Although the Coronavirus Pandemic has put pressures on many charities over the past year, if you are a family or individual in need of equipment or services, there are still grants and funding to be found (although the criteria for accessing these may now be a little more restrictive). This is by no means an exhaustive list but we have covered a selection from local and national charities as well as Local Government. Please note: The funds and charities that are listed below are current at the time of publication.
If you had personal experience of obtaining funding through any of these listed below, please feel free to comment using the reply box at the end as we are sure others will find this experience helpful. Alternatively, If you have used any local charities or services for grants and funding, and they are on the Local Offer, it would be helpful for other families who are also searching, if you can leave a comment on their service summary card to show how they helped you. To leave a comment on how the service helped you go to the Local Offer, find the service and follow the instructions under the Comments section.
Your local council can provide help if you have a disabled child, including:
- short break services
- holiday play schemes
- care at home
- some aids and adaptations
- financial help, eg money towards travel costs for hospital visits
If you have a disabled child, your council has a duty to provide these services under the Children Act 1989. Some are free of charge – the council might ask you to contribute towards others.
If you think your child may qualify, contact the social services team at your local council.
It may also be worth applying for a social care needs assessment
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:
- is under 16
- has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability
This is similar to DLA but for those 16 and over.
- You can get PIP whether you’re working or not.
- You must be aged 16 or over and usually have not reached State Pension age to claim.
- You must also have a health condition or disability where you:
- have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months
- expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months
If you think you may need help applying for DLA or PIP or have questions around other benefits then you may find the following services useful:
Contact is a national organisation that provides online, printed and helpline advice on benefits and finances, as well as many other areas. For more information, see Contact’s website.
You can also contact the West Sussex Benefits Advice Service.
Contact SENDIAS Service
A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your health and wellbeing needs, which is planned and agreed between you (or someone who represents you), and your local NHS team. It is not new money, but it may mean spending money differently so that you can get the care that you need.
A personal health budget allows you to manage your healthcare and support such as treatments, equipment and personal care, in a way that suits you. It works in a similar way to Social Care personal budgets, which allow people to manage and pay for their social care needs. Those that may be eligible:
- children receiving NHS continuing healthcare:
- people who are referred and meet the eligibility criteria of their local wheelchair service and people who are already registered with the wheelchair service when they need a new wheelchair or specialist buggy, either because of a change in clinical needs or the condition of the current chair. These people will be eligible for a personal wheelchair budget.
- people with mental health problems who are eligible for section 117 after-care as a result of being detained under certain sections of the Mental Health Act (this does not include detention under section 2 of the Act).
If you are not in a group that has a right to a personal health budget, but you are interested in receiving one, speak to your local clinical commissioning group (CCG). CCGs make the arrangements for personal health budgets and are encouraged to offer them to other patient groups. Find your local CCG.
If you or someone living in your property is disabled, there may be a grant available to help you make adaptations to the home. There are certain eligibility criteria which must apply.
Disabled Students allowance
If you’re a student with a learning difficulty, health problem or disability, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.
You can get help with the costs of:
- specialist equipment, for example a computer if you need one because of your disability
- non-medical helpers
- extra travel because of your disability
- other disability-related costs of studying
You may get a new computer if you do not already have one, or your current one does not meet your study needs. More information will be provided to you if you’re assessed as needing a new computer.
You’ll need to pay the first £200, which is the minimum cost that any student is likely to incur when buying a computer.
Grant for under 3’s with bulky medical equipment needs who cannot access DLA mobility
In July 2020, Motability launched a scheme to provide specialist vehicles to children in the UK under the age of three who must always be accompanied by bulky medical equipment and/or need to be near a motor vehicle in case they require treatment for their condition. All families of children who meet these criteria are eligible; the route for them to apply is through the Family Fund grant scheme.
Specific Charities that offer grants and funding
The following are just a few of the charities that offer assistance for general or specific equipment.
Please note: This is not a full / comprehensive list and we are not making recommendations by listing these charities and not others.
- AskSara offers impartial advice about equipment to help make daily living easier – for children and adults.
- Carers Support West Sussex offer a Carer Equipment Service to registered carers to access equipment and assistive technology to help maintain and enhance independence and give peace of mind in your caring role. They assess the individual needs unique to you and the person you care for.
- Caudwell Children is a national Charity that exists to transform the lives of disabled children and their families across the UK. Applicants must live in the UK, be 18 or under and fit the Charity’s financial criteria. They can provide the following equipment: powered wheelchairs, buggies, car seats, therapy tricycles and sensory equipment. In addition they can provide funding for specific therapies for children affected by CP/acquired brain injury and Autism. Caudwell Children’s Enable Sport Programme provides sports equipment to enable disabled children to take part in competitive sport and their Destination Dreams holiday to Florida is an annual fully-supported group holiday for children fighting a life-threatening condition. The Charity can also offer fundraising support for some treatment abroad and they have also launched a family service programme in selected regions which provides practical and emotional support for families. For further information please contact 0345 300 1348.
- Children Today Charitable Trust raises funds to provide special equipment for children and young people with disabilities throughout the UK. Their aim is to ensure that every disabled child and young person fulfils their potential and leads an active childhood. Funds donated by their supporters enables them to provide grants to purchase special equipment such as: electric wheelchairs, walking aids, trikes, educational toys (specially designed for children with disabilities), communication aids, adapted car seats, lifting and sleep equipment.
- Elifar aims to help improve the quality of life mainly of profoundly disabled children and young adults, whether living at home or in residential care, but they might also consider applications from children and adults of all ages with any form of physical or learning disability. They fund the purchase of a wide range of specialised equipment, therapies and respite, which would otherwise be unavailable because of a lack of funds or because there is no statutory provision.
- Family Action has small grants available for medical treatment, services, facilities or equipment (including communication aids) for those who are sick or physically disabled. Supporting evidence is required from a relevant professional. There is also a general grants program which can meet needs such as clothing, fuel bills and household needs such as beds, cookers and washing machines. In addition to providing general grants, Family Action also provide grants for educational needs, particularly for the additional costs associated with education such as travel, books and equipment. Assistance is primarily targeted at families and individuals on low incomes, particularly those living on benefits. Funds are not available for items covered by statutory funding.
- Family Fund provides grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people aged 0-18. They provide grants for a wide range of items, such as washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, tablets, furniture, outdoor play equipment, clothing and computers.
- Independence at Home provide grants for people with a disability or long-term illness towards the cost of adaptations, equipment or other things to help you to manage at home. The grant must go towards an item to assist a child to live at home. Independence at home cannot provide grants when the item may be provided through public funds. Applications must be supported by a professional involved in the child’s care, usually an occupational therapist or a social worker.
- Joseph Patrick Trust is the welfare trust of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. The trust provides financial support towards specialist equipment to help promote mobility and independence for people with muscular dystrophy, or a related muscle disease. For example, powered wheelchairs, adapted computers and electric beds. The grants cover pieces of equipment that the health and social services do not provide, but which are still vital for maintaining independence and quality of life.
- Lifeline 4 Kids provides essential equipment to help improve the quality of life for children (0-18 years) with disabilities and special needs. For the individual child they provide the full spectrum of specialised equipment such as electric wheelchairs, mobility aids and varying items including specialised computers. They are also one of the only UK charities prepared to help a special needs child from a low-income family with essential smaller items such as shoes, clothing, bedding and specialist toys.
- Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children provides equipment grants and loans for disabled children. The equipment applied for must be essential and disability relevant. The equipment can vary from a wheelchair or a bed through to a communication aid and therapy equipment shed, they have also funded equipment such as replacement clothing and braille machines. Newlife do not fund adaptations and fixtures to homes. All applications need to be supported by professionals who can specify the particular type of equipment needed in the interest of the children’s welfare, safety and benefit. The grants are open to benefit all seriously disabled and terminally ill children that are permanently resident in the UK and who are 18 years or under.
- The Nihill Armstrong Trust is a small charity that provides children (up to and including 18 years of age) with cerebral palsy with essential pieces of equipment, communication aids or specific services that their local authority does not provide. The grants are for equipment items under £2000 and the application must be supported by the child’s doctor, school, social worker, health visitor, speech, occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
- React (Rapid Effective Assistance for Children with potentially Terminal illness) is a charity working to improve the quality of life for financially disadvantaged children with life-limiting illnesses living in the UK. They supply a wide range of equipment from specialist wheelchairs, beds, baths, and mobility aids, to essential everyday items like washing machines and tumble dryers.
- Sky Badger is a charity that finds help and adventure for disabled children and their families all over the UK. They do this by building bridges between disabled children and the charities and services available to help. They find everything from disabled sports clubs to sibling groups to ‘make a wish’ charities and tell families about them though our website, social media platforms, videos, information packs and helpdesk.
- Strongbones Childrens Charitable Trust have funds available to donate towards arthritis, scoliosis, brittle bone disease and all other conditions of the bone. To be eligible the child must be under 18 years of age, and suffer from one of these ailments. They provide grants for medical equipment, computers/software, toys, sensory equipment, short breaks away, days out and proven household bills. Grants are normally £250 per child, but this figure is open to discussion depending on the child’s circumstances.
- Turn2Us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through our partner organisations.
- Variety Club, The Children’s Charity works to help improve the lives of sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young people up to the age of 19 years across the UK, providing basic items that will improve the lives of individual children. Each year they donate electric wheelchairs, specialist beds, car seats, sensory equipment, standing frames and many other items that can change the life of a child in need.
- Whizz-Kidz provides essential mobility equipment – powered or manual wheelchairs and recreational equipment such as trikes – that are customised to meet individual children’s needs. The service ensures children get the right mobility equipment, advice and training at the right time. The wheelchair training programme includes improving the use of your wheelchair, new wheelchair skills and road safety awareness.
Reaching Families: Fundraising Fact Sheet (Reaching Families)
Local Offer: For other information on equipment and finances please have a look at the West Sussex Local Offer information pages for National Charities