Special Purpose Funds


Major grants

We’re currently involved in several major projects across the Trust.

Helping to improve A&E

Patients visiting accident and emergency (A&E) at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington are set to benefit from improved facilities and an increase in treatment areas for the most serious cases following a £3.5 million refurbishment. 

Work on the upgrade has been funded in full by a grant from Imperial Health Charity. The A&E will remain open throughout the refurbishment.     

Dr Ali Sanders, chief of service for emergency and ambulatory care at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The layout and design of St Mary’s A&E department needs to keep pace with demand. Last year, we had a 15% increase in patients arriving via emergency ‘blue light’ ambulance. The upgrade will provide more spaces for assessment and treatment of our most critically ill and injured patients and a more efficient working environment for staff. This will mean faster pathways for patients, in better surroundings and with greater privacy.” 

Redeveloping the Riverside Theatres

The Riverside Operating Theatres at Charing Cross Hospital are set to be redeveloped thanks to a £1 million grant from the charity.

The theatres are currently outdated but these improvements will produce the full set of facilities required for elective short stay surgery in one unit: waiting area; patient consent rooms; four theatres compliant with modern air handling requirements; recovery; improved changing rooms; and improved storage to maximize the use of the theatre facility.

Upgrading outpatient areas

The charity has awarded £7.2 million to transform outpatient clinics at two of the Trust's hospitals after the Care Quality Commission highlighted a number of areas that could be improved. 

Refurbishments are taking place in the clinical and waiting areas used by day case patients at Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals. This includes main outpatients and renal outpatients at Hammersmith, ENT, opthalmology and main outpatients at Charing Cross.

An additional £290,000 was awarded to Western Eye Hospital at the end of July to reconfigure and renovate the outpatients department.



Dresden Hardship Fund

Funding is available to support patients and families who are experiencing extreme financial difficulty as a direct result of their time in hospital. Members of staff employed by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust may apply, on behalf of a patient being cared for at one of the Trust's five hospitals for financial relief of up to £2,000.

Funds must be for a specific purpose to provide a positive impact on patients’ immediate and/or long-term health and welfare needs. Financial relief can be provided to support a patient with transport costs, accommodation, funeral expenses, baby-care essentials, clothing and other critical need items.

How to apply

  • Applications must be completed online. Click here to apply via our online application system.
  • A decision will be made within 48 hours of receipt of an application.
  • Signatures are required as part of the application process from the applicant, patient and line manager. An application cannot be submitted or considered without obtaining all three signatures first. 


  • Applications must be submitted on behalf of the patient or family by a member of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. There is an exception for trainee GP contracts with the Royal Free but working at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • The patient must be receiving Inpatient or Outpatient care at one of the Trust’s 5 hospitals (Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye).
  • There must be clear evidence of a real and critical need to provide financial assistance. Having compared the patient’s circumstances with those of the many others they have encountered in the course of their work, the member of staff must be satisfied that the case stands out in terms of both financial hardship and the relief that a grant from the fund might provide.
  • For both Inpatients and Outpatients, the financial hardship must be a direct result of their NHS treatment.
  • Up to £2,000 is available per patient. Patients will need to keep proof of purchase receipts for expenditure and complete a receipt log form.
  • The patient must not previously have received a grant from the Fund in the same calendar year. We can consider a repeat grant application after a year but the patient needs to have evidence of worsening financial hardship due to their time in hospital/treatment.

The charity does not fund

  • Unconditional awards
  • Rent Arrears
  • Council Tax
  • Treatment not covered by the NHS
  • Legal Aid
  • Immigration fees
  • Overseas patients

The charity will fund

  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Subsistence
  • Hygiene essentials
  • Funeral costs
  • Essentials (e.g. clothing, laundry)
  • White goods (up to £300).
  • Utility bills (up to £500). Will only be considered as part of accumulated debt and where it is clear that it would make a significant difference to a patient’s recovery.

This list is not exhaustive. Please contact grants@imperialcharity.org.uk to discuss other financial support requests.

Further information

  • Applications are accepted year-round with no formal deadlines. The charity strives to assess and respond to applications as soon as possible to meet the immediate need of the patient.
  • The charity will assess applications and will make an award that is deemed suitable which may be different from the original amount requested.
  • For any additional information or guidance, please contact the charity's grants team by emailing grants@imperialcharity.org.uk or calling 020 3857 9844.






Special Purpose Funds

The charity oversees more than 400 donor-gifted funds each with a specific purpose to support a particular ward, department, area of research, service or group of patients. Through the generosity of our donors we are able to provide tailored funding opportunities to a wide range of Trust departments and services.

The charity team, trustees and designated special fund advisors - who are made up of suitably qualified staff from within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust - identify ways to utilise the funds to make a real difference to the Trust’s work in line with donors’ wishes. 

Special Fund Advisors have delegated authority to spend funds in line with their specific purposes and agreed priorities, without the need for formal applications on each occasion of use.

Frequently asked questions

How can I tell whether my ward or department has a special purpose fund?

Please contact the charity’s Deputy Finance Director or Administration Manager to find out whether a fund exists already. If not you can set one up.

How do I set up a special purpose fund?

If your ward, department, service or area of research receives – or hopes to solicit – donations, then it may be advisable to open a special purpose fund with the charity into which those donations can be paid. The charity’s Deputy Finance Director or Administration Manager can advise on whether a suitable fund exists already. If a suitable fund doesn’t already exist, a new fund can be opened by completing and submitting (as a signed hard copy) the Opening a Special Purpose Fund form.

Do I need to use special forms to record donations?

You are encouraged to use the donation form CF02 provided to record donations, and donation form CF02A to obtain the donor’s name and address, so that their donation can be acknowledged and, where appropriate, they can be encouraged to Gift Aid their donation (which allows the charity to claim from the government an extra 25p for every £1 given, at no cost to the donor).

Can fund advisers use funds as they see fit?

No. Fund Advisers act as agents for the charity’s trustees. Ultimate responsibility for the funds remains with the trustees, who may determine that a proposed use is inappropriate or that an alternative use is required (subject to the express requirements of the donor). The charity's trustees may replace fund advisers or take direct control of funds where they deem it appropriate.

What regulations apply to special purpose funds?

Fund advisers are required to abide by the regulations that govern all special purpose funds administered by the charity. The regulations provide guidance on the types of income that can be accepted, explain the restrictions on types of expenditure that can be incurred, and generally provide a framework for administration of the funds.

How do I access the funds in a special purpose fund?

Before a Special Purpose Fund can be accessed, the fund adviser(s) must prepare a spending plan for the fund and have it agreed by the appropriate person within their CPG (generally the head of operations, but for research funds the head of research) and approved by the charity. For guidance on special purpose fund spending plans please see Appendix 3 of the regulations.

I have an agreed spending plan – how do I go about spending the money?

This will depend on what you want to use the money for:

Equipment of any description (medical, computer, furniture etc) must be ordered by completing a manual non-stock requisition form and submitting it to the charity for authorisation. With many types of equipment (but not all), the charity benefits from VAT relief. The charity’s Deputy Finance Director will be able to advise on whether VAT relief will apply and will draw up the relevant paperwork if it does. Once approved by the charity, the goods will be ordered by the NHS Trust Purchasing Department, with the invoice addressed directly to the charity rather than the NHS Trust. All orders must comply with NHS procurement policies.

In the case of other items (e.g. books, conferences), it is generally easiest if the fund adviser (or relevant staff member) incurs the expenditure personally (e.g. on a credit card) and then claims reimbursement using the charity’s expense claim form. It is always advisable to check with the charity’s Deputy Finance Director before incurring expenditure, to ensure that reimbursement can be made. Reimbursement will only be made where a valid expense claim form is submitted with original receipts and countersigned by a fund adviser who is not the person claiming reimbursement.

I have been a fund adviser but am now changing my role/leaving the NHS Trust – how do I appoint a replacement fund adviser?

Please use the change of signatory form to advise the charity of the recommended replacement. Please note that appointment as a fund adviser is at the discretion of the charity, but they will always take account of recommendations received.

How do I appoint additional fund advisers?

Please use the additional signatory form to advise the charity of additional signatories. Please note that the appointment of additional fund advisers is at the discretion of the charity, but we will always take account of recommendations received.

If you have not found the information you are looking for, please contact Finance Director Russell Shea on 020 3857 9849 or email russell.shea@imperialcharity.org.uk

Socially Excluded Grants

The grants programme for Socially Excluded Groups 2013/14 is now closed. However you may wish to read on and find out about the programme in preparation of the next round in 2014/15.

Certain groups within London’s population may be described as hard to reach or socially excluded. Whilst there is no simple definition for this group, they include individuals who are homeless, refugee and asylum seekers, victims of domestic abuse, offenders, sex workers, those of a sexual minority and those who are of black and minority ethnicities (BME). One of the charity’s priorities is to assist in addressing health inequalities in the communities served by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, so it is looking to support projects that work with the trust to improve the health of those whose voices are rarely heard and to enhance their experience and perception of the care they receive.

Am I eligible to apply?

We would welcome an application from you if you can demonstrate that your project aims to resolve difficulties and develop greater engagement, communication and access between socially excluded groups and health services. Your project should look to influence staff attitudes and improve knowledge of these groups and empower them to engage with their own healthcare. Projects must also show how learning will be measured, shared with the wider health community and how it is sustainable post charity funding.

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for any amount between £10,000 and £150,000 with no time limit on the duration of your project.

How do I apply?

There are two stages to the application process:

Stage 1: Expression of interest (EOI)

Please complete and return an expression of interest form If you have already applied, please refer to the timeline below for guidance on subsequent stages. All EOIs will be assessed and shortlisted by both the charity and senior representatives from across the trust. Those shortlisted will progress to Stage 2 and be invited to submit a full application.

Stage 2: Full application

If you are shortlisted for Stage 2, you will be contacted by the charity’s Grants Manager who will send you the relevant forms. Your application will then be assessed by the Charity’s Socially Excluded Group Grants Committee (SEGGC) which consists of representatives from both the trust and the wider health community. In addition, the SEGGC may invite you to present your application in person. The SEGGC will then make recommendations to the Charity’s board of trustees, who give the final decision on applications received at Stage 2.

Timeline for applications 2013/14

Please note these dates and times carefully as we will not consider late applications under any circumstances:

  • Deadline for submission of Stage 1 EOI forms: 5pm on Monday 9 December 2013
  • Successful applicants invited to Stage 2: week commencing 16 December 2013
  • Deadline for submission of Stage 2 full applications: 5pm on Thursday 30 January 2014
  • Applicants receive final decision: Tuesday 11 March 2014

Getting help with your application

There are guidance notes available to help you complete your EOI form. We strongly advise you to read these before submitting your application.

If you have any questions about the process or about the grants programme, please contact the charity at elizabeth.prescott@imperial.nhs.uk or call the Grants Manager on 0203 312 2060.

Research Fellowship Awards

Applications for the 2018/19 round of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral research fellowships are now closed. Applications for the next round will open later in the year. 

As part of our charitable objectives, we are committed to supporting our hospitals to undertake pioneering research and invest in the training and development of hospital staff. The Research Fellowship programme provides ‘first-step funding’ for health professionals looking to begin their academic career.

The key aim of the programme is to allow the successful applicants to undertake 12 months research to develop their research skills and produce the necessary data to springboard onto successful funding bids for further study.

Applicants are asked to identify an important research question that will make an impact on patient care within the Trust, surrounding communities and the wider NHS.

Since 2009, together with our funding partner, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, the charity has made a total of 55 Fellowships totalling £2.5 million. We have funded research into new and novel diagnostic techniques and treatments, self-management and aftercare, research into service delivery, team dynamics and decision making, shift handover procedures through to projects on the implementation of clinical guidelines.

How much can I apply for?

The Fellowship provides a maximum award of £50,000 for a period of 12 months. Funds are to provide support for the individual Fellow's salary and related research expenses.

Please note funding is available for a period of 12 months. If, however, there is a request to undertake the Fellowship part-time and requires an extended duration please email our grants team at grants@imperialcharity.org.uk

Am I eligible?

These eligibility requirements apply to both schemes:

  • Applicants must be working at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at the time of application. They must currently deliver services and plan to undertake their proposed research project for the benefit of patients at ICHT* and/or surrounding communities.
    *Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, St Mary's and/or Western Eye hospitals.
  • Please note you are not eligible to apply if you are employed by Imperial College London only. Applications can only be accepted from NHS employees working within/for ICHT. We will consider honorary and joint contracts with ICL on a case by case basis.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate a commitment to utilising the Fellowship position to undertake further study.
  • Applicants must be UK resident.

How to apply

The Research Fellowship schemes are an annual round. The 2018/19 award round has now closed and the next intake of applications for 2019/20 will open in November 2018.

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