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How low income families can get free or cheap cookers, fridges, and washing machines

CASH-strapped families in need of financial support could get money or discounts for essential white goods like fridges and washing machines.

There are lots of ways to get hold of the free or discounted items, as they are provided by charities, not-for-profit organisations, the Government and even some companies – as long as you meet requirements.

Low income families can get free or cheap cookers, fridges and washing machines
Getty - Contributor

Usually you will need to be on a low income, receive certain benefits or suffer from illnesses or disabilities.

While other schemes are available to those who’ve worked for particular firms or charities.

In 2019, charities alone distributed £60million in grants, according to the Association of Charitable Organisations.

This money can be used to buy fridges, clothes, and food.

In some cases it can also be put towards health and childcare costs.

Here we have listed what help is available and how you can apply for it.

Free charity grants

There are more than 3,000 charities giving cash to buy white goods.

We have listed some of the main charities offering help here but to quickly check what you’re entitled to, see the grant checker on the charity website Turn2Us.

Most charities and organisations require you to fill out an application form online or in person listing the reasons why you need help.

A response will then be sent to you with details on how you can claim the money needed.

Buttle UK

This charity is for children and young people and their families and carers.

Grants of up to £2,000 are available to help those dealing with issues including domestic abuse, estrangement, physical and mental health, and substance abuse.

Support packages include money for essential items including beds and cookers along with help for children’s emotional, social, and educational needs.

Family Fund

Families raising disabled or seriously ill children can apply for grants to pay for several things including washing machines, bedding, and furniture.

The grants are paid through specific suppliers and they can be used for the total cost of new items or for a discount off the cost.

The exact amount depends on the individual case.

For those in England and Scotland, kitchen grants are supplied by the website AO.

For those in Wales grants are supplied by Argos and for those in Northern Ireland, the supplier is Vision Sales.

Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust

If a parent or primary carer has worked within the fashion and textile industry for at least one year within the past nine years, they can apply for grants to buy white goods.

This includes working in a supermarket or shop with a clothes range such as Mothercare.

The average amount paid out is £515.


Grants to buy white goods, bedding, and items for children and babies are available from Glasspool for those in need.

There are no specific eligibility requests for this charity, but it says it expects anyone applying to have already made an application for local welfare schemes before they apply to it.

Grants for those in specific jobs

If you have worked for a certain company or industry, help may be available to you and your family if you are struggling financially.

Here are two of the biggest schemes available.

BT Benevolent Fund

More than £750,000 was paid out in 2019 through this charity for anyone who currently works at BT, or who has worked there before including pensioners.

It is available for those in financial difficulty to help pay for white goods and household items.

The Insurance Charities

Anyone who is working or who has worked in the insurance sector can apply for grants through this charity.

It pays out more than £1.7million every year to current and former employees and their families.

In order to be eligible for these grants, you need to have worked in the insurance industry for at least five years.

Not-for-profit organisations

As well as charities, there are several not-for-profit organisations where you can find help.

Reuse Network

Second-hand household items are available through this national network of reuse centres. You can search on the website for local centres to see what is available.

The items on offer include white goods such as fridges and cookers along with household furniture, which are restored and tested so they are working properly and safe to use.

In some cases you will still have to pay for the items but this will be significantly cheaper than buying a brand-new item.

End Furniture Poverty

This website lists everywhere you can find help for buying replacement furniture and essential household goods.

Help From Your Landlord

Some Brits who reside in social housing and claim benefits may be able to get help with essential items from their landlord.

It depends if the social housing is provided as a furnished tenancy.

If it is, this means the landlord will repair or replace an item as it is part of the furnished tenancy.

But not every social landlord provides furnished tenancies.

Cash from the Government

You may be able to apply for an interest-free loan to help buy household items and white goods.

Budgeting Loans

Government loans are available for people on low incomes to pay for essential or unexpected expenses.

These can be used for a wide range of things from replacement cookers, furniture, or clothing to help if you’ve had a baby or to pay for a funeral.

In order to apply for a loan, you must be one of the following benefits for at least six months: Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Pension Credit.

Those receiving Universal Credit are not able to apply, but they can apply for a Budgeting Advance which works in the same way.

The amount you can borrow depends on your circumstances, but you could get up to £348 if you are single, £464 if you have a partner, or £812 if you or your partner receive Child Benefit.

You can apply online or in your local JobCentre.

The loans are interest free, so you only pay back what you borrow, and the repayments are taken directly out of your benefits.

Local council welfare schemes

It might be possible to receive money from your local council if you are on a low income or receiving certain benefits.

This depends on where you live as councils can decide how much, if anything, they offer, but help is available in some areas for a variety of reasons including those who can’t afford basic white goods.

To find out what is available contact your local council.

Money from your energy provider

Some energy providers offer help for those who can’t afford their gas and electricity bills or other basic household items including white goods.

You don’t always need to be a customer of the energy provider in order to apply for help.

Energy providers offering help

British Gas, EDF Energy Customer Support Fund (this is a new scheme that replaced EDF Energy Trust), and E.ON all offer schemes for those struggling to pay for energy costs and essential household items.

They are open to anyone.

Scottish Power, Npower, SSE, and OVO also provide grants but these are only available if you are a customer.

Check you are getting the right benefits

For anyone struggling financially, it is always worth checking to see what benefits you are entitled to.

There is a free benefits entitlement checker on the Turn2Us website which can quickly show you which you could apply for.

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