Contact’s BBC Radio 4 Appeal: Transcript of Jane Garvey’s recording

During my time as a broadcaster and journalist I’ve met many families with disabled children. 

And they all seem to have one thing in common – they’re always fighting to do the best for their child, and it can be a relentless struggle. 

When a child is born with a disability, a time of joy can quickly turn to one of fear and concern for what the future holds. 

All the things you might have assumed for your child – going to school, making friends, getting a job – can all seem so uncertain. And then there are financial worries.

This was the case for Lucy’s family from Powys in Wales. Her 12-year-old son Flynn loves the seaside and trampolining, but Flynn is profoundly autistic and needs high levels of care.

Lucy helps Flynn with dressing and washing and eating. But he has no sense of safety and needs supervision day and night as he barely sleeps. And because it’s expensive bringing up a disabled child, families like Lucy’s are terrified of spiralling costs.

And this is where Contact can step in, a charity I’ve proudly supported for the past six years. 

Contact offers a helping hand to any family with a disabled child in the UK. Their advisers guide families through the confusing maze of support and financial benefits, as well as offering emotional care and a shoulder to cry on.

Because Flynn’s special school is so far from home, Lucy had to give up a job she loved. She was also told that Flynn didn’t qualify for the higher rate of disability benefit. Financial pressures soon mounted, and that put a strain on the whole family. 

When Lucy found out about Contact and called their helpline, it changed the course of their life. Derek, Contact’s Family Finance adviser, supported her to appeal the benefit decision. And they were successful.

With less pressure and increased confidence, Lucy took part in Contact’s workshops, meeting other families like theirs.

Lucy wished she’d had someone to talk to in those most isolating months after Flynn’s diagnosis, and now she is really benefiting from a new network of friends.  

But there are thousands of families that still need support, and that’s why I’m asking for you to donate today. 

To give, just search online for BBC Radio 4 Appeal or call 0800 404 8144, that’s 0800 404 8144. Or you can write a cheque to Contact and send it to Freepost BBC Radio 4 Appeal. That’s the whole address: Freepost BBC Radio 4 Appeal. And importantly, mark the back of your envelope Contact.

And thank you.