Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Family Fund have continued to provide vital support. Here, they explain how you can apply for their grants, and the difference a laptop has made to nine-year-old Skye.
About Family Fund
Family Fund supports families living across the UK who are who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person up to the age of 17. Our support is focused on those on low incomes with a child or children who have a high level of additional support needs.
At Family Fund, we believe that all families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people should have the same choices, quality of life, opportunities and aspirations as other families.
We support this by providing grants for a range of essential items. Families can apply for kitchen appliances such as fridges, freezers and cookers. We provide grants for clothing, bedding, games, books and music, as well as laptops and tablets, family breaks and sensory toys.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we have continued to provide vital support to families, and during this time we have seen a significant increase in applications.
In May, the Department for Education provided a further £10 million in additional funding to the £27.3 million it had already committed to Family Fund, which has allowed us to support thousands more families.
Who can apply?
If you live England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and you are the parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 0-17, you may be able to apply for support from us. We use our own Child and Young Person’s Eligibility Criteria to assess a disabled or seriously ill child or young person’s additional support needs based on a social model of disability. Children and young people do not need a diagnosis to meet Family Fund criteria. You can read our criteria here:
How can I apply?
If you’re thinking of applying to Family Fund, you can do so in a number of ways. You can register to apply online, you can download an application pack to print off at home or you can order a free application pack to be sent out to you. Families who have previously received a grant from us before 1st April 2020 and whose circumstances have not changed can re-apply for further support now.
The difference a grant can make
Skye is nine years old. She has attachment disorder, cognitive development delay and sensory processing disorder. Mum, Carol-Ann, explains, ‘Every day is a challenge. I constantly have to read Skye’s mood and her anxiety in order to adapt and change her environment or social situation.
‘The feeling of walking on eggshells is the most challenging aspect of daily life. We have to try and avoid situations that will trigger her anxiety or aggressive reactions.
‘If Skye is having an anxious or hyper-vigilant day, she is unable to deal with busy places, lots of noise or people. She will often have a meltdown, become aggressive towards me or become over-emotional with fear.’
Skye also finds school emotionally challenging. Carol-Ann continues, ‘She often holds all her emotion, fear and anxiety in at school. It’s not until the end of the day, when she comes home, that she releases all the pent up emotion and fear which means it’s almost impossible to get her to engage with any further learning or decision making.
‘She is easily frustrated when accessing schoolwork, especially as our old laptop was really slow.’
Earlier this year, Carol-Ann applied for a laptop, and received the grant during the height of the coronavirus lockdown. Carol-Ann’s response, ‘Skye’s new laptop is quick, and she can access lots of different learning pages that weren’t able to operate on her old laptop.
‘Skye has hypermobility in her upper limbs, which means writing is incredibly uncomfortable for her. The grant has reduced her frustration, and in the long term, the laptop will be invaluable in helping her complete her schoolwork without having to physically write.’