grants and services provided across the UK in 2017/18

We helped families in every postcode area of the UK last year. Find out more about how we did it.

Our year in numbers

How many applications did we receive? What did families need most?

Find out here 

Our services

We provide other help alongside our main grant programme. Read more about our digital skills programme, sleep support, information provision and other grant support.


Discover what we do 

Other grant support

Alongside our financial grant support, we can also provide help to families through two other grant schemes, Take a Break and Sibling Matter Too.


Read more about these 

Voices of families

We are very lucky to have so many of our families write blogs for us, describing what day-to-day life is like, both the highs and the lows, in their own words.


Find out what they have to say 

Measuring our impact


This year, we wanted to better understand the lasting impact of receiving a Family Fund grant. By this we mean – did it help reduce a family’s stress? Did it save time? Did it improve a child’s opportunity to play and have fun?

In short, do our grants make a difference?

This is why, last year, we conducted research with families to find out more about their experience of applying to, and receiving support from, Family Fund. Over several months, we surveyed 461 families at three points: when they applied, to establish their baseline situation at the beginning of their application for support; when they received their grant, to learn about the immediate impact; and six months after the grant was provided, to see what the lasting impact could be.

We used the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale to objectively measure changes in wellbeing across the three survey points, along with subjective questions for families relating to life satisfaction, financial security, knowledge of housing and benefit entitlements, ability to address their child’s communication and behaviour difficulties, participation together in social activities, having quality time available to spend together, that disabled children and their siblings had opportunities to play and have fun, and a range of questions asking what the positive change for adults, disabled children, non-disabled children, and the whole family had been as a result of the Family Fund grant.


Research findings

Almost all families surveyed said that Family Fund had changed something in their lives for the better (96%), with 46% of families reporting improved wellbeing scores against the baseline survey six months after receiving their grant.

The most widely reported benefit of Family Fund grants for disabled and non-disabled children was considered to be improved mental health or well-being (42% and 29% respectively). Increased opportunity to learn a new skill or enhance their education was also reported as a benefit for 34% of disabled children and 21% of non-disabled children.

The most widely reported positive changes for adults were ‘having something to look forward to’ (53%) and ‘improved mental health or wellbeing’ (31%). For families, the most reported positive change was ‘family stress is now reduced’ (46%).

Other findings of note included:

  Among respondents, 67% were from households where at least one individual was in some form of employment.

  The majority of families (76%) were raising one disabled child, with 18% raising two disabled children and 6% raising more than two. 59% of households were raising a disabled child or children along with a child or children without a disability.

  46% of families felt more satisfied with their life than they did at the baseline survey, but 28% were less satisfied. Analysing the responses indicates that those raising three children or more were significantly more likely to report being less satisfied, while those with one child were more likely to be more satisfied. We know the challenges for larger families can be more complex than those for one-child families, and are considering how we can help address this through our support.

  There was an overall positive score for families on improved knowledge and confidence of housing and benefit entitlement and how to address their child’s communication or behaviour difficulties. However, families raising children with mental health conditions scored lower in their knowledge and confidence, indicating there may be extra information, advice and support needs to consider for these families.

  Four in ten parents/carers said their disabled children have ‘good’ to ‘frequent’ opportunities to play and have fun (43%). This compares to almost six in ten for non-disabled children (58%). These opportunities appear to be fewer the older the disabled child is, which reflects what we hear when speaking to many families who report reduced services such as after-school clubs and leisure activities for teenagers.

There were also positive impact scores reported for improved financial security, and for families doing social activities and spending quality time together.

Because of the wide range of factors that affect families’ lives, it is difficult to identify the extent to which the changes can be attributed solely or in part to Family Fund grants. However, across all the outcome areas where we were seeking to achieve positive change, there were at least small, positive improvements in families’ responses, rather than a regression to the results seen before the grants were awarded.

We will be further evaluating the responses and the research process before beginning further outcomes research with families during the coming year.



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4 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive, York YO32 9WN

The Family Fund Trust for Families with Severely Disabled Children. Private company limited by guarantee. Incorporated in England and Wales. Registration no. 3166627. Registered charity no. 1053866. Scottish charity no. SC040810.

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