Natalie is Mum to Robin (12 years). Robin received a grant for a new wheelchair after Natalie’s partner Darren heard about FTCT through his employer, Allied Textiles.

Here Natalie shares the family’s success story.

“We live in a rural area and love getting out of the house for walks. Life as a carer can be tough and the fresh air is good for all of us especially Robin’s wellbeing. He gets anxious in crowded spaces, so countryside walks are ideal for him, but we couldn’t take him out with his NHS wheelchair.”

“We tried to take him out but his wheelchair can only cope with flat surfaces- which are rare around here. Darren or I would end up carrying Robin or dragging the wheelchair backwards through the mud. When the weather is really bad our options are so limited and we literally trapped in the house.”

“After one disastrous walk, I went online and found out about a type of Kinetic wheelchair which is all terrain. It’s moulded to Robin’s shape, so would last him into adulthood. The seat is lower too which means Robin can use his upper body to drive without putting stress on his core. It even has a huge umbrella which protects me and Robin from the rain.”

“We started to fundraise ourselves and raised £2,000 through sponsored runs and a car boot sale. Then Darren’s boss at Allied Textiles suggested we contact FTCT. He thought they might be able to give us a grant for Robin’s chair.”

“I had never contacted a charity before. It sounded like a good idea, but it also seemed strange to ask a complete stranger for money. I love my son and didn’t want to feel like I was moaning about the challenges we face. It’s just everyday life for us.

“I am so glad we applied. FTCT supported us and we were able to buy Robin’s new chair. It has given us more options and choices for getting out the house. It has made a huge difference to Robin’s mental wellbeing too. He is more confident in public places and has even started sailing with a disability charity.”

“We are all looking forward to going to Armed Forces Day next month and actually being able to take Robin down on to the beach, which we have never been able to do before, with Robin’s old chair.”

“To any other parents thinking of applying to for an FTCT grant I would say be relaxed about it. It is ok to admit that life is hard sometimes and the grant really will help your family, which is the most important thing.”

Get help

If you're a parent working in the UK fashion and textile industry, your child might be eligible for a grant. Please read more about our grants and what we fund.  

Apply here