The Disabled Children’s Partnership, of which Family Fund is a member, today launches a new campaign, Secret Life of Us, which highlights the day-to-day lives of disabled children, young people and their families.

It shows the similarities they share with everyone in the things they love and enjoy, but importantly, the unacceptable struggles they face on a daily basis, in living a life that many take for granted.

With a staggering 43% of people in the UK not knowing someone with a disability, the Disabled Children’s Partnership believe that with increased awareness and public support, a real difference can be made to the lives of disabled children, young people and their families.

Sam, mum to 14 year old son Henry, said: “When you have a disabled child, you find out who your true friends are. Many of the people in our life simply don’t understand the challenges that we face caring for Henry, whose behaviour can be difficult at times. Day to day activities become an event in themselves. We no longer get invited to birthday parties and heading to the shop is a negotiation to rival the UN or Brexit. You truly start to question whether you need milk in your tea after all.

“Health and social care services are integral to Henry and our family’s life, but most parents caring for a disabled child struggle every day getting access to the most basic of services they are entitled to. Once they do get past that hurdle, many are then faced with the prospect of spending hours on the phone, only to be told that there is no funding left, or to be placed on a waiting list.

“It makes a tough situation harder when families already facing challenges much greater than others, simply cannot access any heath or social services to help guarantee the level of care their child is entitled to.”

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund said: “We hear from thousands of families every year about the difficulties they face in completing the simplest of tasks, such as getting to and from school or going to the park, as well as easily accessing the essential services they need, when they need them.

“We are proud to be part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership and look forward to working with the other members to increase awareness of what raising a disabled child actually means for a family and building support for much-needed change.”

Amanda Batten, Chair of the Disabled Children Partnership, said:

“The gap in health and social care services in England today means that families face enormous difficulties in accessing even the most basic support. There simply isn’t awareness of the challenges faced by disabled children, young people and their families – even when completing what many would consider to be the simplest of tasks, with 3 in 4 of those surveyed naming shopping as the most challenging task in their day.

“We are launching the Secret Life of Us campaign because without awareness and understanding among the general public of the issues families face, we cannot affect real change. With the help of the public, we will fight for a country where disabled children and young people have the support and access to the same services and opportunities that most of us take for granted.”

Visit the Disabled Children’s Partnership website to find out more about the Secret Life of Us and sign up for updates.