Nyall & Emma, parents to Joel (6) & Elzee (2), needed support for their family when Nyall’s 12 years as a graphic designer came to an abrupt end. Forced to leave employment due to disability, and conscious of Joel’s Fragile X Syndrome, autism and GDD symptoms, both parents chatted with us about their grant experience.

For contrast and context, we wanted to know how life was before Emma & Nyall got in touch with the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust.

“We were at a point of last resorts,” Emma explained. “It’s so difficult because all a family wants to do is be able to provide everything themselves. Our mantra had always been: mend and make do. But recent events had pushed us to a point where we simply had to ask for help.”

Nyall had developed a complex cocktail of back conditions: spondyloptosis, arthritis and nerve damage. With concerns around Elzee’s hearing, as well as Joel’s aforementioned conditions and symptoms, Emma left work as an oncology nurse to spend more time caring for her family’s needs.

“We were online, looking for any financial support we might be able to apply for,” Nyall recalled, “and we stumbled across the FTCT website. I’d worked for 12 years as a graphic designer in fashion, my last role at Hottentot Clothing – a fashion house which sold to the industry.”

When we eventually got in touch with FTCT, Anita helped us realise that this was no big deal, that we had no need to feel embarrassed, and that this is exactly what the money was there for – to support families like ours. This is a message we’ve been able to refer and pass on to other families, who have gone on to apply for their own grants.

“We talked first about the disability facilities grant we had received elsewhere for the house to support Nyall,” Emma said, “as the place had been left with bare plaster everywhere; we were living out of one room, and the rest was full of boxes! We needed beds, mattresses and wardrobes for Joel & Elzee’s rooms, uniform for Joel’s special needs school (which are so expensive!), and our garden gate was broken; it swings open of its own accord – a constant worry when the children want to play outside.”

“With the grant and charity’s support, we managed to cover everything for both children – even the gate’s been fixed, so it’s a safe place to play again. The grant has also taken a lot of pressure off Emma,” adds Nyall. “She can relax more, which was tough while we were still living amongst boxes.”

As part of our outreach, we share stories like Elzee, Joel, Emma & Nyall’s on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, so it’s no shock that a Google and social media search is how many families find us. We like to think (and hope!) that, by sharing our stories, word of mouth will do much of the work for us.

Emma attests, after receiving the grant, that “the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust hasn’t only made a difference to our family, but those of our friends. We’ve referred two families already!”

“To other parents or carers who may feel a little unsure about the whole thing, just give them a call and chat. There’s always someone free, and the conversation will make everything far less daunting.”

How could we help you?

If you’re a parent working in the UK fashion and textile industry, your child may be eligible for a grant. Please read more about how we define ‘fashion and textile’, our grants, and what we fund. Then, get in touch or give us a call on 0300 123 9002.