Vital parent support continues, thanks to Big Lottery Fund

Scope has been awarded £293,916 by the Big Lottery Fund to keep running its Face 2 Face Cornwall project that supports parents of disabled children.

The service was scheduled to close in March after its previous funding came to an end. However the money from the Big Lottery Fund will now enable it to run for three more years.

Face 2 Face offers emotional support and practical guidance, which can be tailored to people’s needs and includes home visits or online and telephone support.

Scope runs the national scheme because caring for a disabled child can be tough. When parents are juggling work, household tasks and countless medical appointments for their child, there’s little time left for them.  Parents often feel alone and unsupported.

Every Face 2 Face befriender is a parent of a disabled child. They understand what it’s like to navigate through the often worrying and confusing experience of having a child diagnosed with support needs.

Janet from Cornwall, has been a befriender for 11 years and is one of the region’s most prolific Face 2 Face volunteers.  She has two disabled teenage boys and knows how vital this type of support is. 

“You never forget how you felt when you received your child’s diagnosis and the support you needed. You can relate to a parent of a disabled child no matter how old the child is because you have been there yourself”

Janet befriended Emma 7 years ago and now they are the best of friends.

Emma has four children two of which have additional needs.

 “It’s a scary world having a disabled child. There are so many daunting transitions. When I met Janet it was so nice to find someone who truly understood. It made thing less scary and I became more confident as a mum. Losing this service would’ve been a massive loss to Cornwall. There is not a lot of support available for families of disabled children”

Research by the disability charity Scope highlights that nearly half (47%) of parents caring for disabled children have been to see their GP due to stress and worry and that nearly nine in ten said they find it hard to talk about how they are feeling. 

Four fifths (80%) of parents with disabled children can reach breaking point because they can't get the emotional support they need. This often results in depression or family separation.

Two thirds (67%) of parents felt that emotional support for parents, such as support groups should be more widely available, and three in five (60%) parents said that talking to other parents with disabled children was an important source of support.

Thanks to the Big Lottery Face 2 Face in Cornwall will continue to run for another 3 years. Without the funding, this vital service for families of disabled children would’ve been terminated in March 2014.

Venetia Simonds, the project’s fundraiser at Scope, said: “This is fantastic news as it means we will now be able to help parents across Cornwall and reach areas that we were missing out before.”

Face2Face Cornwall will now recruit and professionally train volunteer parent ‘befrienders’, who themselves are parents of disabled children, and matching them with other parents of disabled children. This free befriending support is delivered in the home or at convenient locations, over a period of up to a year and offers parents the experience of the befrienders own knowledge and understanding.

For more information about how Scope’s Face 2 Face service could help or to volunteer to become a befriender please email jane.jones@scope.org.uk  or call 0187 230 2411.

Notes to the editor:

For more information or to request interviews please call Anja Dembina in the Scope Press and PR team on 020 7619 7200 or email anja.dembina@scope.org.uk

About the research

The figures in this press release are based on an online survey of parents of disabled children in the UK, undertaken by Scope between 31 July and 15 August 2014. The survey was disseminated via social media and digital channels, achieving an average of 1,400 responses across the main questions, with an exact range of 1,358 to 1,526. The statistics quoted have been drawn from non-weighted data.

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