Opening Doors, Changing Lives: Measuring the impact of cash grants on disadvantaged individuals and families

Family Action, supported by Lankelly Chase and NEF Consulting, today release the first findings from the innovative Open Doors programme. The programme distributes small cash grants via a network of partners who provide support to people experiencing extreme poverty and severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD).

Initial analysis of the impact of the programme shows:

  • Small grants ease pressure, enabling recipients to focus on other areas of their lives that need addressing via the support provided by partner organisations
  • Recipients of grants report a significant improvement in wellbeing as it enables them to make changes in their life that provide a greater sense of control, trust and security
  • Partner organisations state that grants help improve the relationship and engagement between recipient and worker

The report also highlights that the majority of grant recipients are receiving additional support with housing, mental health issues and training and employment. Domestic abuse is one of the most common areas of SMD reported on applications.

“It [the grant] has brought an element of normality back to what was a really abnormal environment. It is a platform for opportunities. When you have the little things in place, you can put the bigger things in place too.” Helen*, grant recipient.

David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive of Family Action said “The initial findings from the Open Doors Programme indicate quite clearly the role that small cash grants, as part of a programme of support, can play in facilitating deeper and more far reaching change in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society. We are excited to continue this work to understand the long term sustainability of the change.”

Alice Evans, Director of Systems Change at Lankelly Chase said “The report shows the stark and awful reality faced by individuals every day. Without financial support it is not clear to me how individuals will be able to turn their situations around. With the future of Local Welfare Assistance uncertain, this report provides clear evidence that cash grants continue to play a pivotal role for individuals.”

The full report can be found at: Opening Doors Changing Lives