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Charlie’s story: how a Survival Fund grant made a difference

05 February 2021

Since the pandemic began many already struggling families are in need of support, now more than ever. Find out how one of our, Barclays-funded, Survival Fund grants has changed Charlie and his family’s life.  

Since the Barclays-funded Survival Fund was launched back in July over 47 grants amounting to over £36,000 have been given out. We have already helped a very diverse range of families and individuals in terms of age, ethnicity and location. Most people have needed a grant to help them with food, essentials and to pay for their utilities. This is a great start, but we want to be there for every family who needs us, and you can help. 

A Survival Fund Grant could make a real difference to the lives of the people we support. One family who are supported by Family Action were desperate. They are on a very low income and were surviving on food banks and Covid-19 food parcels. Mum had sadly suffered a miscarriage and was grieving. She had become very depressed. Whilst her husband was there to give her support, her parents lived hundreds of miles away and were unable to see or help her as they would usually do before the pandemic. This all became worse due to Lockdown with Mum feeling even more isolated, becoming more depressed and she began suffering from anxiety. This was exacerbated by their financial worries and concerns about their little boy, Charlie*. 

They had to stick to what they knew he would eat, so that he had at least something inside him.”

Charlie would only eat a few certain foods. This had led to him having severe digestive problems including being sick and issues with continence. There were several hospital visits. Whilst medical professionals said he needed to have a more varied and healthy diet, his parents did not have the ‘luxury’ to take the risk of experimenting with different foods. If Charlie refused to eat them, they had nothing else to give him as they couldn’t afford to buy any. They had to stick to what they knew he would eat, so that he had at least something inside him.

They also couldn’t afford to buy Charlie any toys or activities to keep him happy, engaged and stimulated whilst they were stuck in Lockdown. He had loved the educational packs Family Action had provided, but once they were all used up, his parents couldn’t afford to buy him anything more which made them feel very guilty. Charlie has one book and he asks Mum to read this to him every night before bed. 

Family Action has just given them a grant from the Survival Fund. Money for food and essentials, but also for toys, book and activities for Charlie. His parents now have more freedom to choose a wide range of healthy food to improve Charlie’s diet and continence issues. This will help him to be ready for back to school and reduces the chance of him having more time off due to stomach aches. Charlie’s parents can also now buy educational (and fun) toys for him to reduce the impact school closure has had on his education.  

Mum’s parents can only use the phone to communicate and Mum often runs out of phone credit the week before payday and cannot afford to top up her mobile. She can now get phone top up vouchers so she can stay in contact with her parents. She can feel more connected to them and get support for her mental health. 

This is just one example of how a Survival Grant can be life-changing. You can help support a family in need today by donating to ensure we can be there for even more families who need us. Donate today and change a life. 

*Names and identifying details about this family have been changed to protect their identity