FAQs for people receiving grants

Q: Can I get a grant from you?

A: Yes, if you:

  • live in Cambridge (in a CB1, CB2, CB3, CB4 or CB5 postcode)
  • are aged 16 or over
  • didn’t receive a full grant from us last month, or the month before (see below for details)

All you need to do is fill in our request form. This opens at 7pm on the second Monday of every month. Funds tend to run out within two minutes, so apply on time to avoid disappointment.

Q: How much can I get?

A: You can request up to £40 from us. You can request up to £40 again three months later.

Q: Surely this is a scam?

A: It’s not, but we can see why you might think that! Lots of scams offer free money with a catch (like buying a gift card or paying a courier fee). We have no catches. You do need to give us your bank details if you need a bank transfer, but those only allow us to give money, not take it. To get cash you need to give us a location, but if you’re unsure about telling us your home address, you can name a public place near your home and we’ll meet you there. If you’re still unsure, drop us an email at cambridgesolidarityfund@gmail.com and ask us any questions you have.

Q: How do I prove I live in Cambridge?

A: You can either show us proof of address (e.g. a bank statement or utility bill) or we can meet you at or near your home address. You’ll get instructions when you fill in the request form.

Q: What if I don’t have a bank account?

A: We can give you cash – just let us know when you fill in the request form.

Q: How long will it take to receive my grant?

A: Times can vary, because we are a small group of administrators running the fund around our full time jobs and other commitments. It can take time to check your proof of address or arrange a meeting with you, and process your grant with our financial platform OpenCollective. You can usually expect to wait around a week for the money to come through, although sometimes waiting times may be longer if we are short on funds and need to fundraise.

Please don’t submit duplicate requests – this might make things take longer.

Q: Can more than one person in a household apply for a grant?

A: Yes. We don’t currently limit grant applications to one per household, just one per person every other month.

We may have to change this policy in the future if we run very short of funds.

Q: I really need more than £40, can you make an exception?

A: We’re really sorry, but no. We know £40 isn’t always enough, and we really want to help everyone and meet everyone’s needs, but we have had to set these limits on what we can give. This means we can help as many people as possible, keep up with demand, and keep things as fair as possible for everyone.

Q: I don’t live in Cambridge but really need help, can you make an exception?

Not at the moment. We know that people need help beyond the city limits, but we don’t currently have enough income to support grants outside the city. We are considering widening our postcode limit in the future when we can get more funding, so watch this space and we will update you when we can.

Q: Where can I get more support?

A: If you’re in the CB1-CB5 area, you can get free hot food from Cambridge Community Kitchen twice a week, delivered to your home. The Solidarity Fund and CCK run on the same principles of trust and mutual aid.

For help with household items like clothes or furniture, or help with lifts or household tasks, you could try posting in the Cambridgeshire Mutual Aid Facebook group, either asking directly for what you need or asking if there is a local mutual aid WhatsApp group in your area.

There may also be money available for food and heating from the County Council’s Household Support Fund. This is not a mutual aid fund – it is not run by us, and is only accessible to people on certain benefits. However, we’re sharing it here in case it’s useful.

Q: Where do you get your money from?

A: We don’t have any fixed funding sources or grants. All our money comes from donations from people in the local community, who have committed to helping their neighbours. Speaking of which…

FAQs for potential donors

Q: Why should I give you my money?

A: We know it’s a different kind of ask to give money to us – we’re not a charity, and our model is a little different. If you’re unsure, check out our Not a charity? page or contact us.

Q: How do I know that my money is helping people?

A: Check out some of our testimonials to see some examples of what people have used our grants for.

Q: What’s most useful to you, one-off donations or regular monthly donations?

A: Both! Regular monthly donations help us ensure we have a consistent income, so we can keep the fund sustainable. But one-off donations are also really helpful too. We receive donations ranging from £1 per month to one-off gifts of £1000. Every donation means so much to us.

Q: Why don’t you use your real names online?

A: Our admins are all quite private people – most of us don’t put our names online because of all the risks that can entail for activists. But we know that it can feel more comfortable donating to a human being. For potential donors, we are happy to arrange phone calls or in-person meetings – just get in touch.

Q: I can’t afford to donate to you/I’m already giving as much as I can, what are some other ways I can help you?

A: Here are some ideas:

  • Tell your work colleagues, friends and family about us. Encourage them to donate what they can.
  • Print off and put up a flyer in your college, work canteen, or front window. Leaflet your street or local coffee shop.
  • Fundraise for us! Ask your Facebook friends to throw money at us on your birthday, do a sponsored baked bean bath, get your school or college to hold an event fundraising for us.
  • Follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and share our sweet, sweet content.
  • If you think you can help us get donations from local businesses or community organisations, send us an email at cambridgesolidarityfund@gmail.com.

Q: We need a solidarity fund in my city too! Can you help me to set one up?

A: Sure! We’ve written a handy guide to the process: the Solidarity Fund Toolkit. Download it, read it through, and go for it! We’re also very happy to talk you through getting started and help out to the best of our capacity. Drop us a line.