Family Fund Grants and Other Support in Northern Ireland
Family Fund believes that all families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people should have the same opportunities as others: beginning with the most vulnerable, those on low incomes, and considering all conditions against the Fund’s eligibility criteria, the charity aims to make a difference to outcomes for disabled or seriously ill children and young people and the lives of their families.
Of particular interest to advisers will be grants for essential items such as washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, clothing and computers. It can be a struggle financially, emotionally and physically for families raising a disabled or seriously ill child, and these grants help break down many of the barriers families face, improving their quality of life and easing the additional daily pressures.
Jan Wright, whom many will know from her previous posts in the advice sector and with Advice NI as a consultant, is the Northern Ireland Partnership Development Manager for Family Fund.
Although all the information on grants and other support is on Family Fund's website, if you would like to connect with Jan, she works Tuesdays to Thursdays 8.00am to 3.30pm: email Jan.Wright@familyfund.org.uk, mobile 07818 456378 or join in Family Fund conversations on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Case Study 1Saichon is 15 and lives in County Armagh with her parents and her three siblings. She loves listening to music and watching cartoons on her iPad, and enjoys going to the park, especially the swings. Recently, Family Fund helped Saichon ’s family with a grant for a set of swings for the garden.
Saichon has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects her limbs but also impacts on her swallowing. She has epilepsy, and complex learning difficulties. Her mum, Vivien told us, “Previously Saichon was living in an orphanage in Thailand. It was obviously a big decision, as we have three other children, but we decided to adopt her in 2006. We need to spend more time with Saichon than we have with the other children, because her needs are so much greater.”
“Every time we take Saichon to the park, the first thing she wants to go on is the nest swing. She could happily lie in it for hours! Swinging gives her great sensory feedback and she really enjoys it. We got her two swings with the grant, a nest swing like the one she loves at the park, and also an upright swing. We were surprised to find that now we’ve got them at home she prefers the upright swing. It’s been great because it means we don’t have to travel in order for Saichon to be able to fulfil her sensory needs. Every day when she comes back from school, she’s pointing to the garden because she wants to go out in the swing – it’s great that we’re now able to do that from home. When she’s on the swings she’s absolutely in her element.”
“Without the grant it’s unlikely that we would have been able to afford the swings, and they’ve made such a difference. Saichon absolutely loves them – even when it’s raining we nip out quickly into the garden! If other families in a similar position were thinking of applying, I would tell them to apply as it’s helped our family so much, it’s helped Saichon and importantly it’s made her so much happier.”