Disabled children deserve better access to vital services

Ruth Owen by Ruth Owen
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From our years of experience of working with disabled children, we are all too familiar with the barriers that often get in the way of them taking part in everyday activities. Simple things like going to the park or the swimming baths can often require a huge amount of time, energy and planning, which can put a real strain on the family.

I also know that the wider public aren’t always aware of the difficulties disabled children and their families face. That’s why I’m proud Whizz-Kidz are part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, a coalition of over 45 charities campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families.

The DCP recently launched their Secret Life of Us Campaign, sharing the stories of real life families and the hard work they have to put in to enable their children to lead fun and active childhoods. Hopefully this will open the public’s eyes to these daily struggles and encourage people to pledge their support to the campaign to help improve families’ access to these vital services.

We’ve also been doing some awareness raising of our own in recent weeks too with our Kidz Board producing this fantastic video for Disability Awareness Day. I’m always struck by how insightful and engaging our young ambassadors  are, and it makes me feel very proud to see them doing such an excellent job representing both Whizz-Kidz and young wheelchair users in their local communities. And speaking of feeling proud I should also congratulate our patrons Jordanne Whiley and Hannah Cockroft for their record breaking achievements at Wimbledon and the World Para Athletics Championships.

I was less happy to see the stories in the news about the increase of people resorting to crowdfunding in order to get a wheelchair. I am all too aware that many disabled children struggle to get appropriate mobility equipment from their local NHS wheelchair service, forcing families to turn to other means.

My concern with crowdfunding however is that disabled children may not be receiving the proper clinical assessment which is vital for determining what type of mobility equipment they should receive. That’s why at Whizz-Kidz we have a team of fully trained clinicians who assess each young person before prescribing a wheelchair specific to their needs, and that’s why I would encourage any family struggling to source mobility equipment to come to us to see if we can help them.

Our ability to provide these vital services for disabled children is of course reliant on our fundraising, and so I’m delighted to end by sharing some good news on this front. As well as recently becoming the charity partner of Nomura, we have also just secured funding from the City Bridge Trust to help support young wheelchair users into employment. At Whizz-Kidz it is our mission to enable young wheelchair users achieve their full potential, and through partnerships such as these we can help them prepare for an independent future.

Until next time,

Ruth

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