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.


  Read Memmee and Micah's story

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.


  Read Tia's story

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.


  Read Saichon's story

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.


  Read Eilidh's story

The first steps to a wider world: Our Chief Executive’s statement

We are Family Fund. We help families.

Families of all ethnic and cultural groups, grandparents, lone parents, parents living with extended families, step families, adoptive families, children with or without brothers and sisters. Families who are brilliant, passionate, flawed and funny. Families who are managing against the odds. Families who are not managing at all. Families facing the strain caused by the additional costs of raising a disabled child. Families isolated by the barriers facing disabled children. Families facing a continuing, draining fight just to access services to care for their children.

Last year saw the number of families asking us for help increase yet again. This makes it imperative that we find new ways to fund the support families tell us they rely upon. The support that will make a difference for each family varies tremendously. From talking with our families every day and learning more about their needs, we have made efforts to expand the range of grants and services we can offer, especially where those needs are not being addressed elsewhere.

Last year, we announced our ambition for the coming five years - to provide 150,000 grants and services a year to children, young people and their families across the UK by 2022. This year has seen that process of growth and diversification begin in earnest.

Alongside our established grant programmes, we launched a number of new programmes from funding provided by new funders such as The Marian Elizabeth Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and Flora’s Fund, focusing on families in particular locations and with particular conditions, matching families’ needs with the ambitions of these new funders. We also began a pilot with the charity Motability to help families with children under three years old with significant mobility needs who cannot claim the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The Family Fund Mobility Scheme, funded by the Motability Tenth Anniversary Trust, is still in its early days, but has already helped a number of families with a lease for a vehicle suitable for their needs, and greatly increasing the freedom and control they have over their everyday lives.

Last year, we announced our ambition for the coming five years - to provide 150,000 grants and services a year to children, young people and their families across the UK by 2022. This year has seen that process of growth and diversification begin in earnest.

We continued to expand of the range of information, advice and support (IAS) we could provide – a service that addresses some of the worrying gaps in knowledge about available support that many families are experiencing. We also continued to deliver digital skills training to parents, carers and young people – a programme which our new evaluation report Building Digital Confidence has shown can significantly improve the understanding and confidence of those who are not familiar with digital devices, improving inclusion and reducing isolation.

I want to particularly mention Family Fund Business Services (FFBS), our trading subsidiary, which has gone from strength to strength in the last year, and continues to be a valuable source of sustainable income for our charity, providing £400,000 in gifted profits in 2017/18. In February, we won the  won the tender to deliver the BBC Children in Need Emergency Essentials Programme, which supports individual children and young people living with severe poverty and lacking the basic facilities which most of us take for granted, often whole coping with additional pressures such as domestic violence, disability or poor health in the family. This work has enabled us to bring together our expertise across the Group to make an difference to even more children, young people and their families.

The unique nature of FFBS was recognised at the Charity Awards this summer when we won the ‘Grantmaking and Funding’ category for the inception and development of FFBS, recognising its’ success in delivering social value for all its customers – a very proud moment for everyone involved in its journey.

Next year? We must do more, and we will ensure we provide the practical financial support that families tell us they need and that for so many is a lifeline. We will increase the number of grants and services we provide and we will continue to look at how we can grow and diversify our income, as well as ensure we meet the highest standards in delivering the requirements of our existing funders and of course our families. We will provide the information and advice that parents and carers require to access more of the support they need. We will listen to families, adapt to meet their needs, and amplify their voices.

We are Family Fund. We will help families.


Cheryl Ward
Group Chief Executive, Family Fund

Making a difference everyday: Our Chair's statement


In 2017/18, Family Fund saw the most significant expansion in the range of support we provide to families for several years, alongside a substantial investment in the future of our organisation, its infrastructure and, of course, our staff. All in the first year of our strategy ‘#help150,000’.

We provided 88,407 grants and services to families across the UK last year, exceeding the previous year’s total of 88,119. To be able to support more families at all is an achievement, given the continued pressures on static or reduced government funding, and reflects substantial continued efforts within the organisation to make the most of the funding we receive.

The four UK governments continue to be our primary source of funding and we are grateful for all of their continued support for our work both financially and in the clear value they place on being able to deliver vital support to families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. We also developed and launched four new grant schemes, each supporting a specific range of families, either in terms of geography or condition. These new schemes owe a great deal to the work of our fundraising team who were recruited during 2017/18, and who will continue to build and grow a diverse set of income streams over the coming year.

All this funding is nothing without the right calibre of people to ensure it is used to its fullest advantage in supporting families. We have continued to invest in our staff, developing our staff reward programme and becoming accredited as a Living Wage employer in April 2017. New staff recruited in research and public affairs roles will help us make the case for further change in policy and UK-wide support for families, as well as helping us to demonstrate the impact of our grants and services more effectively.

Data Security has been a priority for the Board and the organisation in the last year, and I am confident that the extensive work done to prepare us for the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation will ensure families can be confident that we will look after and use their data safely and in the manner they would expect us to. As part of this, we have achieved IASME Gold accreditation for our information governance and data security practice and processes, in addition to retaining Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation for another year.

We were able to provide a total of 88,407 grants and services to families across the UK.

We have also welcomed three new trustees to the Board who bring a range of experiences from the public, private and voluntary sectors that can provide the advisory leadership our growing organisation needs.

After six years I stepped down in June 2018, but remain a heartfelt supporter of the work of this great organisation. To play a (very) small part in helping Family Fund provide vital support to so many families across the UK has been a privilege. I have great confidence my successor, Neil Scott, and my fellow trustees will continue to provide the robust and informed governance that ensures the families we support can rely on us for the help that can make their lives a little easier and open the door a little further than it might otherwise have been.

In a world that is too often filled with barriers for families raising disabled or seriously ill children, I am proud to have represented an organisation that looked for reasons to say ‘yes’ rather than ‘no’. May many more families continue to hear that ‘yes’ in the future.


Ian Black
Chair of Trustees, Family Fund

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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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