A SICK children’s charity in South Tyneside – which is calling for the Government to make a change in the law – is delighted at a surge in support.
The Charlie Cookson Foundation, which supports the families of youngsters with life-limiting conditions, has launched two online petitions in a bid to make two key changes for families with disabled or ill children.
It wants carer’s allowance to continue if a child has spent more than 12 weeks in hospital, and the age at which car mobility allowances are paid to be lowered from three to two – but it needs 100,000 signatures in support of both moves before they can be considered for a debate in the House Of Commons.
Since the Gazette publicised the charity’s mission, which has also been backed by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck, on Saturday, there’s already been a 50 per cent increase in support.
The carer’s allowance petition now has 984 signatures and the mobility car one has 1,280.
Sarah Cookson, who launched the charity with her husband Chris in memory of their son Charlie, who died in 2013 aged just two, said: “We are overwhelmed by all of the support. The story in the Gazette has helped us raise more awareness of the battles these families face everyday.
“We would like to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to sign and share our petitions. The support is amazing and we hope we can keep going to achieve the numbers needed.”
Mrs Cookson, from Simonside, South Shields, saw her husband’s carer’s allowance stopped for her son after one of his many stays in hospital as he battled numerous medical conditions.
While the allowance is intended for the child’s care, the majority of parents use the cash to help pay for mortgages, transport, and other needs, since they’re no longer in full-term employment.
Many families with disabled youngsters end up in debt and arrears due to the mounting bills, and that’s where the Foundation steps in by paying three months-worth of bills.
Mrs Cookson sad: “We’re not asking for the biggest changes in law. But if we could make this happen then it would mean the world of difference to so many families.”
•To sign the mobility petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/73373
•To sign the carer’s allowance petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/73403