Meet our families:
Memmee and Micah are siblings from Reading who live with their mum, Neema, and their little sister. They both have autism and learning difficulties.
Tia sustained a brain injury before birth, and has cerebral palsy which limits her physically and means she uses a wheelchair, she is non-verbal and tube fed.
Saichon loves listening to music, watching cartoons on her iPad, and going to the park, especially going on the swings. Family Fund helped with a set of swings for the garden.
Eilidh loves music, spending time outdoors and anything electronic. She has autism and a learning disability, she can find busy, noisy environments overwhelming and stressful.
Other grant support
We continued to seek opportunities to improve and expand our support across the UK to help improve the lives of disabled or seriously ill children, young people and their families. By talking to families and learning more about what would best help them, we look to work with funders to ensure the support we provide addresses a genuine unmet need while meeting the particular objectives the funder wishes to achieve through their work.
Take a Break
Take a Break was developed for, and is funded by, the Scottish Government and has been run by Family Fund since its creation in 2011. The aim of Take a Break is to support parents/carers, including kinship carers, to ‘take a break’, improving their physical and emotional wellbeing, in a way that they choose. A total of 2,030 Take a Break grants were provided in 2017/18.
Support from Take a Break can be made either to the main carer of a disabled child or young person aged 0-20, or by a young person aged 16-20 in their own right. Take a Break is open to all carers with no criteria around income. You can find out more about Take a Break at www.takeabreakscotland.org.uk
“It was one of the most exciting things we have done as a family. She was calm throughout the travel. Whilst on our family break, we completely forgot that she has a disability and we felt like a normal family doing normal things rather than being stuck in the house isolated.”
Heather from Morayshire
Siblings Matter Too
Thousands of parents tell us that when there is a disabled child in the family, life can be challenging for their brother or sister, whose own needs will often have to come second to those of their sibling with additional needs.
Because Family Fund listens and responds to what families tell us, we created Siblings Matter Too, a grant programme specifically for the siblings of disabled children. This programme provides small grants of a gift card to siblings to recognise the vital role they play in caring for their disabled brother or sister.
This programme is funded entirely by donated income (with the majority coming from the profits generated by our trading subsidiary, Family Fund Business Services) and provided grants to 1,212 siblings last year.
More information on the challenges being a sibling to a disabled child can bring can be found in our report Do Siblings Matter Too?
“When I received the grant, I was so excited to see a letter with my name on, and even more happy when I found out why I was given it! I wanted to get my brother something too, because I know he can be naughty and hurts me a lot, but it’s not his fault and he is special to me. It’s made me feel happy that someone else thinks I’ve been good and deserve a surprise.”
Poppy from Middlesbrough (sister to Oliver who has communications difficulties).
Garfield Weston Foundation
Garfield Weston Foundation provided £100,000 of funding to help families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people in Wales with essential items such as clothing, bedding, washing machines, kitchen appliances or furniture such as beds. This funding was essential to assist us in taking a step towards bridging the gap for support to families across Wales due to a reduction in our Wales grant funding in 2016 which meant that families could only apply to Family Fund for a grant every three years.
The Wales Essential Grants Programme allows families to apply for a variety of items annually. By the end of March 2018, 156 grants had been provided through this programme. Garfield Weston’s funding also acted as a catalyst for securing further funding for our work in Wales, with Moondance Foundation providing £25,000 in funding for essential support in Wales, which will continue to fund this programme in 2018/19.
“Recently, our dishwasher broke, and the door had to be held on with a cable tie which is obviously not ideal, but it caused problems for Charlotte too. She has special beakers, which need to be kept sterile, and trying to achieve this with a broken dishwasher is not easy.
What’s more, Charlotte loves water and has no awareness of danger so a washing up bowl full of water could cause a potential risk for her. We applied for a grant for a new dishwasher and it’s made a world of difference, we also purchased the extended warranty which means we shouldn’t have to worry about it for a while!”
Hayley, South Wales (mum to Charlotte, 12, who has cerebral palsy).
Marian Elizabeth Trust
We started delivering grant support on behalf of The Marian Elizabeth Trust in September 2017, which provided a donation of £200,000. This support is for families living in Liverpool, Wirral and the Midlands caring for children and young adults with multiple complex significant learning and physical support needs up to the age of 21. In 2017/18, we provided 171 grants. The scheme will continue in 2018/19, with further funding agreed with the Trust.
“When Daniel was little we were constantly in and out of hospital, going to various appointments. He had a tracheostomy when he was younger, he has a lung condition as well as Down’s syndrome, and as we’re a big family it was really difficult and stressful at times. We’ve been trying to fund a swing for Dan for a while now, so when we heard that we were eligible for a grant from the Marian Elizabeth Trust we knew exactly what we would use it for, finally Dan could have a swing of his own. It will be so nice, especially in the summer, for us all to be able to spend some quality time outdoors with Dan.”
Lisa, Wirral (mum to Daniel, 15, who has Down’s syndrome).
Family Fund Mobility Support
Our Family Fund Mobility Support pilot began in early 2018, working with funding made available by Motability Tenth Anniversary Trust. This pilot supports families caring for disabled children under the age of three years old who have significant mobility needs, which can include children with conditions such as Global Development Delay, Mytonic Dystrophy or Down’s Syndrome. Children under three do not currently qualify for the mobility component of DLA, so these grants address a significant need amongst families of children who may have great difficulty getting out to do simple tasks such as shopping or hospital appointments.
While the pilot is in its early stages, the impact for the 10 families who have been able to access a vehicle has been significant, providing a new level of control and freedom in their lives. We hope that after the pilot evaluation is assessed, further funding can be provided to continue this crucial and life changing support.
“Before we received the car, things were quite difficult. We have to go to a lot of appointments with Henry, about three or four every week. The places we have to get to are quite difficult with public transport, and often involve a lot of walking, which was hard with all his equipment. Trains and buses can be chaos. Having the car has helped us massively, it is so much more simple. With we are able to get to some of the places we need to go to in about ten minutes.”
Nicola from Dagenham (mum to Henry, one, who has Global Development Delay and cerebral palsy).
Get in touch
Email us: email@example.com
Call us: 01904 550055
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.
© Family Fund 2018 All rights reserved