Our charity supports 6 families, in Surrey, who have children with severe mental and physical disabilities. Our funds are usually spent exclusively on bespoke therapy interventions and specialised equipment for the children and much needed respite care for the caregivers/parents and siblings. However, during the pandemic, our funds are no longer used for therapy as it is not safe to have the close contact often necessary for therapy. Therefore, our main focus has become providing the families with healthy groceries as many of the children we support have allergies and poor eating habits. Since providing them with healthy groceries we have not only seen a marked improvement in the children’s diets but in their behaviour as well. We fear that the fallout from this pandemic will be worse for the children if their improved diets are not maintained. Therefore, it is critical that we continue sourcing these nutritious groceries.
Furthermore, the parents of some of these children are now unemployed, so we are aware of rising tensions and domestic issues as a result of the loss of income. Caring for a special needs child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week adds to the pressure these families are under as they are unable to make use of any respite care we would normally offer them due to the strict lockdown measures.
We strongly believe it is imperative to take care of the mental and physical health of these families and proper nutrition is an important element of that. Food banks, which I have investigated, are not a viable option for these families due to the lack of groceries available to cater for the various allergies the children have. Therefore, bespoke shopping needs to be in place.
Even prior to this pandemic, our charity had provided approximately £150 of groceries per family, per week, however we are unable to sustain this for much longer without using our reserve funds, which I had hoped not to do, so that our charity can continue to operate once the pandemic is over. Any funds that can be provided to us will be used to purchase groceries for these 6 families.