Family Fund charity urges families to grasp Your Opportunity

Families caring for young disabled adults at home are being offered help to improve quality of life by a national charity.

Already faced with three times higher costs to bring up disabled children, the cost-of-living crisis is placing families in financial jeopardy.

Family Fund is now urging families with a disabled 18- to 24-year-old living at home to apply through its Your Opportunity scheme for wide-ranging grants.

Set up four years ago to help young disabled adults lead more fulfilling lives and realise ambitions the scheme offers grants to support the transition to adulthood and includes technology, training and leisure activities.

Your Opportunity has supported more than 1,200 families across the country in the last 12 months and funds are now available to help many more.

Family Fund is the UK’s largest grant-making charity for families living on a low income, raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people. Last year, it provided 170,919 grants, and services worth more than £37million.

The charity’s latest research, based on polls with the families it supports, shows that 82per cent say they cannot replace worn-out furniture and 78per cent say they cannot afford to repair or replace major electrical goods such as cookers, fridges or washing machines.

For nearly half of families with disabled children and young people, paying for an activity or hobby for their child is out of the question.

Cheryl Ward, Family Fund’s chief executive, said: “We continue to see families with disabled or seriously ill children and young people increasingly struggling to afford the most basic household essentials like food and heating as costs rise and many face mounting debts.

“This means there is very little room for the extras which improve a young person’s quality of life – yet when a child reaches 18, they lose an average of 57per cent of the support and benefits they had before they reached adulthood.

“Raising a disabled or seriously ill child is three times more expensive than raising other children and this financial cliff-edge at 18 can be very tough for parents and carers of young adults.

“With the cost of living continuing to increase, we’re urging families to apply to us for grants as soon as possible, through our Your Opportunity scheme.”

Your Opportunity grants include:

  • computers or tablets to support young people with further education, online hobbies and the overall building of independence;
  • transport costs for bus fares for appointments, or to support independent travel to clubs or hobbies;
  • help with the cost of membership fees, season tickets, computer games and music systems to promote recreation and days out;
  • help with the cost of buying a provisional driving licence, and other learning materials to support driving ambitions;
  • white goods to help with independence, or help make mealtimes easier for carers;
  • sports, or lightweight, wheelchairs to enable participation in sport activities, or access to activities that would not be possible with a day-to-day wheelchair.

The Your Opportunity scheme was set up in 2019 by Family Fund, with funding from Edward Gostling Foundation and the Pears Foundation.

Families are eligible to apply to the Family Fund if the young person lives at home with their parent or main carer.

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