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Family Fund logo - Family Fund logo

Member Spotlight: Family Fund

We spoke to ACO member charity Family Fund about the work they have been doing during lockdown and their recent research looking at how Covid-19 has impacted families with disabled children.

Who are we?

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

We are funded by the four UK governments, charitable trusts and foundations, individual donations and fundraising, and income we generate through the work of our trading arm, Family Fund Business Services. Last year, we provided over 89,000 grants and services to families across the UK worth over £33 million.

What we do

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.

Beginning with those on low incomes, and considering all conditions against our own eligibility criteria, which is based on the social model of disability, we aim to make a difference to outcomes for disabled or seriously ill children and young people and the lives of the families raising them.

We support this by providing grants for essential items that help break down many of the barriers families face. This ranges from kitchen appliances, clothing and computers, to sensory toys, bedding, family breaks, garden improvements and more.

We also provide a range of programmes and services, such as iPad training, as well as information and signposting to other services to families that apply to us, in order to help them access more of the support that may be of help to them.

How our grants make a difference

Our grants are focused on improving a family’s quality of life and easing the additional daily pressures that often come with raising disabled or seriously ill children. For Cameron, a grant for sensory toys and outdoor play equipment means that he has a safe place to play, especially during the current coronavirus pandemic.

As mum Emma told us: “Getting outside is a change of scenery for us and provides an extra place to play. That is really important to me right now. Cameron can’t manage going to play parks, so we’ve brought the play park to him.”

You can read more about the difference our grants make in our Family Stories

The end of lockdown? - Research into the impact of Coronavirus

With families at the heart of the work we do, it’s important that we understand their needs and concerns, especially during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Since lockdown began, we have seen applications for grants rise by over 40% year-on-year. In response to this, our research team has conducted three waves of online surveys with our families to find out how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting their lives.

In total, more than 7,000 families raising 9,000 disabled or seriously ill children have participated in the research over the last few months, with the latest survey taking place in August 2020.

The latest research shows families raising disabled children are still struggling emotionally and financially six months after lockdown began.

From our latest survey, the key findings are:

  • Half of families have lost income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, and more than three quarters are experiencing increased household costs.
  • Two in five families have seen their savings reduce, leaving seven in 10 families with no money to fall back on and increasing levels of debt.
  • More than three in five families have seen the levels of formal and informal support decrease since the coronavirus outbreak, with many still going without vital forms of support.
  • The mental health and wellbeing of the majority of disabled or seriously ill children, as well as their siblings and parent carers, has been negatively impacted, and showing little signs of recovery.

Our latest findings were also featured in The i, and you can read more here: Families raising disabled and ill children are concerned their health and wellbeing has deteriorated during Covid-19 pandemic.

Want to know more?

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