Family Fund is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge to raise £18,000 in just one week.

These funds will be used for our forward-thinking Your Opportunity Programme, which aims to improve the quality of life and independence for young disabled adults aged 18-24 who are still living in the family home.

Faced with three times higher costs to raise a disabled child or young adult, the current cost-of-living crisis is deeply challenging for families – now finding it even harder to afford the things their disabled young person needs to transition to adulthood- including technology , training and leisure activities.

The Your Opportunity Program gives grants for goods and items such as:

  • a computer or tablet 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 costs of buying a provisional driving license, and other learning materials to support driving ambitions;
  • white goods to help with independence, or help make mealtimes easier for carers;
  • sports, or lightweight, wheelchair to enable participation in sports activities, or access to activities that would not be possible with a day-to-day wheelchair.

Your Opportunity has so far supported over 2,000 families and we would like to support many more as few other charities specifically support disabled 18-24-year olds.

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

Raising a disabled or seriously ill child is three times more expensive than raising other children.

“When a child reaches 18, we know they lose an average of 57% of the support and benefits they had before they reached adulthood so costs are even higher for families.

This financial cliff-edge can be very tough for parents and carers of young adults, but when the cost of living is rising ever higher, and families are having to cut down on essentials like food and heating, there is little room for the extras which improve a young person’s quality of life.

“Through the Big Give our aim is to boost revenue and make a real difference so that we can reach out to more families raising disabled young people, providing them with the opportunity to achieve their goals”

The Big Give Christmas Challenge

The Christmas Challenge will run from midday Tuesday 29 November to midday Tuesday 6 December.

During this time, donations to the Family Fund Your Opportunity Program will be generously matched by the Big Give’s Champions.

This means your money can go twice as far, as every donation above £1 is doubled at no cost to donors – one donation, twice the impact.

For this year’s Big Give, Family Fund’s match funds come from two sources – £4,500 from McCain, Inspire, We Are Social, Shepherd Group, Bell Engineering and Family Fund trustees – Gareth Lambert and Mary Bishop.

This sum has been boosted by another £4,500 from Big Give champion, The Reed Foundation.

Family Fund, therefore, has a £9,000 pledge pot for donation matching.

This is used to match donations from online supporters for the week when the campaign is live, giving a potential total of £18,000.

How you can get involved

During the campaign visit the BigGive.org.uk and make a donation to our project Supporting young disabled adults.

Make a difference to families like George’s

Every donation made between 29 November and 6 December will be doubled – so with just one donation, you could have TWICE the impact on families like George’s.

George is 22 and lives with his family in Derbyshire. He has Down’s Syndrome, autism, complex health needs and learning difficulties. He also has problems breathing and requires an oxygen machine when sleeping.His mum, Jemma, explains,

  “Through the Your Opportunity scheme, George received a computer,” said Jemma. “George uses the computer for his specialized programs that help his conditions through education and entertainment. He loves technology.”

Jemma says, “After George turned 18, a lot of the support ended, but life didn’t get any easier, our lives didn’t change, and we still need support. If anything, being a carer becomes harder because you get older. I still can’t work the hours that I would like to.”

About the Christmas Challenge

Big Give runs the UK’s biggest match funding campaign, the Christmas Challenge.

For seven days, it offers supporters of participating charities the opportunity to have their donations doubled. Since being founded Big Give has helped to raise over £190 million for UK-registered charities.

For more information about the Christmas Challenge go to: https://www.thebiggive.org.uk/s/christmas-challenge