Social Justice

This website lets you see how much hidden financial support you’re eligible for

Lightning Reach says the average successful applicant is able to claim £1,000 in cost of living support

Just 3.2 per cent of those eligible to access social broadband tariffs actually make use of them. Image: Pexels

Financial support is available in the cost of living crisis, but it’s often hard to find. A tangled web of grants, benefits, and funds mean millions of desperately needed pounds in cost of living help often go unclaimed.

Take broadband social tariffs: Just 3.2 per cent of those eligible to access these discounts actually make use of them. But now a website collecting hundreds in one place – from benefits to charity grants to social tariffs and occupational funds – promises to make that easier

Lightning Reach says its “one stop portal” has helped over 40,000 people access £4m in funding, with the average successful applicant claiming £1,000.

Compared to existing benefits or charity grant calculators, the portal pulls together support from a range of sources into one place – aiming to save users time as well as uncovering potentially hidden pots of money.

The start of April is set to see millions fall into fuel poverty, with council taxes and energy prices set to increase from the first of the month. While 4.5 million people were living in fuel poverty last year, National Energy Action estimates that will rise to 7.5 million when price hikes hit.

Ren Hooi, a former management consultant who founded Lightning Reach during the pandemic, describes the existing routes to funding as “a really complicated process trying to navigate what’s available and apply for it”.

cost of living help
Lightning Reach’s portal. Image: Lightning Reach

Users enter their information, including postcode and biographical details, and then are told what support is on offer.

For example, they may be unaware of grants available for former teaching assistants or Royal Air Force veterans.

Your support changes lives. Find out how you can help us help more people by signing up for a subscription

Organisations signed up include the Royal British Legion and Lambeth Council.

For some grants, where organisations have partnered with Lightning Reach, you are able to apply directly through the portal. Otherwise, the site will direct you towards the application.

If support is not available, users are notified with an email when something becomes available which they are eligible for.

“We really want to be, ultimately, a platform that can facilitate millions of pounds – or even billions in the long term – in financial support out to people,” said Hooi.

“I think we want to be raising awareness of what’s out there, making the whole process of finding and applying massively easier, so people who are stressed out don’t drop off in the middle of an application.”

The Big Issue also has a comprehensive guide on the cost of living help available, including support with transport costs, finding a job, and food banks. Read it here.

Get the latest news and insight into how the Big Issue magazine is made by signing up for the Inside Big Issue newsletter

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices
energy bills
Energy bills

Energy bills are set to fall but UK families have already lost £72bn to 'staggering' prices

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election
Trussell Trust food banks
General election 2024

Poverty costs the UK billions each year. Politicians must commit to ending it this general election

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
Department for Work and Pensions

Abuse survivor tried to take her own life after years-long battle with DWP over disability benefits

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants
Department for Work and Pensions

DWP under investigation over treatment of ill and disabled people after deaths of benefit claimants

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know