If you have a disability you know all too well that, for whatever reasons, disabled equipment can come at a price. We would all like the good-looking wheelchair or the product that is going to allow us more freedom and independence. All too often the cost of equipment is too expensive and feels unattainable. The good news is there is help available for funding your new hobby or essential bit of adaptive kit so it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Crowdfunding can be a simple way to raise money to buy specialist equipment. There are a few places to do this, such as gofundme or Justgiving, but I would highly recommend Aspire’s Your fund. Through Your Fund you can raise an extra 25% gift aid on the donations from people. Which means you get more money for each donation. They can also help with discounts on equipment so well worth looking into.
If you need your equipment for work then an Access to Work Grant might be a good option for you. They will pay for practical support to help you start or stay at work. This includes the cost of wheelchairs and other mobility equipment.
Trust & Grants
There are plenty of charities that offer financial support for wheelchairs and mobility equipment. A lot will have specific criteria and be for certain disabilities or areas where you live. Please note that each organisation has their own eligibility rules for funding applications. So make sure you check and meet the criteria before sending an application. Below is a list of some that might be able to help. Of course these organisations receive a lot of applications and they won’t be able to help everybody. It is always worth chatting to the supplier as they will know if there is a local charity worth asking.
- CiaO Foundation: Provides grants towards equipment for people currently going through or who have overcome a challenge.
- Steve Morgan Foundation (north wales Cheshire and north Shropshire): The Enable fund provides support for disabled people who are in financial hardship. They provide grants for many items including: Mobility aids, wheelchairs, trikes…
- Southern spinal injuries trust: assists people with spinal cord injury enabling independence and quality of life. This includes specialist equipment. Grants are in the range of £250 to £3,000.
- Regain: Helps British Sports tetraplegics lead independent and fulfilling lives. Applications are limited to those with a sports related spinal cord injury. The fund is principally for the provision of specialist equipment.
- Muscular Dystrophy UK: Provides grants for those with muscle disease through the Joseph Patrick Trust (JPT). They fund equipment such as wheelchairs, trikes, assistive technology and therapy equipment.
- The Injured Jockeys Fund: Provides appropriate support, financial or otherwise, in a prompt and sympathetic manner to those jockeys past or present who are injured, unable to ride or generally in need.
Support for Children
- Caudwell Children: Provide family support services, equipment, treatment and therapies for disabled children and their families across the UK. They also run the Enable Sport programme for talented disabled athletes and their Destination Dreams holiday for children fighting life-threatening conditions.
- Tree of Hope: Helps children and young people with a disability or illness by supporting their families to raise the funds that they need to pay for specialist medical treatment, therapy and equipment that is not freely available through the UK healthcare system.
- Whizz Kids: Is a children’s charity helping children with a disability throughout the UK by providing wheelchairs and mobility aids.
- Action for Kids: Supports disabled children and young people up to 26 years old to develop their mobility, personal and independent living skills. It supplies a variety of mobility equipment not available through the NHS. This includes powered, manual and sports wheelchairs, walkers, trikes, scooters and car seats.
If you have previously served in the armed forces there are a number of charities available and you may be eligible for funding through them.
- Help for Heroes: Supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces. No matter when someone served, they give the support you need to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives.
- SSAFA: Is a UK charity providing welfare and support for those serving in the armed forces, veterans and armed forces families. Supporting the army, RAF and Navy.
- BLESMA: The Limbless Veterans is an Armed Forces charity supporting limbless veterans by providing rehabilitative activities, support, and some financial aid.
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund: Provide a range of support aimed at serving and former RAF personnel. They include welfare breaks for families and veterans, grants to help with getting about inside and outside the home, specialised advice on benefits and care services and support for young people through our Airplay programme.
These are just a few organisations that can help but there are many more. Make sure you ask you supplier for funding options and check out https://www.disability-grants.org/ for some more ideas.
Other notable organisations that may be able to help with funding: Lions club, Rotary, Masons, Mobility Trust, Percy Bilton, The Hospital Saturday Fund, Newlife, Matt Hampson Foundation
Tim Farr (Access Adventures)