Grants available for families of disabled children

A Northern Ireland charity is appealing for more families in the area with a disabled child or seriously ill child to come forward and apply for available grants.
A Northern Ireland charity is appealing for more families in the area with a disabled child or seriously ill child to come forward and apply for available grants.

A Northern Ireland charity is appealing for families with a disabled child or seriously ill child to come forward and apply for available grants for items like clothing, sensory toys and even family breaks.

The youth disability charity Autonomie who have helped over 275 young people throughout Northern Ireland access mainstream education is urging families in Coleraine and Ballymoney to seek grant assistance from UK awarding body Family Fund after the organisation discovered families in the area wrongly believe the grant is closed.

Family Fund is the UK’s largest provider of grants to families with disabled or seriously ill children and young people. The organisation provides a range of grants for items such as clothing, furniture, computers/tablets, sensory toys, white goods and family breaks. Last year, Family Fund supported 4,015 families with grants across Northern Ireland.

A Family Fund spokesperson said: “It has come to our attention that some families in Northern Ireland wrongly believe that Family Fund is currently closed for applications for grants.

“This might be because of the temporary closure of applications in November 2015 before further funding was approved by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. We want families in Northern Ireland to know we are very much open for applications and would welcome these.”

Trevor Boyle, Voluntary Co-ordinator at Autonomie said: “We would encourage any families in Coleraine and Ballymoney who may be eligible for a Family Fund grant to apply immediately. It can be a struggle financially, emotionally and physically for families raising a child with additional needs, and these grants help break down many of the barriers families face, improving their quality of life and easing the additional daily pressures.

You are eligible to apply for a Family Fund grant if:

* You live in Northern Ireland;

* You are the parent or carer of a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under;

* You have permanent legal residency in the UK and have lived in the UK for the last six months;

* You have evidence of entitlement to one of the following: Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit*, Employment Support Allowance*, Housing Benefit and Pension Credit

If families do not receive any of the above, they can still apply, but need to provide some extra information about household income.

Eligible families can download an application form, along with further details on applying on the Family Fund website: https://www.familyfund.org.uk