Charity announces record levels of support for disabled children

family-fundOver 15,000 more UK families are applying for vital grant support compared to five years ago, according to the latest figures from Family Fund, the UK’s largest charity providing grants to families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

Family Fund’s Annual Review 2015/16 outlines the impact of the 89,423 grants and support services provided to families across the UK last year – the largest number in the charity’s 43 years of existence – and highlights the continuing and increasing need for support that recognises the extra costs that can be involved in raising a disabled or seriously ill child.

Some of last year’s key statistics include:

  • Family Fund received 85,027 applications for support from families, compared to 69,221 in 2011/12 – a rise of 22.8% over five years.
  • A total of 89,423 grants and services, including digital training, advice on tax credits, and information, advice and support visits, were provided across the UK, worth over £36 million.
  • A total of 2,583 families received help within 48 hours of their urgent application being received, after finding themselves in unexpected financial crisis, for example, towards visiting costs during their child’s hospital care.
  • This annual review also outlines how the charity continues to deliver its services efficiently and effectively, with 94p in every £1 being spent on direct charitable purposes.

Families raising disabled children and young people face additional physical, emotional and financial pressure. The grants Family Fund provide help ease those pressures and break down the barriers families face, improving the wellbeing and quality of life for the whole family.

Reflecting on the charity’s work, Cheryl Ward, Family Fund’s Chief Executive, said:

“The breadth of Family Fund’s grants and support services is increasing year on year, and it needs to, because more families are coming to us for help that they cannot access anywhere else. Last year we provided 89,423 grants and services to tens of thousands of families across the UK.”

“Whilst this is an incredible achievement, and one that we are all very proud of, there is so much more we need to do to provide help to those who need it the most. We know there are even more families that will need our support in the coming year and way beyond. We have a broader programme of work already underway for 2016/17, informed by what our families tell us they need. This includes a new sleep support hub, ‘Tired Out’, digital skills programme and an expansion of our information, advice and support provision.”

“We are grateful to all those who help make this happen and for their continued commitment to Family Fund and the work we do. This includes the four UK governments, our corporate partners, supporters and, of course, our staff. By continuing to work together, we can provide essential help to even more.”

Family Fund’s Annual Review 2015/16 is available to view and share at www.familyfundannualreview.co.uk

Kian’s story

Kian is seven years old and was diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Tourette Syndrome aged six. Because of his condition, Kian can’t ride a regular bike, but when he visited an autism group partnership event he tried an adapted bike and loved it. Katie applied to Family Fund because she had to leave work to look after Kian and would not have been able to afford to buy an adapted bike herself.
“It used to be difficult to get Kian out of the house because of his sensory issues. Now he asks ‘Can I take Speedy?’ (the name he has given to his bike) and actually wants to go out. He can spend time doing something fun with his siblings as they all go out on their bikes together.”
Kian’s enthusiasm for Speedy has made going shopping much less stressful for Katie. “We can take Speedy to Asda and the security guard by the door looks after it for him while we do the shopping. Before, Kian would have refused to even leave the house to go shopping but now with Speedy it is much easier.” Speedy also gives Kian freedom and “burning energy by riding his bike means he sleeps much better. He is also gaining confidence and chats to people in the park when they complement him on his bike. Before he would never have spoken to people.”

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