We are delighted to reveal the latest project as part of our partnership with McCain; a video featuring food expert Gregg Wallace showing how the current price hike in food bills is affecting UK families raising a disabled, or a seriously ill, child.

Set around the kitchen dinner table, the short film sees Gregg meet the White family - mum, Daisy and her children, Molly, Sapphire and Rhys, who has a life-limiting condition.

The short film launches after research revealed 90% of families raising disabled children are struggling to pay, or are falling behind on, their household bills, with a typical family seeing increasing debts of £5,592,on average, with over three quarters of parents having to pay more for food and groceries to meet the needs of their child, compared to families without disabled children.  

Gregg, who has a three-year old son who is non-verbal, learns more about the realities of life for families raising disabled children and the essential grants and support services that Family Fund provides. The work they offer to families like Daisy’s across the UK, in partnership with McCain, aims to enable more enjoyment together as a family at mealtimes.

The film sees Gregg and the family prepare a low-cost meal that suits the family’s wide-ranging needs, including meals appropriate to Rhys’s condition. Born with imperforate anus and one kidney, Rhys has had over 38 operations since then and now has chronic kidney disease that could limit his life to around 25 years. You can read Rhys' story here: familyfund.org.uk/blog/rhys-story.

Gregg and the White family chat through pressing issues, including how to creatively manage household budgets given the stark price-rises facing the nation, the impact of single parenting three children with varied care needs and how Family Fund with the help of McCain is supporting families in coming together to enjoy mealtimes whilst navigating the current climate.

With costs of living rising since early this year, April 2022 saw inflation reach its highest recorded level since 1982 according to ONS, affecting the affordability of goods and services for households. For many families like Daisy’s, who must maintain equipment like feeding pumps against the rising cost of electricity, these difficult times are even more pronounced.

Families raising disabled, or seriously ill, children are having to make stark choices on household expenditure, such as whether to heat or eat, with 46% of adults admitting to cutting back on food for themselves, and 39% saying they have to cut back on their energy usage. Nine in ten families polled with a disabled child, are falling behind on their household bills, with more than three quarters of parents having to pay more for food and groceries to meet the needs of their child, spending on average an extra £66 per month on household food, and on average an extra £30 per month on household energy bills, compared to families without disabled children.  

The film launches alongside the research into family life across the UK, in a poll of 1,066 families, commissioned by McCain and Family Fund, the UK’s biggest charity supporting families with disabled, and seriously ill, children.

Other key research findings (Family Fund Polling, March 2022):

  • 90% of families raising disabled children are struggling to pay, or falling behind on, their household bills and the average family debt now standing at £5,592.
  • 68% of families with disabled children are financially worse off than before the pandemic and 50% of families report that, over the year, their household bills have increased by more than £100 a month; 
  • 39% of families believe they will have to borrow more money or go further into debt. 
  • Almost half of families (47%) still report they are receiving less support than before the pandemic, and two thirds (66%) say their health and wellbeing is in a worse position.

The short film by Gregg Wallace, in partnership with McCain and Family Fund, is out now and available to watch on mccainfamilyfund.co.uk. Viewers can support families raising a disabled child, in urgent need, by heading to mccainfamilyfund.co.uk to learn more and donate.

  

Mark Hodge, Marketing Director at McCain, said: “The rising costs of living and spikes in energy costs have impacted every single family in the UK. Our short film with Gregg Wallace aims to raise awareness around what it takes to provide a meal for a family like Daisy’s, the highs and lows of raising a family with a disabled child, and the everyday difficulties many families are facing in the current climate.“

Cheryl Ward, Group Chief Executive at Family Fund, said: "Families that we support are finding themselves more financially stretched than ever before, with the current costs of living crisis landing on top of mounting debts, reduced incomes due to care-giving and the unsustainably high prices attached to raising a disabled, or seriously ill child, Rolling his sleeves up to help prepare a tasty low-cost meal for children with diverse needs, Gregg experiences, first-hand, the incredible resilience and creativity of families like Daisy’s, across the UK, in this short, touching film.

Gregg Wallace said: “It’s been really powerful to learn first-hand from Daisy and her kids the impact of the rising cost of living and how this has affected mealtimes for their family. Meeting the White family opened my eyes to the vital support Family Fund, with the help of McCain, offers families, especially during the current climate.”

 

McCain, who believes every family should be able to enjoy mealtimes together, has worked with Family Fund since 2021, pledging to help the charity reach its goal of providing 150,000 grants and services to UK families raising disabled or seriously ill children, each year.

Family Fund’s mission is to improve the lives of families on low incomes raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people. The national charity helps families in hardship and crisis, with vital support and information- including grants for essential items such as kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding, furniture, family breaks, computers and tablets, sensory toys and more.

The ongoing impact of the pandemic, rising financial pressures and additional ‘disability price tag’ costs mean hundreds of thousands of families are in need of urgent help. Over the past year, the charity has provided over 112,000 grants to  families, but there are still an estimated half a million more UK families who could access its grants and services.