Charity appeals for support amid credit crunch

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The Independent Online

Bosses at a national charity for disabled children are appealing for support as they feel the pinch of the credit crunch.

Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said figures provided by YouGov show rising living costs and increased utility bills are threatening to endanger the well-being of thousands of families living with a disabled or seriously ill child.

She said: "These are tumultuous times for the majority of the UK public and everyone is beginning to restrict budgets or cut back on non-essential spending. With an estimated 55 per cent of families caring for a disabled child already living on or below the margins of poverty it is crucial that individuals and businesses continue with charitable donations so we can continue to support this vulnerable group of people."

"There has been a reported drop in charitable donations across the UK, with one poll estimating a £655m reduction in donations from individuals, which would be a fall of approximately 7 per cent on the UK's total annual giving. This rapid fall in giving is going to have a significant impact on the third sector and collectively we are all desperately trying to convince the UK public that their help is needed now more than ever."

The charity, founded by entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist John Caudwell, provides direct donations of life-changing equipment, treatment and therapy for children in the UK and regularly receives pleas for help from families facing extreme financial pressure.

Lisa Bates, applications manager, said: "It is not uncommon for the parents or carers of our beneficiaries to be forced into re-mortgaging - or even into the sale of - their family homes in order to provide the appropriate standard of care.

"The support we offer provides a lifeline for many families, or gives them the opportunity to allocate income to other essential areas of daily life, frequently utility bills or mortgage repayments. As everyone's outgoings are increasing the level of desperation we are witnessing is also escalating."

The charity hopes to provide support worth £3m this year, with requests from families increasing by almost 55 per cent over the past six months.

Caudwell Children is unique in that the charity's annual running costs are paid for by a single donation from Mr Caudwell. Therefore all the funds raised by the charity go directly to help children living with illness or disability.

Over the past two years the total annual value of donations has increased by more than £1m a year as the charity's marketing has reached families in areas of the country that were previously unaware of the support available.

For more information about Caudwell Children visit or call 0845 3001348.