Funding your device in the UK and Ireland
In the UK there are many different organisations that can provide funding for Smartbox devices.
We support individuals and families, healthcare professionals and educational organisations throughout the process.
Our team of assistive technology experts are here to help
Our on site visits are the best way to try a range of devices and access methods. Our friendly team create a relaxed environment to find the right solution for you and will be on hand to advise on potential funding options in your area.
In England there is a network of Specialist AAC Services that provide alternative communication, environment control and computer control solutions to people that need them.
The NHS published new guidance for commissioning AAC services and equipment in March 2016. This is available for anyone to read:
Download NHS guidance on AAC commissioning
Our team are here to help you find a funding solution. We have worked closely with all of the Specialist Services and can help with referrals and general advice about the best route to funding the equipment you need.
There are currently 17 AAC Hubs based across England and Wales. The services the hubs offer vary from assessments and loans of equipment through to training and ongoing support.
NHS Hubs are only able to assess 10% of the AAC population with the most complex AAC needs. You can find out more about your local Hub and their criteria for assessment by clicking on the relevant links below:
- North East and South East London – Guy’s and St Thomas’ Assistive Communication Service (GSTT ACS)
- East Midlands – Lincolnshire Adult’s AAC Service
- North West – ACE Centre (North)
- North East – Regional Communication Aid Service
- Yorkshire and Humber – Barnsley Assistive Technology Service
- West Midlands – ACT (Access to Communication and Technology)
- Wessex & Thames Valley – ACE Centre (South)
- East of England – East of England
- South West – AAC West
- London – Assistive Communication Service (ACS)
- London – Compass Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology Service
- London – Wolfson Neuro-Disability Team – Communication Service
- Sussex and Surrey – Chailey Heritage Clinical Services
- Kent and Medway – Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology Service (KM CAT) – Adults
- Kent and Medway – Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology Service (KM CAT) – Children & Young People
- Wales – Communication Aid Centre, ALAC
Funding provision in Scotland and Northern Ireland is structured differently, with funding often provided by the NHS, local authority or a combination of organisations. To find out how to access these services or get in touch there are some useful links below:
- Scotland – services available
- Northern Ireland – services available
To read more about NHS Hubs that operate in the UK, visit the Communication Matters funding webpage.
For people living in the UK or Ireland that do not qualify for NHS funding, the list of charities below may be able to helpful you.
Steve Morgan Foundation
The Steve Morgan Foundation supports projects that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, the elderly and those that are socially disadvantaged in North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire.
In 2017 they launched the Enable fund which provides support for disabled people who are in financial hardship to obtain specialist equipment that cannot be supplied by the NHS, Education or Social Services.
Contact: 01829 782808
Steve Morgan Foundation, PO Box 3517, Chester, CH1 9ET
Cerebra is a charity striving to improve the lives of children with brain related conditions. In addition to a programme of research carried out at UK hospitals, universities and Cerebra’s centre, they co-ordinate a ‘Parent Support’ department providing support, information and research.
They organise a wide range of training seminars, workshops and projects for parents, professionals and children themselves. Cerebra offers grants to help children 16 or under who have disabilities because of a brain related condition or injury. The condition may be of a physical nature, a learning disability or both.
Contact: 01267 244200
Cerebra, Principality Buildings, 13 Guildhall Square, Carmarthen, SA31 1PR
Family Welfare Association
The FWA gives one-off grants to support families and individuals who are experiencing poverty, social isolation, disadvantage and particularly those living on benefits. They provide families with essential needs such as beds, cookers, transport, electronic aids, etc. A professional such as a Social Worker or Speech Therapist should make the application on behalf of the individual.
If the funds are available and an application can be accepted, the application form will be sent to the referrer. The FWA’s Grants Panel will consider the fully completed application form, at the next available meeting. The Grants Panel meets 46 weeks per year. All grant payments are made to the referring agency or service/utilities provider. FWA will require you to give a lot of information about your finances.
Contact: 020 7254 6251
Grants Service, Family Welfare Association, 501-505 Kingsland Road, London E8 4AU.
The family Fund is the UK’s largest provider of grants to low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children.
Parents can apply for the fund for essential items such as appliances, clothes and much needed breaks. The Family Fund also consider grants for sensory toys and computers so it may be worth applying for computer access devices such as eye gaze and alternative pointing devices.
Contact: 01904 550055
Family Fund, 4 Alpha Court, Monks Cross Drive, York, YO32 9WN.
Find A Voice
This Charity offers help and advice to people of all ages with severe communication difficulties in Kent. Although the organisation does not fund devices, it will provide help for individuals who desperately need equipment and are being denied it by the statutory authorities.
They will help with letters of request for equipment or arrange and go to meetings regarding funding for your device, or just give advice on how to obtain the best help available.
Contact: 01233 640 4434
Find a Voice, 49 Beaver Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 5NU.
Janki Saye Foundation
The Janki Saye Foundation provides grants to fund assistive technology, making communication possible for people without speech and reading possible for people without sight. They will consider grant applications from anyone who is unable to meet the costs of assistive technologies.
Lifeline 4 Kids
LifeLine 4 Kids were formed for one purpose – to provide essential equipment to help improve the quality of life for children with disabilities and special needs irrespective of race or creed.
Contact: 020 7794 1661
LifeLine 4 Kids, 215 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London, NW6 1XJ
Masonic Samaritan Fund
The Masonic Samaritan Fund provide grants to eligible beneficiaries who have an identified health or care need and, faced with a long wait for treatment, care or support, are unable to afford their own private care.
Contact: 020 7404 1550
Masonic Samaritan Fund, 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association
The MND Association are an independent charity devoted to the support of sufferers of MND and their carers. The association has an equipment bank from which they will loan equipment, including Communication Aids. For equipment not available from the loan bank, the association may make a grant towards the purchase of the equipment. All equipment offered is loaned for as long as required and in cases when a grant has been awarded, the equipment becomes the property of the user.
Funding applications should be made by a health or social care professional to the Regional Care Adviser.
Contact: 01604 250505 / 08457 626262
Motor Neurone Disease Association, PO Box 246, Northampton NN1 2PR.
Muscular Dystrophy UK
The only UK charity focusing on all muscular dystrophies and allied disorders, Muscular Dystrophy UK have pioneered the search for treatments and cures for over 40 years. They also provide practical, medical and emotional support for people affected by the conditions.
The Joseph Patrick Trust, which is part of the Muscular Dystrophy UK, provides part funding towards the cost of equipment.
Contact: 020 7803 4800
Muscular Dystrophy UK, 61A Great Suffolk Street, London, SE1 0BU
Speakeasier funds the purchase of Communication Aids for people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) who have not been able to obtain funding by other means. They also encourage people with MS to learn how to use communication aids at an early stage.
Upon assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT), individuals who are unable to fund a communication aid by other means can qualify for funding through Speakeasier. There are two stages involved in acquiring a speech aid. Initially, an application form is completed by the SLT, followed by the potential recipient signing a loan agreement.
Speakeasier will order the prescribed aid for delivery to the SLT. The user owns the device for as long as is required.
Contact: 01242 705681
Speakeasier, PO Box 410, Cheltenham, Gloucester, GL52 9GH.
The Aidis Trust
Aidis has specialised in electronic assistive technology since 1975 and provides advice, assessment, installation, and perhaps most importantly, training and support to disabled people.
They are currently expanding their training and support services and their programme of workshops in order to help more individuals and reduce the isolation and social exclusion felt by the disabled people.
Contact: 0808 800 0009
The Aidis Trust, Floor 7, 3 London Wall Buildings, London Wall, London EC2M 5PD.
The Children’s Trust
The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. They work with children and young people from across the UK, both from their specialist centre in Tadworth, Surrey and in communities around the country.
The Children’s Trust work to make sure all that all children with brain injury have the opportunity to live the best life possible.
Contact: 01737 365 000
The Sequal Trust
The Sequal Trust operates across the UK and provides communication aids on a permanent free loan basis to individuals of all ages. To apply for a device you must enrol as a member of the Trust. You would then be assessed by one of their officers and before the fundraising process begins.
The Trust writes to organisations in your area and any other organisations you are connected to requesting donations. The Sequal Trust will maintain the equipment and meet the cost of any repairs, but will not insure the device.
Contact: 01691 624 222
The Sequal Trust, 3 Ploughman’s Corner, Wharf Road, Ellesmere, Shropshire, SY12 0EJ.
Just4Children is passionate about the relief of sickness and preservation of health of children in the UK and Ireland by providing and assisting in the provision of grants to enable them to obtain medical treatment, therapies, living environments, equipment and holidays which would not otherwise be available to them.
Contact: 0800 169 1601
85 Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1DG
Private Fundraising Ideas
Some people choose to raise money by organising sponsored events such as fun runs, swimathons, parachute jumps, abseils, walks, quizzes, benefit concerts, telethons, fashion shows, talent shows, etc.
For the less energetic, why not organise raffles, book sales, boot sales, garage sales, etc. Some people have been successful in raising funds simply by writing to their local newspaper, and by contacting large and / or local businesses.
Other useful charities worth contacting might include your local rotary club, Golf clubs, etc. If you belong to a union or other trade body it may also be worth contacting them to enquire whether they would fund all or part of this type of equipment.
Institute Of Fundraising
There is some useful information under the ‘Information about Fundraising’ tab. Established in 1983, the Institute of Fundraising is the professional body for fundraising, working to develop, promote and champion excellence in fundraising.
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