The first year of the Family Fund Mobility Support scheme, funded by the charity Motability, has ensured that hundreds of the country’s most seriously ill babies and children aged under three have been able to travel to essential medical appointments in a suitable and reliable vehicle.
Muhammed, who is three and lives in Sheffield, has hydrocephalus, visual impairment, Chiari malformation and is deaf. He is PEG fed (via a feeding tube), has breathing problems, and is unable to walk or sit up, meaning the family needs a large amount of supporting equipment with him at all times. His mum, Maryam, recalls Muhammed being so poorly he would have up to 3 different hospital appointments a day as a baby, but their old car couldn’t accommodate his specialist car seat, or bulky equipment. Speaking about her experience before joining the scheme, Maryam said: "We had well over 50 hospital appointments a month for our son - but no way of getting him there..."
Now a recently released impact report reviewing the first year of the Family Fund Mobility Support (FFMS) scheme has found that:
Cheryl Ward, CEO of national children’s disability charity, Family Fund, which delivers the programme, said: “Access to the right vehicle can make life significantly easier for families with a young child with additional and complex needs, who is reliant upon large medical items such as oxygen machines and other equipment when leaving their home. Family Fund Mobility Support provides the opportunity for parents with children under three, to travel safely and with confidence to reach medical and other vital appointments, as well as to make the most of every moment of family life.
“Many of these families are caring for children with extremely serious health conditions, including children who need end-of-life care. It’s vital they have assurance that every journey will be as easy as possible.”
The charity, Motability is funding the FFMS scheme, with a three-year grant of £15 million. Motability CEO, Barry Le Grys, MBE, said: “Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen the enormous difference the FFMS scheme has made to the lives of many families with children under three, who already have so much to contend with on a day-to-day basis. We are delighted to use our charitable funds over the next two years to support the vital work Family Fund is doing in providing reliable and suitable transport, and the reassurance that brings to families.”
Family Fund Mobility Support is aimed at families raising a disabled or seriously ill child under three years old with significant mobility needs. It can provide a car leasing package for a limited period to make transporting a child easier and more practical.
If a child continues to have mobility needs, from the age of two years and nine months, families can apply for the high rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance and consider lease car options through the national Motability Scheme.
For more information about Family Fund Mobility Support visit the Family website.