invest in young lives

Collaborating for a cause

By Katie Boswell 22 September 2016 2 minute read

Sports fans across the UK are coming down from the buzz of the Rio Paralympics, which ended last week. As well as providing a host of memorable moments—from Dame Sarah Storey’s 12th gold medal to Kadeena Cox’s triumphs in both cycling and athletics—they also provided a platform for discussing the issues that affect disabled people across the UK.

It is times like this when I really appreciate the causes that I get to research at NPC and the charities that inspire me on a regular basis. Today, for example, we published Invest in young lives, our report with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) on how philanthropists can support disabled children and young people.

Disability in young people is an area that is not getting the attention it deserves among philanthropists. Existing support comes largely from donors with personal experience of the challenges involved. Meanwhile, there are 800,000 disabled children in the UK and they face many difficult issues, amplified by recent cuts to services and rising numbers of disabled children. A typical journey for a disabled child and their family through existing services is full of frustration, stress, isolation, and missed opportunities.

But with the right services in place, disabled children and their families can thrive. So we produced a report that aims to inspire and inform a wider range of philanthropists to get involved in this important cause. In it, we pinpoint four areas where support could lead to particularly positive outcomes for disabled young people and their families:

  • Early intervention such as speech or language therapy can have a lasting impact on a child’s life.
  • Family support helps families to understand how to meet the unique needs of their child and to deal with the practical, emotional, and financial pressures of caring for a disabled child.
  • Supporting disabled young people to transition into adulthood helps them to fulfil their potential and participate fully in society.
  • Effective infrastructure—things like a skilled workforce and a positive policy environment—help charities to deliver good services for disabled children and their families.

We also identify three ways that philanthropists can make the most difference when targeting their support. They can strengthen their support by getting advice from experts or collaborating with others in giving circles, while the most ambitious may wish to join a dedicated cause fund that aims to achieve lasting social change.

So, while reading Invest in young lives might take longer than the 131 seconds that it took for Kadeena Cox to win in the Velodrome, I still encourage you to take a look and be inspired!

Download Invest in young lives: Building philanthropic support for disabled children and young people.

If you are interested in exploring the idea of a cause fund for disabled children and their families, please email