Grants are available to help families in the UK who care for severely disabled young people up to age 17.
Applicants may be provided with the following:
- A payment card for a request for an appliance, clothing, furniture, home entertainment and leisure items.
- A product delivered to the applicant's home direct from a supplier for computers and trampolines. In Northern Ireland this will include appliances and home entertainment.
- A direct payment or voucher from a supplier towards a family break.
The Family Fund Trust was set up by the Government in 1973 and until 1996 it was administered by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in York. In 1996 it became an independent Trust. It provides grants and information related to the care of severely disabled children under the age of 17.
The Family Fund Trust is an independent organisation registered as a charity and a company limited by guarantee. It is funded by the national governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Family Fund allocates grants according to specific criteria relating to the child’s disability, receipt of a range of benefits, and proof of UK residency.
There are certain things the Trust cannot help with, as these are the responsibility of other statutory services including local authority or health services. In particular, the Trust is unable to support children and young people in local authority care, including those living with foster carers.
Children are not likely to meet Family Fund's criteria where their main or only difficulty is one of the following:
- They have eczema, asthma or allergies.
- They have specific educational difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or poor literacy.
- Their condition is stable and managed through medication, diet, monitoring, testing bloods or transfusions and there have been no recent medical crises as a result of their condition.
To be eligible, applicants must be individuals who:
- Are a permanent resident in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
- Have current legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for the last six months, and are eligible to work and apply for public funds.
- Are a parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 and under who lives at home.
- Are eligible for, and can send evidence of one of the following tax credits or benefits; Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Pension Credit.
- Are applying for a grant that is related to the needs of their child, children or young person.
As the Family Fund has limited funding and is unable to help all families caring for a disabled child or young person, it has its own definition of severe disability.
To meet the Family Fund definition of severe disability, children and young people must have additional complex needs, or have a serious or life-threatening illness.
There must be evidence that the child’s additional needs impact on the family’s choices and their opportunity to enjoy ordinary life, and the degree of planning and support required to meet their needs is much greater than that usually required to meet the needs of children and young people.
The Fund is not always able to meet the full cost of every item requested.
The Trust will look at any grant request that relates to the needs of a disabled or seriously ill child, young person and their family. This might be the following:
- Kitchen appliances.
- Sensory toys.
- Computers or tablets.
- A family break.
- Something to help with college for 16 and 17 year olds.
For applicants in Wales, funding will cover the following:
- Support families to take a break as a family.
- Support parents and carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities.
- Support families with items that help to ease some of the daily pressures they face.