The Church of England and its sister churches elsewhere in the UK and Ireland rely heavily on the ministry of ordained clergy. Over the years, many of these clergy suffered considerable financial hardship. The predecessor organisations to the present day Sons & Friends of the Clergy focused on making financial grants to help such clergy through difficult times.

Today, most Anglican clergy receive a stipend that the Church believes is 'adequate for clergy to discharge their duties without undue financial anxiety'. Most clergy households now have an income equivalent to, or greater than, the average household income in the UK. Access to state benefits has further improved the financial situation of many clergy households. However, Sons & Friends recognises that there are circumstances where the income of a clergy household (or that of a widowed, divorced or separated clergy partner) is not sufficient to support the particular situation of the household. In such circumstances, one-off grants may be available.

All support is provided by our small team of grants officers and is completely confidential.

Who can apply for a grant?

The charity supports the following beneficiary groups:

  • Serving and retired Anglican clergy and their dependants.
  • Divorced and separated spouses and civil partners of eligible clergy.
  • Widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of eligible clergy.
  • Anglican ordinands training for ministry in the UK or Ireland. 

The relevant clergy must be working in or have worked in:

  • The United Kingdom.
  • The Republic of Ireland.
  • The Diocese of Sodor and Man.
  • The Channel Islands.

We can consider help for Anglican clergy in the Diocese in Europe or who currently work abroad (supported by a UK-based missionary society). However, our help in these cases will be limited to unforeseen crises and not where any structural shortfall in finance could have been anticipated prior to the posting.

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What types of grant are available?

Gifts towards financial hardship

Using data from the Office of National Statistics and the charity’s long experience of grant-making, Sons & Friends has established benchmark incomes to assess the level of financial hardship. Where the charity judges that the household income is not sufficient to support the particular situation of the household, grants towards alleviating hardship may be available.

The household income of retired clergy, widows/widowers of clergy, and divorced and separated spouses will be assessed in a similar way.

Applicant Information and Form


Starting in September 2018, the way we support Anglican ordinands training in the UK and Ireland has changed.

Health grants for a physical or mental health condition have been expanded to include ordinands and their dependents. Read more on Ordinand Grants

We have also launched an Ordinand Library resource in partnership with SPCK.

Previous Grant Recipients

If you have previously received an ordinand grant from us and are still in training, then you can continue to apply for a reduced grant of £230 per year, payable for each year of your training until you are ordained to the office of deacon.

Special Purpose Gifts

Gifts may be available to help eligible households with some specific needs as detailed below. The financial position of eligible households will be assessed in the same way as for Gifts towards financial hardship. 

Accessibility modifications: Help may be available towards the cost of mobility aids, stair lifts, installation of a wet room etc, where there is a medical need.

Bereavement: Help can sometimes be considered for clergy and their widows/widowers towards the costs of their spouse’s/partner’s funeral.

Debt relief: In exceptional circumstances the Trustees may be able to offer limited help with repayment of debt.

Legal fees on buying first property: Legal fees incurred on the purchase of a first property for clergy who are approaching retirement. 

Medical expenses: Help may be available to assist with medical expenses that are not covered under the NHS – most often for counselling, therapy, care home fees etc. Please ensure that you have contacted your Local Health Authority/Social Services and all other third party sources of funding to see what help is available.

Nursing home fees: Limited help can be considered towards the costs of nursing home care where the shortfall in fees cannot be met by the State, local authority, other relevant charities or family.

Relationship Counselling: Help may be available towards relationship support counselling.

Resettlement: Where there is no Diocesan help available.

School fees: In certain exceptional circumstances, the Trustees may provide help towards school fees where there is a compelling proven educational need for a child to attend an Independent School.

Please contact a member of the Grants Team at the office on 020 7799 3696 if you would like to apply for any of the above Special purpose gifts.

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