One Day Changes Lives – The Association of Charitable Organisations

Nearly half a million people turn to charities for support, including basic essentials. Grant-giving organisations are facing increased demand for financial and non-financial aid

By Pixie Parker · January 21, 2020

With January intensifying the difficulties people face financially and emotionally, new research has revealed nearly half a million people turned to charities for help in just one year.

National data from the Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) shows the number of people seeking help from charities and benevolent funds because they have nowhere else to turn following an unexpected change in circumstances has risen over the last four years. At Buttle UK, we have helped with support including basic essentials, leisure or therapeutic activities and funding for boarding school.

The ACO represents more than 120 charities, including Buttle UK, that provide financial support in the form of grants, which help thousands of people across the UK. A recent survey of members showed more than 100,000 people applied for financial help in the last financial year. When extrapolated across its entire membership base, it is estimated ACO member charities will have supported at least 400,000 people in need. In 2015, the charities distributed more than £56 million in grants. In comparison, this rose to more than £60 million last year – £216 million when applied to its entire membership base.

In the last year alone, Buttle UK gave out 5,272 grants, totaling £3,571,066 that helped 13,027 children and young people. The most common items that we funded were beds and bedding, home appliances and sport, art, music and leisure activities.

The ACO is highlighting the work done by its member charities across the UK on 22nd January 2020 by sharing the stories of people whose lives were turned around thanks to the support they received.

It’s campaign, One Day Changes Lives, supported by Buttle UK, will show how an individual act of support granted by a charity one day can have a huge impact in improving someone’s life. Together, individual acts by ACO charities amount to a colossal positive impact on society.

These figures show the increasing levels of support needed by people with nowhere else to turn. Today we’re highlighting the big difference our members make to people’s lives through financial and non-financial help, and the role charities continue to play in the UK.

Donal Watkin - Chief Executive at ACO

Those supported by the charities were driven into a crisis for reasons including; them or a family member facing sudden illness or disability, incurring costs for unexpected household repairs or bills, being unable to pay the high costs associated with a health condition, poor mental health, being involved in an accident, family breakdown, or redundancy.

These are challenging times for the most vulnerable in our society. The number of children living in poverty, for example, is rising. But there are charities all over the UK that are helping out, by providing direct support through their grant giving to people when they are struggling, The efforts of these charities often go unnoticed, so we are delighted to be part of One Day Changes Lives and celebrate the amazing work these organisations do.

Joseph Howes - CEO Buttle UK

Whilst ACO members are predominantly grant-making organisations, they also provide practical assistance, employment support, befriending services, and mental health and wellbeing support. Members are seeing an increase in supporting applicants with non-financial aid, rising from 60,584 people helped in 2015 to 93,308 in 2018.

Help can include the purchasing of fridges, clothes and food, and support with the costs of childcare, healthcare and household bills. Some of the people supported needed help to buy wheelchairs, hearing aids, medical equipment and respite care. The charities also provide legal, debt and/or employment advice.

A few years ago, on Christmas eve, Tremaine, Errol and Pasha were placed in the care of their grandmother Bev, after watching their mother head down a dark road of drugs and crime.
Bev welcomed them with open arms, but caring for three traumatised children was tough. The children were lost and confused, and on a low income, Bev could not even afford to buy them beds. Children like this, in crisis, need a stable base to recover.

That is why Buttle UK offers Chances for Children grants, providing up to £2,000 to pay for the practical items and activities that children should have, but their parents or carers simply cannot afford. Bev found a local support worker who made an application to Buttle UK.In just a couple of weeks, the children were given beds and bedding, clothing, and a new fridge for the family. Buttle UK also funded boxing lessons for the two teenage boys and gymnastics for young Pasha.
This, Bev says, was the game changer. It gave them all routine and discipline, along with something to look forward to every week. Two years later, Bev couldn’t be prouder of how her grandchildren have been able to move forward from that dark time.

Buttle UK is encouraging members of the public who have ever been helped by grant-giving charities to take part today and share examples of support on social media using the hashtag #OneDayChangesLives

For more information about the campaign and ACO charity members visit

If you are an individual in need of support, and Buttle UK cannot help you, please visit ACO member Turn2us’ website, or call 0808 802 2000, open 09:00-17:30 Monday to Friday.