Family Fund will be featured on BBC Scotland’s current affairs programme, ‘Disclosure’, on Monday 24 August at 7.30pm, which includes our research into the impact of the pandemic and need for increased support for families raising disabled children.

This comes as extra money to help families in Scotland is confirmed. Scottish Government has provided the increase in funding to allow Family Fund to support 500 more families this year with grants to help make their lives easier.

Families can apply for grants to support their child’s additional needs, including computers and tablets, outdoor play equipment and sensory toys, as well as practical household items which their family may rely upon more heavily, such as washing machines or fridges.

Extra grants available

Families can usually apply for a grant from Family Fund every 12 months, but we know that the impact of Coronavirus means more people need extra help during this crisis. This is why we have changed our criteria so that, if families have not received a grant on or since 1 April this year, they can apply again. This is available to families across the UK.

Since May, Family Fund has received extra funding from the Department for Education and Scottish Government, provided in response to the negative impact that Coronavirus has had on thousands of families raising raising disabled or seriously ill children. Our research shows how, since lockdown began:

  • 94% of families said the health and wellbeing of their disabled or seriously ill children had been negatively affected, an increase from 89% in first few weeks of the lockdown.
  • 89% said their disabled or seriously ill children’s behaviour and emotions were being negatively affected and 82% reported a negative effect on their mental health.
  • 65% said their access to formal support services for their child, such as physiotherapy and mental health services, has declined since the Coronavirus outbreak.

Alfie’s story

The documentary looks at life for people with disabilities in the pandemic and the challenges they face as lockdown eases. The documentary features Alfie and his family. Alfie is nine years old and lives in Dalkeith with his mum Amy, dad John, and little brother Jack. Alfie has autism and lockdown created many challenges for the family. Mum Amy said: “Alfie is non-verbal and it has been very difficult to explain to him why the routine he has had for years has been completely disrupted. There has been a negative impact on his concentration, sleep and mental well-being.”

Alfie has also missed his special school which has sensory and adapted play and learning equipment, and is where he would usually receive support services such as speech and language therapy.

The family have been impacted on financially with John being placed on furlough, and have been caring for Alfie, who needs constant supervision and help with all elements of personal care, around the clock.   

Just before lockdown, the family received a grant for a climbing frame, providing Alfie with a calming outdoor activity to help break up the day and encourage him to let off steam.

Amy said: “Alfie has found lockdown particularly difficult, as he’s usually always outside. He was so happy when he saw the climbing frame built and wouldn’t come inside for ages.”

Click here to find out more about Disclosure.

Click here to apply to Family Fund.