Family Fund forced to suspend Welsh grants to vulnerable

A charity has had to suspend the awarding of grants to low-income families in Wales as it waits for delayed funding from the Welsh government.

The Family Fund, which relies almost totally on government grants, has said that over 500 families have been waiting for at least six weeks to hear whether they will receive funding, due to the delay in funding from the Welsh Government.

Family Fund is currently experiencing its second suspension of the year; Northern Ireland grants were delayed in January as the charity awaited funding from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Cheryl Ward, chief executive of Family Fund said: “Our main concern is with our families.  As we help low-income families with an immediate need, we know that time is of the essence and they have little or no alternative for our help.  

“We work hard to ensure our timescales are short wherever possible and are working closely with the Welsh Government to avoid any further delay. We encourage families from Wales to continue to apply for a grant from Family Fund.”

In April 2014 Family Fund received funding from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland governments, leaving only families from Wales not currently receiving any support.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are in close contact with the Family Fund and a decision about the funding for 2014/15 will be reached very soon.”

Family Fund provides grants to families of children with a disability or serious illness to pay for essential items such as kitchen appliances, bedding and clothing. Across the UK it received £33m in funding last year and helped 4,952 families in Wales with grant support.