A car big enough to transport equipment thanks to the Family Fund Mobility Support programme
Sherene and Jamie live in Bolton with their two children; Ollie and Archie. Two year old Ollie is autistic and currently undergoing genetic testing for a rare underlying condition.
Mum Sherene, has told us about Ollie’s condition and how their Family Fund Mobility Support (FFMS) grant has benefited them.
“Ollie was diagnosed as autistic just after he turned two. We were also told that Ollie may have an underlying genetic condition contributing towards his development and gross motor skill delays, which isn’t explained by an autism diagnosis. So Ollie is currently undergoing genome sequencing that is testing against thousands of rare conditions. Ollie also has pica and a diagnosis of Brown syndrome which affects his left eye. Despite his conditions, Ollie is a very loving little boy. He has a cheeky personality and loves nursery rhymes.
“Ollie’s conditions affect his day-to-day life. He requires constant supervision as he has no danger awareness and eats anything and everything. Ollie has no communication and has numerous meltdowns throughout the day. Most of the time, we are unable to figure out why Ollie is distressed, so we have to guess.
“Ollie’s mobility is massively delayed which he finds frustrating. He began to walk recently but the physiotherapist has described his walking as immature. This means he won’t look at the floor and doesn’t have the ability to step over objects, so he often loses his balance and falls over.”
Sherene adds, “Ollie’s conditions affect our family massively on a day-to-day basis. We have to go to places when we know it’ll be quiet. He previously struggled with waiting for the bus due to the double pram not fitting on when the bus was full. Thankfully, we don’t have that issue now that we have the car from the Mobility programme.”
Family Fund Mobility Support
Ollie and his family have been granted a Ford Torneo Connect lease car by the Family Fund Mobility Support Programme. The car has helped the family in transporting the necessary equipment required to support Ollie with his conditions.
Sherene recalls, “I felt a big relief when I was contacted. Our previous vehicle wasn’t big enough for the walking aid and double pram. We were on the verge of cancelling a mini break to Skegness which we had booked many months before in hopes that Ollie would be walking by then, which he wasn’t. Thankfully the car lease allowed us to continue with our plans as it was big enough to transport all of Ollie’s equipment and holiday items.”
“Whenever we go out on trips, even just to the supermarket, we have to take the walking aid, double pram, distracting toys, personal care products, snacks, and a change bag for both Ollie and Archie.
Sherene says, “The car has improved our day-to-day life as we no longer worry about space for all of the essential items that we need to take. It has also made getting to hospital appointments much easier. Some appointments have been in Central Manchester which is quite a distance from our house. It allows travelling opportunities which wouldn’t have been possible before with our previous car due to it being very old and too small for our family life. We’ve been able to go on many family days out since the new car lease.”
The grant process
“The interaction throughout the process was second to none! It was absolutely outstanding from the start. The programme went above and beyond and ensured we had the vehicle before our planned trip. Family Fund has also been very helpful with the next steps regarding the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance(DLA) for Ollie. Everyone is very friendly, professional, and approachable. You can tell that they care about the children and the families that they support. You’re made to feel as if you’re the only family in the world.
“I will forever remember our first family holiday made possible by the Family Fund Mobility Support Programme.”
“If Family Fund and Motability were unable to help then we would have had to cancel our first family holiday. We wouldn’t have been able to give Ollie the opportunities outdoors with his walking aid. And we would have missed many appointments due to Ollie’s meltdowns waiting for the bus. We also wouldn’t have had the days out that we’ve had as a family. We’d probably have been stuck indoors a lot considering public transport isn’t suitable for children with additional care needs.
“This support programme is a fantastic opportunity for families who cannot access the mobility component of DLA for their child, and who are struggling with day-to-day activities due to all of the additional equipment required. The programme is amazing, and it’s helped us massively. All staff that I’ve been in contact with are truly amazing and as a family we can’t thank them enough.”