Grant recipient stories -
Making a real impact on real people

Read the stories of: Millicent | Claire | Tomris

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Millicent's Story


“The [Lightning Reach] portal made the whole process very straightforward. Filling out the forms was really easy and sending documents was simple, even on my iPhone. It only took about three or four working days too!”

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At the start of 2022, single mum of three Millicent found herself struggling under the burden of high rent prices, rising energy bills and the soaring cost of everyday essentials. Working part-time and studying to gain further qualifications meant that Millicent’s income simply couldn’t cover her expenses.

“I needed to buy school uniforms for my kids, pay for their school dinners and school trips. Sometimes I had to choose between paying my rent or council tax and paying for my children’s needs. But I'd feel terrible when the bailiffs would come round and chase me for money that I simply didn’t have.”

Thankfully, Millicent’s luck changed when she received an email from Lambeth Council. She was initially sceptical, as many grant applications require a lot of paperwork and long phone calls – something that a mum with three kids, college and work simply doesn’t have time to do.

But once Millicent created a profile on the Lightning Reach Portal, she quickly found that was very straightforward. Using just her iPhone she supplied all the required documents to prove her financial situation.

To her delight Millicent received a £500 grant, which has created some valuable breathing room, relieving a lot of the pressure that she was under.


Claire's Story


"The Lightning Reach portal meant I was just clicks away from getting an answer and the money we needed to get through this difficult period

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Two weeks before the first lockdown in 2020, Claire split up from her husband and had the prospect of juggling work with caring for her two young boys. Already in crisis, in Autumn 2020, Claire was made redundant. Since then her family has had to survive on a fluctuating and inadequate universal credit entitlement.


Her family’s financial situation at a cliff’s edge after months without hope, a broken washing machine prompted her to seek charitable support. Through the Turn2us Grants Search tool she was able to quickly process a grant application and soon learnt that she would be awarded a flexible cash grant. 


In order to receive the funds, she would need to evidence her financial situation – which was made all the easier and quicker through the Lightning Reach platform. She was surprised and delighted at how quick, easy and secure the process was. No need for printing or endless pages of forms.


Hours later the grant award was approved, and Claire was notified, lifting the giant burden of uncertainty and stress off her shoulders. Within a week, the funds were in her account which proved to be a lifeline. She is now able to cover her essential expenses and could afford to get a little boy a cake for his March birthday.

“This grant made a huge difference to my family. I would recommend this way of processing grant applications online to anyone, even people who don’t feel that confident with computers."


Tomris's Story


“[Lightning Reach] is so much better, you just have to scan a QR code and they can then just get access to three months' worth of statements and it just speeds it up completely...It’s really really good, so quick.”

Photo: stock image

Tomris is a nurse and single mother of three children. During her most recent maternity leave, she split up with her partner and couldn’t afford the upfront cost of childcare to allow her to return to work. She said:


“My relationship broke down and I have got three children, and I was on maternity leave wanting to go back to work but my first month's child care was £1,500, so you have to find that first before you get any support. So, it got me back to work, and I’m going back next week.”

While the grant itself allowed Tomris to go back to work and have a bit of financial breathing space. 

“I tried to go through the job centre to get help first...all sorts of red tape stops you from getting back to work. But this grant has helped me get back to work, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go back."

Tomris said it would be inconvenient to have to find, print, scan and send in statements manually and that it might “put people off applying for the help, because some people find it hard to fill in forms and things without support and so it’s good because you can just do it really quickly, and then it is done.”

She would recommend the process to everybody. Tomris said:


“It should always be like that. I think everyone should use it now actually.”