A TREDEGAR family supported by national charity, Family Fund, has shared their special family moments for a photo research project marking 50 years of support for disabled and seriously ill children.

Family Fund, the UK’s largest grant-making charity for families raising disabled children, will share the findings of its photo research project Window to our World – which brings together poignant family stories and images of daily life and research highlighting the challenges and joys of raising disabled children.

The charity awarded its very first grant of £26 to a father from Wales in 1973 to visit his daughter when she was in a London hospital.

Key findings from the report show that with 94 per cent of parents say their child needs specialist items to be healthy and happy, including bespoke toys and play equipment and specialist educational materials.

Just eight per cent of parent/carers say they can work as much as they would like to because of caring responsibilities for their disabled or seriously ill child. Nearly 80 per cent say they would like to spend more time on days out and short breaks with family and friends.

Families outline the high costs they face, made even starker in the current cost-of-living crisis.

More than half of families (54 per cent) say they also use more energy as a direct result of their child’s disability or serious illness.

Food is also a higher cost for families with disabled or seriously ill children or young people.

Three-quarters of families spend more on food or groceries as a result of their child’s disability or serious illness - in 37 per cent of cases, the extra spend was a direct result of a child’s avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder.

Kirsty Jones, from Tredegar, has a six-year-old named Wyatt who is autistic.

South Wales Argus: Wyatt Jones from Tredegar (and some penguins)Wyatt Jones from Tredegar (and some penguins)

He has limited speech and needs support with many aspects of daily life.

The family shared a picture of him on a family holiday which was funded by the charity.

Kirsty said: “We spent most of the time on the beach. We made sand castles and Wyatt went off with my father to look for crabs.

“We also had a grant for a swing set which Wyatt’s cousins play with him in the garden. He’s a different child then to what we see when we take him anywhere else. He interacts with them and tries to speak to them. His speech is very little, but he does try. He feels more calm and not so anxious.

“I wish there could be more facilities for anyone with special needs. People should be more accommodating to people with disabilities, extra needs, and then we would all feel a lot better about going out.

"Rather than me having to go ‘I’m sorry’ cos it’s this’, or ‘I’m sorry he can’t understand’. Because that’s mostly what I say - ‘oh I’m sorry,’ And why should I? I don’t know why I should be sorry for it. I'm not sorry.”

Cheryl Ward, Family Fund chief executive, said: “For 50 years Family Fund has provided essential grants to improve life for families raising disabled or seriously ill children on a low income. Our very first grant of £26 enabled a father to travel from Wales to visit his daughter when she was in a London hospital.

“Every single family we have helped has their own unique story of how our grants have enabled them to spend quality time together. Our Window to our world report compiles 18 of these special stories and personal photos, at an important moment in our history where support is needed now, more than ever, for families raising disabled and seriously ill children on a low income across the UK."

The charity provides grants for essential items to families on low incomes raising disabled and seriously ill children- everything from kitchen appliances, clothing, bedding and sensory toys to computers and tablets, much-needed family breaks and more.