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Families raising young disabled adults urged to seek support as they wrestle with costs

ByRachel Riach

Feb 28, 2024
Image of Nur waving in her wheelchairImage of Nur smiling and waving from her wheelchair

A leading national charity is urging families in financial need with young disabled adults to apply for a support grant which is offered UK-wide. 

Family Fund’s Your Opportunity grant programme aims to enhance the life of disabled or seriously ill young adults, aged 18 to 24 years old, who are living at home.   

In recent research by the charity, over half of parents and carers (57%) experience a sharp drop in available support for their child as they get older, with only one quarter (28%) receiving adult disability benefits compared with three quarters (78%) receiving child disability benefits. 

Almost three quarters (72%) of parent carers said everyday costs resulting from their child’s disability are higher than when their child was younger, with and 92% saying this was because everything has got more expensive in general: 

  • 83% said they pay more for food groceries for their child, due to their disability or
  • 59% said they had to buy specialist toys and play equipment for their child and 20% had to pay for home adaptations like stair lifts or heating systems.
  • 17% have needed to buy special equipment like wheelchairs or specialist car seats.
  • 78% said they have to spend more on clothing, due to how they child with additional needs uses it

The charity’s Your Opportunity scheme offers grants to disabled adults aged 18-24 years old, living at home, whose families are struggling financially. In the last 12 months, it supported over 2,269 disabled young people and their families.  

Funds are available now, to help even more families across the UK. Families are eligible to apply if the young person lives at home with their parent or main carer. Families interested in making an application for a young person should go to: Your Opportunity: Help for 18-24 year-olds | Family Fund 

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;
  • white goods to help with independence, or help make mealtimes easier for carers
  • help with the cost of buying a provisional driving licence, and other learning materials, to support driving ambitions;
  • 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 initially set up in 2019 by Family Fund, and is provided through funding from The Edward Gostling Foundation, Pears Foundation and NPC Open Philanthropy. 

Cheryl Ward, Family Fund’s Chief Executive Officer, said 

“Half of families report a fall in disability support benefits from child to adulthood, leaving them on a financial cliff-edge as young people reach eighteen. 

“Our Your Opportunity grants are here to help support young disabled people across the UK to lead fulfilling lives. We strongly urge families that are struggling with costs to apply to us for a grant as soon as possible, which could help to improve their quality of life.”

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 Family Fund provided 173,756 grants and services worth over £32 million to families across the UK.