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Funding – Thinking Outside the Box

BJ was on a waiting list for an iPad and mounting system for quite a while.  I’m not the most patient person when it comes to equipment funding.    When you request funding it is usually because you need that item NOW, if not yesterday.  We wanted this system so he had communication on-the-go and an easy way to share his day with us using photos and information.

I was happily waiting for our application to come up for review but then we received a letter advising that the programme funding was on hold.   The current applications would not be reviewed for months.  Having already waited a while, I was frustrated.

BJ was due to finish school  and I wanted the equipment to be introduced by his teacher and aide who were supportive and open minded regarding his learning.  When he finished school he was also going to lose the therapy support which we he had at school.  We were keen to get this equipment while he had speech therapy and occupational therapy support.  We felt he would learn to use it much quicker in a familiar environment with staff who know him well.  If we had any problems they would be there to help iron out the issues.  The next year seemed too late.

I set about thinking of other ways to get the funding.  Applications had been submitted to all the usual avenues but we were not receiving any positive replies.  Our poor Occupational Therapist put up with many phone calls from me asking hopefully, “Any news?” and then she had to put up with my groans and whines when she answered that nothing had come through yet.

When yet another door closed, we had a discussion.  I suggested we contact some local businesses in our area that would be less obvious for requests of this kind.   Our Occupational Therapist sent off an email to two local businesses.   The following day she had a positive reply that one of the firms was happy to contribute the majority of the funding.

Were we just lucky?  Well, we were definitely lucky but I do think it worked in our favour that our request was unusual to their business.  The company did say they receive many charity requests but I gather ours was a little different to the majority they receive.


  • If you have a therapist, discuss your child’s needs for the next 12 months – 2 years.  By the time you trial the equipment, get quotes, make your choice and apply, it is likely to take 6-12 months to receive the equipment depending on the funding provider.
  • Always personalise the application by putting a happy photo of the person who is applying.  This ensures that it isn’t just another form to the person deciding on your funding. You want them to “know” the person their decision will affect.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Send applications to several organisations in the hope that one will come through.
  • Look for unusual places for funding, not just the well publicised clubs, charities and funding bodies.
  • Provide the option for sponsorship of some of the elements rather than the entire item. Our iPad set up had multiple elements to it including the Ipad, the mounting system, the communication programs and the specialised perspex guard.  It was an expensive set up.  We had four different quotes within the application.  Breaking it up as individual items that can be sponsored may mean it gets at least partially funded or funded by a couple of companies.  This means that if a company doesn’t have the  funds to provide the entire piece of equipment that they can make a smaller contribution.
  • Persist.

And lastly, best of luck.  It is a frustrating process but hopefully some of these tips may help you.

If you have any to add I’d love to hear about them.
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