Our local MP Ian Paisley has welcomed the Family Fund’s latest review which shows that last year in North Antrim they helped 121 families with grants worth £50,489. In the UK as a whole the organisation helped 59,166 families with grants worth £33.4 million.
The Family Fund is the country’s largest provider of grants to disabled children’s families. They aim to help ease families’ additional pressures by supporting them with washing machines, dryers, fridges, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers, much needed family breaks and more.
Their funds are targeted very efficiently and costs kept to a minimum, giving 91p direct to families for every pound they receive. In Northern Ireland, the funder is the Department for Health, Social Security and Public Safety. Last year, they gave £1,602,250 to the fund.
The need for the Fund’s support is starkly illustrated by the fact that in 2011.12 they received 18% more applications (73,076 in all) than in 2010/11. This included an increase of 63 per cent in families applying for the first time. The number asking for help with a family break fell by 37 per cent, replaced by urgent and essential requests for help with the cost of clothing, bedding and getting to hospital and doctors’ appointments.
Speaking after the review Ian Paisley said: “I wholeheartedly support the Family Fund and the constant and rewarding work they do for so many families around the UK. The fact that 121 families were helped in North Antrim last year just proves how vital and necessary they are for many families out there in these challenging economic times.
“I hope that the Fund continues its remarkable work to give many families out there that little extra help that is needed to enable them to live comfortably. If anyone In North Antrim does feel they require assistance from the Fund, do not hesitate to contact them and to enquire if you are eligible to receive a grant. Long may their worthwhile and vital work continue.”