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Hardship Policy

We recognise that there are circumstances where parents may be unable to meet the financial commitments for subscriptions or events, but their participation would be both deserving and of significant benefit. This policy outlines the framework for handling cases of financial hardship.

The primary consideration must always be the young person: if they are keen and active members then we should be doing everything we can to enable them to participate.

Hardship fund options

  • A grant is available so a leader can offset the cost for some activities they feel are in danger of being exclusive due to cost. Where the Group agrees to support key Scouting events, payment would be made directly from the Group funds to the camp/event treasury.
  • In cases of hardship, subscriptions may be reduced at a rate agreed by the Group Trustee Board.
  • Support may be provided for members in financial hardship to purchase uniform. Used items of uniform may also be offered subject to availability.
  • Loans or delayed payments should be avoided as they are hard to enforce.


The Group normally uses the financial acceptance criteria employed by Hampshire County Council Education Authority for free school meals. This provides an independent benchmark as a guideline that can help make the best judgement of “financial hardship”.

The criteria at the time of writing include:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit, and have an annual gross income, of no more than £16,190 as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Parents who are made redundant or start working less that 16 hours per week, may find their children are entitled to free meals for a limited period.)
  • Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)

Temporary hardship may also be considered, including:

  • Redundancy or other loss or reduction of income
  • Sickness
  • Delayed benefit payments.

Young people and adults who are carers or are considered ‘looked after children’ (in care) would also be eligible.


The grants are usually provided on a matched funding basis (i.e. the recipient must usually make a financial contribution alongside the group’s grant). In special circumstances, grants may be made without matching funding.

The applicant should show a regular commitment to the Group, commensurate with the subsidy requested. The following is a minimum, but other requests may be made:

  • 6 months of regular attendance confirmed by their relevant Section Leader.

How to apply for hardship support

  1. To apply for support, please contact the Section Leader or member of the Trustee Board.
  2. The Section Leader will start discussions within the constraints of this policy. The Leader(s) may ask the Group Scout Leader (GSL), Group Chairman (GC), or Treasurer to participate.
  3. Hardship cases are always considered on a case-by-case basis, and only where sufficient funds are available.
  4. Final approval requires the agreement of the Group Trustee Board.
  5. Any request for further support must be agreed by the Group Trustee Board.


Information relating to individual hardship cases is often highly personal and is treated as strictly confidential. Any record of discussion of a hardship case at Group Trustee Board will be reported in Confidential Minutes, separate to the normal minutes.

About the Hardship Fund

The total amount available for support (the Hardship Fund) in a given calendar year is set at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Group Trustee Board will not routinely allocate support beyond this total.