disabled children assistive tech

An emergency £10 million of extra funding for Family Fund has been approved by the government to help thousands of special educational needs and disabled children from low-income families access vitally needed equipment.

It comes as the government confirmed that the £26 million allocated to Family Fund will continue in the next year – 2020/21. In total, £37.3 million of funding will be available to support over 75,000 families in England with severely ill or disabled children.

The funding is deployed in the form of cash grants worth between £400 to £500 typically and support families with the cost of equipment.

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£10 million of the total funding has been committed specifically in response to the unique difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, says the government, helping parents educate and look after disabled or critically ill children who are staying at home more than usual.

The grants can be used to make families and children’ lives easier whilst implementing social distancing measures and can be used for equipment such as computers, specialist assistive technology and educational toys.

It follows councils recently calling on the government for clarification over what statutory duties can be relaxed after stating that many are struggling to meet the requirements set out in children’s Education, Health and Care Plans.

“Our first priority remains the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities,” commented Vicky Ford, Children and Families Minister.

“I know that these unprecedented times may put additional pressure on families, particularly those whose children have the most complex needs, and these parents deserve some extra help to look after and educate them at home.

“From computers and tablets to household items that many of us take for granted, this new funding will directly benefit tens of thousands of families, making sure parents of children with special educational needs and disabilities get the support they need at this difficult time and beyond.”

Charity Family Fund will allocate the funding, with families in England able to apply for grants directly on the charity’s website.

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said: “Family Fund welcomes this commitment of an additional £10 million in emergency funding. It will make an incredible difference to thousands of families in England during this crisis, providing practical and essential grant support to help improve the quality of life and ease some of the additional daily pressures faced in these difficult times by many disabled children and their families.”

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