4th July 2012
Concern at Pressure on Family Fund
Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone has raised concern at the pressure on the
Family Fund following funding cuts to the programme. Mr McGlone accompanied
a group of parents of disabled children to a meeting with the Health
Minister last week to discuss the problem. The Family Fund is a registered
charity that provides practical help to families with severely disabled
children under the age of 16. Although in Northern Ireland the Fund received
the same amount of funding in 2012/13 as it did in 2011/12, this is a
reduction of 11.25% from the level of funding in 2010/11.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr McGlone said, “The Family Fund provides vital
assistance to the families of some of the most vulnerable people in our
society. The devolved administrations play an important part in supporting
the Fund and enabling them to provide that help.
“Despite this the level of funding in the north was cut by 11.25% in 2011/12
and has remained at this lower level for the current year.
“A number of local parents of disabled children have contacted my office in
recent weeks detailing the problems they have been having getting the help
they need to cope in often difficult circumstances.
“The most common problem they have been encountering is a straight-forward
lack of available funds.
“I accompanied local parents of disabled children to the meeting with the
Health Minister to allow them to tell the minister directly about the
problems they are having.
“The minister has agreed to review the budget for the Family Fund. He will
also be contacting Health Trusts to find out where they should be meeting
their responsibilities to provide the required support for families with
“This would ease the pressure on the Family Fund and allow them to use the
available funding to provide additional assistance over and above what the
Health Service should have in place.
“I will be keeping in contact with the families to ensure they get the help
they need and continuing to lobby the minister to reverse the cuts to the