Seven Families Campaign goes live

The campaign, which is backed by some of the biggest companies in the UK, will provide financial support for one year to the breadwinners of seven families who are currently unable to work through ill health or as the result of an accident.

The families are based in different parts of the country, come from various backgrounds and are experiencing the impacts of a range of different health conditions and injuries.

Peter Le Beau MBE, spokesperson for the campaign, 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 counselling services.”

The first family to benefit from the project are Tim and Tracey Clarke, who live on a houseboat after financial difficulties forced the sale of the family home.

Tracey, who retains just 2% of her eyesight and will receive £600pm from the campaign, said: “We sold our house and bought a narrowboat, which is a much cheaper and more relaxed way of living.

“It is just about manageable on benefits but this additional money from Seven Families could be life changing.

“Although I never had any functional vision in my left eye from birth, it had never caused a problem. I drove a car, held an advanced driving licence, had a career as a Pharmacy Technician and did a lot of artwork.

“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.

“Amongst other things I will be able to buy a laptop with the necessary specialist software that will allow me to work again. I then hope to begin to build a path into writing and publishing, which I can do from the boat.”

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 being unable to work due to long term health conditions or disability has on a person, as well as identifying what support makes most difference to living the life you choose.

“We hear from people daily who have to wait months for assessments (for Personal Independence Payment), while receiving ineffective or no support to resume work. This project will help us learn how different it can be when people do have resources, information and access to support on their own terms.

“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.”

Le Beau added: “Each family will also have access to basic financial advice, from a range of volunteering financial advisers, to help with basic finances and budgeting.”