Date published: 20 September 2018 by Jessica Homer
A family supported by Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity was featured on the BBC national news on Thursday 20 September. Mother Clare Finch spoke about her struggle to access local authority support for her son Adam, after a brain tumour left him with life-long health complications. These ongoing health challenges mean that he is unable to attend school full time.
The BBC coverage was prompted by research from the County Council Network, which represents 36 larger authorities. The Network has said the ‘worst is yet to come’ in cuts to services as central government further reduces its funding for local authorities. It is predicting ‘unpalatable cutbacks’ in 2019 with the councils identifying at least £1bn savings to plug a £1.5bn shortfall by 2020.
In a survey of county councils, all those who responded said they faced significant cost pressures, including a growth in demand in some areas, such as children’s and adult social care.
Local funding cuts in Stockport have meant that Clare and Adam have relied more heavily on their Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker for emotional and practical support, as well as sibling support for Adam’s sister Megan.
Deputy Family Support Manager Sean Tansey has supported the whole family in a number of ways, including taking Adam and Megan to and from school and helping Adam integrate back into school by attending meetings to see how this could best be achieved.
Sean also provided a great deal of sibling support for Megan, who attends a Rainbow Trust youth group for siblings regularly. He is still a great source of strength to the family in helping them cope with ongoing long-term effects of Adam’s illness, which include mobility problems and persistent complications due to his surgery and treatment.
Zillah Bingley, Rainbow Trust Chief Executive, said: “This media story reflects what is happening in many parts of the country which in turn is putting more pressure on charities, such as Rainbow Trust, to help vulnerable families cope.
“Families like Clare’s should not need to fight for the services they need. We urge the Chancellor in this November’s Budget to scale up the funding available to local authorities to support seriously ill children and their families.”
Rainbow Trust receives just 2.5 per cent of its income from statutory sources from a declining number of Local Authority grants. As part of the Disabled Children’s Partnership, the charity is campaigning for improved health and social care for disabled children, young people and their families.