Five-year-old Jacob from Cwmbran loves his toy cars, and playing outside. His mum, Imogen, told us that “Jacob loves outdoor play, but it’s difficult to find parks or play areas to take him to where he’ll be safe. He is severely autistic, non-verbal and has severe learning difficulties. He has very little danger awareness and is a ‘runner’, if we’re out and about he could just run off at any moment. He has had garden toys before, but unfortunately these have all been broken over the years.” Imogen first heard of Family Fund when her oldest son, who is also autistic, was eight. “We had applied in the past for a family break, and this year decided to apply for something for the garden for Jacob.”

“We were awarded a grant for outdoor play equipment, which is amazing, as it means Jacob wants to play in the garden again. We chose a playhouse with a ladder to climb and a slide, and he was thrilled. Jacob’s speech is very limited, he only has a few words, but when he saw it built he said ‘playground’, he’s really pleased with it."

"The impact of something like this is massive, for the last two years we’ve been effectively housebound because he didn’t want to play in the garden as his toys were broken, but now he wants to go out. It will make such a difference, especially over the summer holidays, as I can’t take him to the beach or the park because of the problems I have with him running. Now, we can go outside whenever the weather’s nice, and he can’t escape and it’s safe for him.”

“Without the grant, we wouldn’t have been able to afford the climbing frame, nor would we have been able to go on the lovely breaks we’ve been on in the past. Being a full-time carer, the money I do get coming in barely covers just general bills, and there isn’t much other support available. Without Family Fund we wouldn’t have been able to have the things we have, it’s really been amazing."

"I often tell other local families about the work that Family Fund do, I think it’s really important to make sure that other parents in the same situation are aware of the fantastic help they can offer.”