The cost-of-living crisis is affecting many of the families that rely on LinkAble.
Mum Suzy tells us about the impact on her family and why LinkAble is such a vital service for her son Sam.
My son Sam is 14, he is non-verbal and needs a high degree of personal care, so he requires continual support from me. When we’re at home, I struggle to motivate Sam to do any activity. He mainly wants to watch TV, and his inactivity makes me worried about his physical health.
Despite the additional support Sam needs, he is of course like any other teenage boy. He doesn’t want to spend all his time with his mum, he wants to have fun with other people. This is why LinkAble is so important to us. It’s not just a case of me needing the respite, Sam LOVES these clubs, the outings, and the people. I have another younger son who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2019, so he needs my time support too. When Sam is at LinkAble it gives me some time to dedicate to my other son, so the whole family benefits.
Sam has been attending LinkAble sessions for seven years and during that time, I’ve seen some amazing accomplishments from him. When Sam goes bowling with his LinkAble group, he walks there! If I were to take him bowling, he would insist on using his wheelchair. This is a huge achievement as it is not only helping to increase his independence but it also helps his physical health. I think this happens because the staff at LinkAble are great at motivating Sam to take part in activities. They just know how to reach him. Sam has such a strong bond with them, and I feel relieved to know that he is safe and happy while he is in their care.
I worry about what would happen if we couldn’t access LinkAble anymore. The cost-of-living crisis and the public sector funding cuts affect the providers we rely on for support. Because of the lack of wrap-around childcare for disabled children, working has become nearly impossible. Jobs that fit school hours rarely pay well; you end up feeling trapped. The items I need for Sam’s personal care don’t last long enough, and the cost of everything is skyrocketing. For example, wipes have gone up from 1p to 3.9p per wipe.
It's a scary time and impossible to know what the future holds for families like mine. But for now, I know that I can rely on LinkAble to give Sam a place where he can have that sense of independence and happiness, which he absolutely deserves.