21 Dec Somebody out there who cares
EVERY day is different – and challenging – for Caroll Pattison.
And she wouldn’t have it any other way because the results of her team’s hard work are so worthwhile.
As director of the Sunshine Fund for the past six years, Caroll has seen a huge increase in the number of applications for help. The charity now receives about 150 a year.
“Because we’ve been raising awareness, a lot more people know about us,” she explained.
“And the applications are for different equipment now. Technology has moved on and a lot of requests now are for iPads because the apps you can get are so useful for children with disabilities.”
They’ve seen rising demand too for adjustable beds, in line with cuts to social services, she said. “At one time social services supplied them; now they don’t”.
Specialist equipment is a lot more expensive these days. The cost of a motorised wheelchair, for instance, can be anything up to £20,000.
But the effects are nothing short of life-changing.
For Caroll, and her small team of just four staff, the best bit of the job is witnessing the difference made: “when we meet the families to see the children benefitting from the equipment”.
She added: “The feedback from families is absolutely amazing.”
Prior to that they will have seen see first-hand the day-to-day problems faced by parents of children with varying disabilties who may be struggling without help yet manage to stay positive.
That’s often the way their youngsters deal with their health issues themselves and together they make up inspiring families.
The charity accepts any application for help as long as it is supported by two letters from health professionals explaining the potential benefits.
Parents are not asked about their finances as application decisions are based purely on whether equipment is needed.
For parents the charity is invaluable in other ways too. “For a lot of them it’s about knowing there’s somebody out there that cares,” said Carol.
Her daily challenge? “To raise enough money to cover what we need”. And they do this through feel-good fund-raising: the team want their supporters to enjoy taking part.
And her greatest satisfaction? “Seeing the families together and knowing we have helped in some way,” she answered.
“I love it. It’s what gets me up in the morning.”