Family Fund Mobility Support is a scheme created to help families raising a disabled or seriously ill child under the age of three gain access to a safe and reliable Motability vehicle.
Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity that helps low income families who are caring for a seriously ill or disabled child meet the needs of everyday life. The charity provides grants which make a real difference by supporting families with many of their basic practical needs. Clothing, washing machines, sensory toys, bedding and furniture are some of the items supplied through the grant scheme, but the Family Fund will also consider applications for other more expensive items such as a much needed family break away or outdoor play equipment at home.
With the ultimate focus on the needs of the whole family when approving grants, it seems a natural and logical step to consider how any family with a child who is seriously ill or disabled can get around. For many families in this situation a car is often the best solution to help them do their shopping, attend medical appointments, access services and above all, experience their best life possible.
Currently, a child with a disability or illness can only be assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the age of three. Upon receiving this award, the family can choose to use their extra money to join the Motability Scheme and lease car or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) to provide safe and affordable transport for the child. However from birth until the age of three, there is no financial support from the Government that’s specifically available to help families with their mobility and transport needs, leaving a potentially difficult gap at a time that can have a lasting impact on the child’s life and their wider family.
In 2018 Family Fund partnered with Motability to launch a pilot scheme dedicated to filling this gap by providing a worry-free, short term lease of a suitable vehicle to families in need with children under the age of three. The Family Fund Mobility Support scheme works via a means tested application process for families who want to apply for a grant, which effectively pays for the lease of a suitable vehicle, provided through the Motability car lease scheme.
By paying for the lease of a Motability vehicle, the Family Fund Mobility Support grant is able to provide families with worry-free motoring and all the life-enhancing benefits which come from having safe, practical, convenient and reliable transport that many people take for granted.
Since launch many families have been identified by Family Fund as potential recipients of the vehicle lease grant, but anyone who thinks they meet the eligibility criteria can apply for the Family Fund Mobility Support grant.
You can apply for a Family Fund grant if you are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under, however the Family Fund Mobility Support is only available to people with a child under three years old.
As it is a means tested grant, you will be expected to provide information related to your circumstances together with proof of employment and/or any existing benefits that you have been awarded.
This is the eligibility criteria if you would like to apply for the Family Fund Mobility Support grant:
You need to also have evidence of entitlement to any one of the following:
Families must also be able to say yes to the following before applying:
Please note that if you live in Wales, the criteria is a little bit different more
Grants are provided subject to there being funding available, and the team at Family Fund aim to direct the available funding to those who need it the most, which is the reason why the charity requires that the stringent eligibility criteria is met before they will even begin to consider an application.
If you think you might be eligible, the first step is to contact the Family Fund team via a dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you apply and are successful, Family Fund will refer you to Motability and confirm the grant has been approved.
A selection of over 170 Ford and 130 Vauxhall vehicles are offered to lease through the grant funding (you can't choose from the full Motability Scheme vehicle list) with a range of vehicle categories available. Family Fund will advise the successful applicant which category of vehicle(s) that they can use their grant for.
Category A: Family size hatchback style cars such as the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus. Includes a mix of manual and automatic cars, and a selection of estate cars too.
Category B: Mainly MPV or SUV type cars which have a slightly higher driving position, including the Ford Kuga and Vauxhall Grandland SUV. There is a choice of manual and automatics, along with the new Vauxhall Mokka-e electric car.
Category C: Includes much larger SUVs, people carriers and 7+ seater type vehicles like the Vauxhall Combo Life or the Vivaro Life. Many of the larger vehicles from the Ford range are also available in this category, such as the Ford Galaxy, the Grand Tourneo, the S-Max and Tourneo Connect. There is a mixture of manuals and automatics.
In all three categories, the cost of the vehicle lease and the Motability Advance Payment (if applicable) are both covered by the grant from Family Fund. The other benefits are the same as they would be for someone leasing a vehicle themselves through the Motability Scheme, which means every vehicle will come with a worry-free motoring package that includes:
Establishing which vehicle will suit a family’s individual needs is unique to their specific situation, so there will be no pressure for you to select a vehicle straight away. Book an appointment with a Motability Specialist at a Ford or Vauxhall showroom so you can look at what’s available and take a test drive before you choose your vehicle.
If you need specialist equipment to get about, it's vital that you consider how much room you’ll need. Ask yourself how many passengers you are likely to have, and if there will be enough boot space in the vehicle.
It is of course important to make sure that you choose a vehicle that’s right for you and your family, however Family Fund will have a say in which vehicle is eventually supplied to you. Due to the very nature of the situation, the shortest ‘lead’ time vehicle (the vehicle that will arrive the fastest) will often be the one approved for the grant.
There is a dedicated Family Fund team at Motability Operations who the Motability Specialists at the dealership will liaise with every step of the way towards getting your new car.
Before your child turns three someone will be in touch to arrange for the lease vehicle to be returned. At this point, most applicants who have benefitted from the Family Fund Mobility Support grant will have been awarded the higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and gone on to join the Motability Scheme themselves, with the freedom to choose from the full range of over 1600 Motability cars and WAVs.
If you think you might be eligible for the Family Fund Mobility Support grant and you want to find out more, get in touch with the Family Fund team or visit the Family Fund website.