An innovative scheme set up by a national charity and funded by an award-winning innovative business with the support of several trusts is celebrating a milestone of helping more than 2000 families.
Your Opportunity is a scheme set up to support young adults with disabilities. The scheme was initially set up in 2019 with a donation of £500,000 over five years from the Edward Gostling Foundation, which was conditional on matched funding being received from Family Fund, the charity administering the scheme.
Family Fund, is the UK’s largest grant-making charity for disabled and seriously ill children which has nearly 50 years experience of supporting families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people to have the same opportunities as others. The charity supports families by providing grants for essential items such as kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding, sensory toys, computers and tablets.
Family Fund set up the Your Opportunity scheme having identified a significant gap in the support they were able to offer families with government funding. Government funding is restricted to supporting families with children up until the age of 17. However, every year Family Fund turns away over 11,000 families who need their help because their child has turned 18.
This gap in support is a prevalent issue in society. Family Fund’s research shows 57% of families have experienced a decrease in the financial and grant support available for their disabled children since they have turned 18.
Family Fund Business Services (FFBS) is a business with an innovative model set up by parent charity Family Fund in 2013, to generate unrestricted income for its parent charity. This income ensures Family Fund can maximise the support they provide to families raising disabled children and young people.
FFBS works in partnership with organisations, offering fulfilment and grant administration expertise to make distributing practical support to people in need efficient and hassle-free. As the trading subsidiary of a charity and a registered social enterprise, it gifts every penny of its profit to Family Fund.
This innovative business model allowed Family Fund to commit to matching the funding on offer to start the Your Opportunity scheme, and the process has now benefitted over 2,000 young adults.
Family Fund Trust Fundraising Manager, Helen Lally said:
“FFBS’ work has not only helped to solve a problem for the charity, but it has also contributed to Family Fund alleviating a wider societal issue of the lack of support for disabled or seriously ill young people.
“FFBS’ business model demonstrates excellence in creating a socially responsible partnership; helping Family Fund’s families and our customers’ beneficiaries.“
The support provided by the Your Opportunity scheme to young people is invaluable, with one parent commenting; “It’s amazing that you have been able to have this extension to your funding beyond the age of 18. The change over from children’s social services to adult social services really hits ‘caring’ families. There is less help for SEND after the age of 18, and Family Fund’s Your Opportunity has really helped me get things in place for my daughter.”
The initial success of the scheme has led to the Pears Foundation providing grants of £600,000 over two years. They provided £250,000 in 2021 and £250,000 in 2022 to date with an additional £100k due in October.
Helen added: “This scheme highlights how through a collaboration of funders, Family Fund has been able to ensure young people do not go without the support they need.
“We are extremely grateful to The Edward Gostling Foundation and the Pears Foundation for recognising the need to plug the gap in support and we are proud to be working with them.”
The Your Opportunity scheme helped a total of 2,076 young people between 24 April 2019 and 31 May 2022.