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Proud to give a voice to the voiceless

October 2023

Teddy Nyahasha

In the three and a half years that I’ve been CEO of OneFamily, I have been proud to be in a position to be able to give a voice to the families of children who lack mental capacity.

I’ve talked often about their struggles in accessing the child trust fund (CTF) savings that they have been putting aside for their children over the course of 18 years.

As the UK’s biggest CTF provider, OneFamily has campaigned hard for change to happen to make life easier for these young people, who simply want to be able to withdraw their savings just like anyone else, without having to go to court.

We’re now three years on from the first child trust funds maturing, and little seems to have changed to make life easier for these families.

"Just 18 young people made it through the Court of Protection process in 2022. That’s 18 people of an estimated 80,000 CTF accounts"

There might have been one or two tweaks to the Court of Protection forms, but the route is still essentially the same.

It’s disappointing. Especially when you bear in mind that just 18 young people made it through the Court of Protection process in 2022. That’s 18 people of an estimated 80,000 CTF accounts.

It’s dismal, especially in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis where every penny counts and vulnerable people are suffering the most. These are the people for whom the balance of their CTF, which averages around £2,000, can make a real difference.

The truth is that for a young person with a disability, life is much more expensive. According to a report by Scope, on average, they need an additional £975 per month, excluding benefits, to maintain the same standard of living as an able-bodied person.

"So there’s still much to fight for and this will be an issue that remains close to my heart, even once I’ve moved on from OneFamily later this year"

Shockingly, disability charity Contact¹, found that nearly 4 in 5 families with a disabled family member have had to reduce their energy usage because they couldn’t afford bills. Almost half couldn’t keep their home warm enough for their disabled child over the winter, and 39% had to cut back or stopped using disability equipment as a result.

Those in receipt of disability benefits received a £150 payment to provide extra support, but 80% of disabled people said that the Government’s Cost of Living Payments were not enough to meet their increased costs.²

So there’s still much to fight for and this will be an issue that remains close to my heart, even once I’ve moved on from OneFamily later this year.

In the meantime, OneFamily will continue to support its customers by applying a common-sense approach that mirrors the DWP’s own process to enable them to access their own savings without having to go to court.

We believe our inclusive approach is the equitable and the right thing to do as a mutual organisation.

And we’re always going to be here for our members.

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Teddy is a strong supporter of diversity, inclusion and equality. A passionate believer in social mobility and financial inclusion; he is using his position as CEO of OneFamily to help the young, the disadvantaged and the marginalised to reach beyond their expectations. His view is that everyone in society should have the same opportunities to access financial products – regardless of their wealth.

¹Contact. (n.d.). Out of Energy. [online] Available at: contact.org.uk/help-for-families/campaigns-and-research/out-of-energy/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2023].
²Veruete-McKay, L., Scheulke, L., Moss, C. and Davy, C. (2023). The Disability Price Tag 2023 Technical report. [online] Scope , Scope, pp.3–29. Available at: www.scope.org.uk/campaigns/extra-costs/disability-price-tag-2023/ [Accessed 2 May 2023].

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