Families InFocus (Essex)

Families InFocus (Essex) is a parent-led charity that offers support for 1,500 families with children with special educational needs, including those with physical and sensory impairments, learning difficulties, mental health issues and behavioural problems. The charity provides information, advice and tailored support including home visits and outreach work in the community all aimed at improving the health, social, emotional and economic wellbeing of the families in their care.

Families InFocus have a team of Family Support Advisers that work closely with those families ‘at breaking point’ to provide practical support including completing challenging forms for claiming disability-related benefits for their child or helping their child with the transition from school to college. They also provide vital emotional and moral support for parents struggling with the pressures that their situation places on the whole family. Over the last year the charity had seen a 21% increase in demand for their Family Support work at a time when statutory funds were being diminished.

Families InFocus applied to the Foundation for project costs to support their intensive family work. They were able to provide compelling case studies that demonstrated the impact of the support which was backed up by evaluation data. They also showed that the charity’s management team were taking steps to diversify their income sources.

“We are facing funding challenges, so the grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation came at a critical time and has helped us attract other funding. It is a huge relief to know that we have a more secure financial footing to go forward, so that we can carry on making the difference that matters for even more families with children and young people with any special educational need or disability.” Rachel Ellis, CEO