If you have a disabled child, you’ll know only too well of the extra expense involved. Children are costly enough, but as soon as you’re dealing with a disability, the bills can soar. Not only are you likely to be paying more for utilities and household goods, but you need to factor in trips to hospitals and special groups too. In addition, you might have had to reduce your working hours so you can give your child the best care possible. So, when special needs trikes and bikes cost far more than for other children, it might seem like you’ll never be able to afford one.
Luckily, there are many charities across the UK who recognise this problem and have set up a variety of grant opportunities to help you pay for this vital piece of equipment. Trikes and bikes give kids with disabilities the chance of freedom and independence, often for the first time, and can help shape and build their confidence for the coming years.
What to Expect from a Trike Grant
Disability bikes and trikes can be extremely expensive, largely due to the extra attachments and special fixtures they require. Some special bikes might even need to be custom built to include lower gears, bespoke pedals or even thoracic support. As such, you can expect the average cost to be way above any normal family’s means.
Whilst some charities will cover the entire cost of a special needs trike, it’s more likely that they’ll provide a partial payment. You will need to fund the rest of the equipment at personal expense, from fundraising or even through the Disability Living Allowance. If you intend to fundraise, don’t underestimate the power of community; starting a campaign with the help of a local newspaper, for example, could have serious money-raising potential.
Important Considerations for Disabled Bikes
Before starting your grant applications or fundraising, you need to be sure you’re purchasing the right trike. After all, you don’t want to spend all that money only to be disappointed and realise you’ve got the wrong piece of equipment.
A few things to consider are;
- Transportation. Trikes and bikes for disabled children can be large and bulky, and are not the easiest things to transport. Some types can be taken apart, but these will cost more.
- Storage. Due to their additional width and size, you need to ensure you’ve got somewhere to safely store this expensive bike.
- Adjustability. As any parent will know, kids grow quickly. Therefore, any trike you buy needs to be adjustable so it’s got long-term value. Things to look for are changeable footplates and extendable handlebars.
- Weight. Disabled trikes can be heavy, and as your child grows, the weight will increase. This means you might not be able to lift it into the car yourself. In such a scenario, you might need to buy a hoist too.
How to Fund Trikes from Charitable Donations
One of the most common ways to fund the purchase of a disabled bike or trike is from a charitable donation. A lot of charities for children can offer financial support, but you need to know where to look. The following list covers some of the UK’s charities known to have formerly provided grants.
- Variety Club
Helping disabled and disadvantaged children, the Variety Club supports those up to the age of 19. Funds are provided to improve the daily life of youngsters with special needs and disabilities, including grants for trikes and bikes. The average support is between £100 and £6,000.
- Caudwell Children
This charity has seven core services, one of which is providing mobility equipment such as therapeutic bikes and wheelchairs. Caudwell Children helps children under the age of 19, and receives applications by way of its website.
- Action for Kids
Supporting youngsters up until the age of 29, Action for Kids can help fund a variety of equipment that is not freely available on the NHS. This includes scooters, trikes, walkers and special needs bikes. Action for Kids aim to improve the personal, mobility and independence skills of children across the UK.
Cerebra is known to have offered funding for mobility equipment in the past, and their main grant initiative funds up to 80per cent of the trike or bike cost. The charity supports those with neurological disorders or brain injuries, including children with autism, cerebral palsy and downs syndrome.
- Children Today
This charity helps people up to the age of 25 and can offer grants to be used for buying trikes, bikes and even lifting equipment. If you’d like to apply for funding, you should contact Children Today directly by phoning 01244 335622.
The importance of a special bike for a disabled child should not be undervalued. It can be one of their only forms of freedom, and being able to pedal off in any direction they choose can be a huge boost to their confidence. As such, if you can’t afford to buy this special needs equipment yourself, seek out support; there are many charities waiting to help.