David McKeag, who was diagnosed with both conditions when he was a little boy, has struggled to live a ‘normal’ life, with his mum, Lynne, caring for him full-time. His autism and ADHD impact on David’s behaviour, which often puts a strain on them both, leading to feelings of frustration and isolation. With little alternative funding available for young adults aged between 16 and 20, the personal grant will provide a valuable financial helping hand for the McKeag family to enjoy a few days’ break away from their usual routine.
Lynne applied for the £500 grant from the Engage Foundation, which has set aside £1m as an exclusive benefit for Engage Mutual’s customers to make their lives and their communities better. Lynne’s application was selected in a monthly draw.
Lynne said: “It’s been a long struggle for us with David. When he was diagnosed there was little information available for parents and our initial thoughts were – ‘how are we going to deal with this?’”
Lynne set up a support group for other parents in the same situation, giving them a forum to share their experiences and reduce the isolation they feel.
She continued: “Through the years we’ve had to deal with people staring at David, perceiving his behaviour as naughty. It’s been a full-time job for my husband and me, and although it’s worth every second, it has also been extremely challenging. Your identity is taken away from you entirely – I’m no longer Lynne McKeag, I’m ‘David’s mum’."
Lynne will use the funding from Engage to take the family on a break they would otherwise not have been able to consider.
She continued: “The grant from Engage will allow us to take a valuable break together as a family. This is something most families might take for granted but for us, it really is something special. We’re going to go to the Lake District, a place which gives David the space he needs to relax. He loves going out for meals with the family while we’re away, something we never dreamed he would be able to do. There’s very little funding available for someone David’s age and with my husband recently having been made redundant the personal grant funding is so vital for us – we’re incredibly grateful.”
As a mutual organisation, Engage is owned by, and run for, its customers. The Engage Foundation was set up to provide customers like Lynne with personal grants and also awards for community projects. Customers can apply to help themselves, their family and close friends, or their corner of the world (the communities in which they live). All customers need to do to be considered is apply. The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.
Anna Drabble, Head of community at Engage explained: “Lynne is an absolutely incredible woman. Not only has she cared for David but she has worked to raise awareness of his condition and help other parents in similar situations. I’m extremely pleased that the McKeags will be able to use the personal grant money to do something as a family – this is the perfect example of what personal grants are for!”