Families with a severely disabled child will be provided with essential specialist equipment to help them cope more easily, thanks to a £60,000 grant from London Freemasons to Variety, the children’s charity.

The equipment includes items such as hoists, which can make a huge difference to making their home more accessible, as well as providing safe sleeping pods and alarms to reduce anxiety at night.

The right equipment can also reduce social isolation and help a child or young person engage in social play with others. Equipment might include specialist car seats, communication devices, communal play equipment and sports equipment.

Similarly, equipment can help a child or young person to be more independent or improve their mobility or play alone more easily. This might include specialist wheelchairs, sensory equipment, bathroom equipment and standers/walkers.

The lack of suitable equipment can have a severe impact on the wider family as well as the child. Parents and carers of a child with disabilities are more prone to health problems such as severe back pain due to lifting, fatigue due to needing to wake during the night and isolation due to difficulties getting out with their child. All of these difficulties can be improved by access to the right equipment. NHS England have reported that parent care givers of children who use wheelchairs have a 90 per cent chance of developing musculo-skeletal damage while 75 per cent of carers of wheelchair users have no training in how to reduce harm to their health.

The Freemasons’ grant will allow twenty or more children, young people and their families to receive the equipment they need.

The grant from London Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.

We’re very grateful to London Freemasons for their generous grant, which will provide vital equipment to children and young people and their families. Whether it’s a specialist wheelchair that helps a previously isolated family to get out and about or a sleeping pod that might give an exhausted parent the chance of a better night’s sleep, the results can be life-changing.”

Charlotte Walker, Fundraising Manager from Variety

I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Variety provide disabled children and their families with essential equipment that can do an enormous amount to make their lives easier and happier.

Tony Shields from London Freemasons