants panel for kindly blessing me with the gift of a brand new laptop.

“The grant has allowed me to continue to evolve within my chosen profession as a counsellor. I am very near to acquiring 450hrs of clinical practice to than be in a position to begin applying for my BACP accreditation. A part of accreditation process involves also compiling a dossier of evidence for my portfolio. 

“My passion is to make a difference as a counsellor in my practice in facilitating change in the lives of individuals. 

“The generosity of the trustees by investing into my career path has undeniably helped me to transcend beyond my personal barriers and obstacles.”
[grant awarded 2021]

Emma, who received funds for a mobility scooter after her leg was amputated said: 

“I feel like I have my legs back! I cannot tell you how much your support has helped me.  I would have struggled to cope without your help.  Not only have I got some independence now, the impact on my mental health, which has improved too, has been positive.  I couldn’t be happier, thank you”.
[grant awarded 2021]

Read Emma’s Story here

Read how a Crisis grant has made a difference to a survivor of modern slavery at Caritas Bakhita House.

Sometimes a grant may be used to purchase different items that really transform a families life, as this recipient explained:

“The funding donation this Christmas has helped me.

“The housing gas engineer came to complete the year gas safety check in my house, as they were to cut off my cooker because it did not pass the safety test. I was pleading to them that cutting the connection off is going to impact me and family, I was begging them. Due to my situation as they noted that I am struggling, I was given a date that they will visit me again in two weeks’ time. This has been playing in my mind making to become more depressed. I was constantly thinking where I would get a cooker to cook hot meals for my family at this cold weather. This donation has brought stress free in my life.

“This funding, it has helped us to purchase two new Bicycles, which will encourage the boys and me to be doing exercise in the park, as we live in a flat it is difficult for them to utilise the outdoor parks. This will help reducing the boys playing gaming online and to improved in their mental state.

“Furthermore, my kids have been sleeping on a broken bed for years. When lying on the bed, as they are moving to settle themselves the noises the bed does it is too much. As they are getting older, they don’t want to be sleeping on the same bed. I want to thank you so much for helping me and my family to make this Christmas very special.”

[grant awarded 2021]

Funeral Grants for Individuals

Caritas Westminster can offer grants to help specifically with funeral costs in cases of hardship. 

Funeral grants can contribute up to a maximum of £1,500 towards the funeral costs. This grant is provided by a third party who wishes to remain anonymous and given through a local Catholic parish in the Diocese of Westminster. If you are an individual seeking a grant, please talk to your parish priest. 

Parishes can download further information and the application form here.

Feedback from recipients:

“Thank you so much for the grant you gave towards the costs of my daughter’s funeral. It meant that she could be both cremated and have the Requiem Mass she wanted, she was very clear when she was alive that she wanted that. Especially the Mass, as she was always so happy in church. Both my daughter and I were on benefits, and we don’t have savings, so we couldn’t have afforded that without your help. This is because she was disabled and I was her carer for 48 years. You really lifted a burden from me – thank you.
[grant awarded 2021]

“the money is a great help… you can’t imagine how stressed I have been, I’ve been feeling physically ill worrying about the payment and this will help so, so much. Thank you again.”

[grant awarded 2021]
Skip to content