Funding secured for families raising disabled children in Wales Family Fund has been successful in its bid to the Welsh Government’s new Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grants Scheme, securing one of the largest grant awards available. We have been awarded £1.5 million over three years from 2016/17 to support our grant and information programme in Wales. This new agreement does represent a reduction in overall funding from the £2.5 million that Family Fund received in 2015/16, and has each year for over 10 years. In recognising the valuable support provided by Family Fund, and to help support more families in the first year of changes to the scheme, the Welsh Government has also offered a further £400,000 for 2016/17, representing total funding of £1.9 million over the three years. A reduction in funding means that we will not be able to support the number of families we previously have in Wales. We estimate that we will be able to support around 1,500 families in 2016/17, and around 900 families per year over the following two years on current funding levels. Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said: “We are pleased that the Welsh Government has continued to support families on lower incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children, and we appreciate that very difficult decisions have had to be made with reduced budgets.” “The funding Welsh Government has provided over the years has made a significant impact on families’ lives. Families regularly tell us about the difference that these grants can make, particularly when you consider that it can cost up to three times as much to raise a child with a disability.” “We know that this news will however be hard for families, as it means we will be able to support fewer families overall.” Gordon Anderson, Welsh Trustee of Family Fund, commented: “Over the last 12 years, thanks to this funding, and with a focus on efficiencies and making the best use of funds, we have supported more and more families every year, rising from 3,200 in 2003/04 to 5,192 in 2014/15 on static funding.” “Over the next few months we will need to make some difficult decisions, but we are committed to working hard to see how we can find ways to secure additional funding to try and minimise the impact on the 3,000 - 4,000 families in Wales that have received support in the past and will still need help to ease the day to day pressures of raising a disabled child.” What families need to know The change in our funding means that, from April 2016, we will have to prioritise families who have not previously received a Family Fund grant. This means that, with the exception of urgent grants for hospital visiting costs, families will not be able to re-apply for funding as they might have previously expected. Family Fund will continue to accept applications to the current scheme from families in Wales until 31 March or until all available funding is spent. Any families who would have been eligible to apply up until 31 March 2016 can apply now. Please be aware that our current funding is limited and application is no guarantee of a grant award being made. If you have any queries about an existing application please contact us. If you would normally be due to re-apply for a grant before 1 April 2016, we are accepting applications now and you can either apply online or download an application form. Family Fund will announce the full set of changes to the grant scheme from April 2016 over the coming weeks.