George is 22 and lives with his mum Jemma, step-father Shaun and brother Charlie. George has Down’s Syndrome, autism, complex health needs and learning difficulties. He also has problems breathing and needs an oxygen machine when sleeping.
George is described by his family as “the most beautiful soul, who’s so kind and has the best sense of humour. Everyone finds him so adorable. He would put a smile on anybody’s face.”
Jemma says, “Being a parent to a child with a disability has made me the person that I am. It’s made me strong, it’s encouraged me to fight for what I believe in, and fight for George’s rights.”
“As a parent carer, you’re the underdog, you can’t do the same working hours as someone who doesn’t have that challenge does. A lot of people don’t realise how difficult life can be when you’re raising a child with a disability.”
“George enjoyed attending specialist school, but it’s at college that he really started to flourish, taking part in performing arts as he enjoys singing.”
Your Opportunity grants
“After George turned 18, a lot of the support finished but life didn’t get any easier, our lives didn’t change, and we still need support. If anything, being a carer becomes harder because you get older. I still can’t work the hours that I would like to.”
Family Fund support young people, like George, through the Your Opportunity scheme which provides grants and services to people between the ages of 18 and 24.
“Through the Your Opportunity scheme, George received an outside swinging chair and a computer. George uses the computer for his specialised programmes that help his conditions through education and entertainment. He loves technology.”
Rising cost of living
“I worry about the cost of living crisis a lot because when you have a child like George who requires the use of an oxygen machine, your bills are horrendous. It really worries me that I won’t be able to put my son’s oxygen on. We do get some money back on our bill, but it doesn’t even come close to what it actually costs.
“Everything is going up but we don’t have any more money. The cost of fuel is huge but the biggest worry for me is the cost of electricity and running George’s oxygen machine. If the cost goes up even more then I probably won’t be able to.”
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