It costs up to three times more to raise a severely disabled child than it does to raise a child without disabilities. For many families, the coronavirus pandemic has increased the financial strain. Here are some charities and trusts that may be able to help.
The UK’s largest provider of grants for families with disabled children. Funds family breaks, sensory equipment, clothing, kitchen appliances, computers and much more.
Eligibility criteria: Disabled or seriously ill children aged 0-17 years, whose parents are eligible for Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based JSA or ESA, housing benefit, pension credit or income support. If you do not receive any of these benefits you can still apply, but will need to provide some extra information about your household income.
To apply: Visit www.familyfund.org.uk or call 01904 550055. If you have not received a grant from the Family Fund since 1 April 2020, you can re-apply now (instead of having to wait 12 months, as you normally would).
Provides funding for essential equipment, such as beds, buggies, wheelchairs, seating systems, communication aids and much more. They also offer emergency equipment loans, a free loan service for specialist toys, and comfort capsules for children who have been given a terminal diagnosis.
Eligibility criteria: Disabled children and terminally ill children under 19, who are permanently resident in the UK.
To apply: Call the Newlife Nurse Helpline on 0800 902 0095 to discuss your application, then fill out the application form. Your application must be supported by a professional involved in your child’s care, such as an Occupational Therapist or Social Worker.
Provides grants for specialised equipment, such as electric wheelchairs, walking aids, adapted trikes, adapted car seats, specialist seating, hoists, sensory equipment, weighted blankets and more.
Eligibility criteria: Children and young people with a disability up to the age of 25 years.
To apply: Contact email@example.com / 01244 335622 to request an application form. You will need to provide a reference from a health professional who works with your child and a quotation from the supplier of the equipment.
Funds powered wheelchairs, specialised buggies, therapy tricycles, multi-sensory equipment, specialised car seats and harnesses, sports equipment and more. Provides 70% to 80% of the total cost of equipment.
Eligibility criteria: Children aged 0-18 years (up to 25 years for sports equipment) with a chronic illness or disability. Household income must be less than £45,000 per year before tax (excluding benefits). Must be living legally in the UK.
To apply: Apply via online at www.caudwellchildren.com/apply-support or call 0345 300 1348.
Happy Days Children’s Charity
Funds holidays and day trips for young people and their families, as well as day trips and activity holidays for groups.
Eligibility criteria: Children aged 3–17 years with learning difficulties, physical or mental disabilities, and with acute, chronic or life-limiting illnesses. Also young people who have been abused or neglected, witnessed domestic violence, been bereaved or who act as carers for a parent or sibling.
To apply: Download an application form from www.happydayscharity.org/applications or call 01462 530710.
The Adamson Trust
Provides financial help with the cost of holidays or respite breaks.
Eligibility criteria: Children and young people aged between 3 and 17 years with physical, mental or emotional impairments.
To apply: Download an application form from www.theadamsontrust.co.uk. You will need to provide supporting evidence from a professional and details of the planned holiday.
Merlin’s Magic Wand
Provides complimentary one-day tickets to a Merlin attraction for the child and their immediate family. Can also help with travel costs, but not overnight accommodation.
Eligibility criteria: Seriously ill, disabled or disadvantaged children and young people aged 2-18 years (incl.). Must not have received tickets through the charity previously.
To apply: Go to http://apply.merlinsmagicwand.org. You will need to provide documentation which states your child’s condition and date of birth.
Sunny Days Fund
Provides grants for white goods, sensory equipment, IT equipment (not iPads), clothing and more. Also offers week-long breaks at their two holiday homes in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
Eligibility criteria: Children under 18 years with a range of conditions, such as Leukaemia, Cerebral Palsy, vision/hearing impairment, autism, Down syndrome, terminal and life-limiting conditions.
To apply: Call 01376 528376 and ask for Margaret, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to provide supporting evidence from a professional.
Not eligible, or can’t find what you’re looking for?
There are many more grant-giving organisations than those listed here. Some of them only provide grants for children with specific conditions, or whose parents work in specific jobs. Have a look on the following websites:
Disability Grants: A database of funders which you can search by section or keyword.
Sky Badger: Contact their help desk if you can’t find the right grant or are struggling to complete an application form.