Family Fund’s year-long report into the impact of the coronavirus pandemic highlights challenges that families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people are facing in the UK.

The aim of the report has been to highlight the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the lives of families, and to understand their related concerns and needs. We know that families face ever-present and substantial pressures in their lives. The report paints a picture of the past year, and highlights the significant effects the coronavirus pandemic has had, and is continuing to have, on three key areas: support, finance, and wellbeing.

The report is based on research undertaken across five online surveys from March 2020 to February 2021, as well as in-depth interviews with families. In total, over 13,000 families from across the UK have participated in the research.

Key findings:

  • Three quarters of families (75%) report the overall support available to them has decreased since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Three quarters of families (76%) report their overall financial situation has got worse as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Four in five families (79%) report that their overall health and wellbeing has got worse since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Two in five families (42%) believe it will take more than a year before their lives return to normal.


The ongoing difficulties accessing support, increasing financial pressures, and growing negative impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the wellbeing of families raising disabled children and young people are combining to leave many unsure of when life will return to normal.

Based on the evidence gathered over the last 12 months and what families raising disabled children and young people have told us, we have set out key recommendations focusing on:

  • Returning formal support
  • Ensuring breaks and respite support is available
  • Uplifts to key benefits
  • Assisting with essential household bills
  • Offering debt information and support

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund says, “These challenges for families are, ultimately, challenges for all who work to support and improve the lives of disabled and seriously ill children. Despite the growth in the support that we were able to provide over the last 12 months, more is needed to be done.

For Family Fund this means working with families to provide practical and financial grant support that they value from us. It also means looking at ways in which support can tackle the barriers that this report highlights, looking beyond the immediate horizon and forward down a long road to recovery.”

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Read the full report:

The impact of coronavirus - A year in the life of families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people

You can also read our country specific reports: 



Northern Ireland