3rd November 2014
A campaign to raise public awareness about the financial impact of long term illness and disability has just launched.
The ‘Seven Families’ campaign will provide financial support for one year to the breadwinners of seven families who are currently unable to work due to ill health or because of an serious accident.
Spokesperson for the campaign, Peter Le Beau MBE, said: “Put simply, we want to highlight the need for people to plan financially in case they become too ill to earn. This campaign provides a tax-free income for one year to people who have lost their ability to earn because of a serious or long-term health condition or disability.
“It is the first campaign of its kind and it is probably the first time so many major companies have worked together for a common purpose and got widespread support for doing so. However, it is not just about the money: each family will also have the opportunity to benefit from independent living, rehabilitation and counseling services.”
The first family to benefit from the project are Tim and Tracey Clarke, who now live on a houseboat, after financial difficulties forced them to sell their family home.
Tracey, a former pharmacy technician who has just 2% of her eyesight, will receive £600 per month from the campaign.
She said: “Although I never had any functional vision in my left eye from birth, it had never caused a problem. Then, in 2011, my eyesight began to shut down completely for no diagnosed reason. There is no way that we could have afforded to keep the house and we were facing bankruptcy but the Seven Families project is going to make an immense difference to us.”
Commenting on campaign launch, Jason Jaspal from Disability Rights UK said: “We campaign constantly for much faster and more effective support when somebody’s life changes through an accident or health condition. The Seven Families campaign raises awareness of the financial and emotional impact, of being unable to work due to long term health conditions or disability, has on a person.”
Jaspal added he hears stories every day from people who have to wait months for assessments, for Personal Independence Payment, while in the interim they receive little or no support.
“We plan to draw on this learning to campaign for changes in social security and independent living support, which is in line with our aim to strengthen the voice of disabled people,” he added.
A Just Giving page has also been set up for any companies or individuals who may wish to provide additional support to the project. Further families will be announced in the coming months.