Parents and carers of children with suspected or diagnosed Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) have told Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership that one of the things they value most is the chance to share their experience and learn from others who are in a similar situation.
To increase support for families affected by FASD and opportunities for them to meet each other, grants of up to £1,000 are being offered to voluntary organisations and groups in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport and Tameside.
The announcement has been made to coincide with FASD Awareness Day on Monday 9 September.
The grants are initially intended to support activities taking place from October 2019 to April 2020 next year.
The grants can be used to provide a social space for parents and carers when their children are at school, after school activities for children with FASD and informal training opportunities. The money can also be used for venue hire, refreshments, to fund activities or for training materials.
The deadline to apply for a grant is 20 September.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy. The disorder is an umbrella term for a range of lifelong disabilities which includes physical, mental, behavioural and learning impairments. It often causes difficulties with speech, language, memory, attention, planning and decision-making.
Many children with FASD are either misdiagnosed or do not receive a formal diagnosis, consequently they do not receive the right support. They are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with conditions including attention deficit disorder, autism and depression, and are at increased risk of having a disrupted education and coming into contact with children’s services and the criminal justice system.
The advice from the Chief Medical Officer for England is ‘if you are pregnant, or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all’.
Anna Webster, adoptive mum of a child with FASD, said:
“It’s fantastic that grants are being made available to run FASD support groups. FASD is both common but hidden and there is often very little support for those with FASD and those caring for them. This is a wonderful opportunity to develop innovative and much needed models for support that will make a huge difference to people affected by FASD.”
Sarah Price, director of population health for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said:
“We know that support from parents and guardians of children with FASD is invaluable to those in a similar situation.
“They are the experts and we must make sure they have the opportunity to share their unique knowledge and experience.
“If you are in a position to offer support and help I’d encourage you to apply for one of the grants.”
To find out more information or apply for one of the small grants, click here.
The new grants are part of a £1.6m pilot programme being run by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to stop children being affected by alcohol when in the womb and challenge misconceptions about drinking when pregnant.