Roald Dahl's Marvellous Childrens Charity

Information for professionals

Our Marvellous Family Grants provide support to help UK families in financial hardship who are caring for a child with a serious illness.

Please read the following information before applying for a grant.





The Applicant Officer (AO) is the professional who applies on behalf of the family. AOs must be health or social care professionals, employed by a statutory organisation (NHS or local authority). 

Ideally, the AO should be working with the family on a professional basis and who knows the family and their history, and would be happy to complete an application on the family's behalf. 

We are unable to accept applications completed by parents or individuals. The reason we only accept applications via this route is to ensure that criteria is met through an independent professional. It greatly reduces our overheads by asking the AO to check details for us, thus ensuring a fast decision process. If we had to do these checks internally, we would not have as many funds available to help families. 

You can become an AO by registering your details with us. We will then send you an application form that you can use to apply for a grant. 

Is the family eligible?

Marvellous Family Grants are open to any family in the UK who meet the following criteria:

  • There is a child who has a serious illness that could be life-limiting, as described by the following:[1] 
  • Group 1 - Life threatening conditions for which curative treatment may be feasible but can fail. (e.g. epilepsy, irreversible organ failures of heart, liver, kidneys.)
  • Group 2 - Conditions where premature death is inevitable. (e.g. cystic fibrosis.)
  • Group 3 - Progressive conditions without curative treatment options. (e.g. Batten disease, mucopolysaccaridoses, muscular dystrophy.)
  • Group 4 - Irreversible but non-progressive conditions causing severe disability leading to susceptibility to health complications and likelihood of premature death. (e.g. sickle cell disease, cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities such as brain or spinal cord insult.)
  • Group 5 - Syndromes without a name (SWAN) causing severe, chronic disability or illness.

Please note that the charity's remit excludes all forms of cancer owing to levels of support for children and young people with cancer being far higher than those for other conditions. We are also unable to support applicants whose primary diagnosis is a developmental disability including Autism and ADHD.

  • The child is eligible to receive Medium or High Rate DLA (the Care component) or the Enhanced Rate for 6 of the 12 activities in the PIP, or has an equivalent level of need.
  • The child has yet to reach their 25th birthday.
  • The family are living in financial hardship.
  • The family has not received a grant for this child from the Marvellous Family Grants Programme in the last 12 months.
  • The grant is for the benefit of the child directly.

What we will support

The maximum annual grant per child will be £1,000. The support we can offer grants towards is as follows;

  • Physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, hydrotherapy and counselling, where the provision on the NHS is not sufficient.
  • Play, art or music therapy sessions.
  • Travel (including parking), accommodation and subsistence costs whilst a child is in hospital.
  • Specialist equipment, for example, specialist seats and walkers, epilepsy monitors etc.
  • Everyday items that will improve the child's quality of life and keep them out of hospital longer, for example furniture, white goods and clothing (where this is required because of the child's condition).
  • Attendance at a medical/support group conference.
  • Ongoing social activities, lessons and memberships.
  • iPads/laptops where there is evidence that it will be educational benefit to the child.

This list is not exhaustive. Please note that we no longer fund holidays, day trips, property adaptations, deposits for vehicles, garden works, shed/storage, utility bills, respite care or driving lessons. We cannot fund retrospectively i.e. where the item or support has already been paid for. We are also unable to help with requests where a statutory agency (such as local authorities or health services) has a responsibility to provide the item required.

What will I need to complete the application form?

  • Name for each family member and dates of birth for all children.
  • Family's contact details (address, phone number and e-mail address.)
  • The child's (or children's) medical condition.
  • Details of the support required by the family, how it will benefit the child with the serious illness, and the total cost of this support, including a financial breakdown of the costs.
  • Evidence of the child's (or children's) disability benefits and the family's financial situation.
  • Whether any other charities have been approached for funding and the outcome of this.
  • Your organisation's bank account details for payment of the grant. Please note that we can't pay into an individual's bank account.
  • The child's ethnic origin - this is purely for monitoring purposes and will not be used to determine whether a grant should be awarded. This is in an appendix that will be removed before the application is considered. 
  • The parent's signature to comply with Data Protection purposes.

How long does it take?

Applications are considered at a monthly grants allocations meeting. The application forms need to be submitted by a set date to be considered at each month's meetings. These dates can be found on the right hand side of the page. We will notify with the outcome of your application by the notification date following the date, which you submitted the form. Depending on when in the month your form is submitted, your application could take between 4-8 weeks.

Next Steps

If you are working with a family who you feel would meet the criteria, please register with us for an application form.

Please also see our 'Other sources of help' links on the right hand side panel of this page.

Please note that our fund is limited and we will be unable to fund every grant requested.

Grants are generally awarded to eligible cases that demonstrate the greatest need, and where we feel our funding can make the biggest difference.

[1] Adapted from: ACT, ‘A Guide to the Development of Children’s Palliative Care Services,’ 2009. 

Is the family eligible? 

The programme is open to any family in the UK in which:

  • There is a child or children with a serious long-term health condition (‘affected child or children’)
  • The affected child or children are eligible to receive Medium or High Rate DLA (the Care component) or the Enhanced Rate for 6 of the 12 activities in the PIP or has an equivalent level of need
  • At least one affected child has yet to reach their 21st birthday
  • Some form of support would help improve the emotional or psychological state of some or all of the family members (not necessarily the affected child/children)
  • There are serious financial constraints that mean the family cannot access such support
  • The family has not received a grant from the Stronger Families Programme in the last 12 months

We welcome applications from any family with an affected child, regardless of condition, as long as that condition is serious and is not a form of cancer.

Levels of support for children and young people with cancer are far higher than those for other conditions and, with a small fund, we have had to take the decision to exclude families where a child has cancer.

Please note that we particularly welcome applications from families where the child is undiagnosed.

What will we support

The maximum grant per family will be £500.

Here is a preliminary list of the kinds of things we think might be helpful:

  • Individual, family or relationship counselling sessions
  • Peer group sessions for dads, mums, siblings or affected CYP
  • Play, art or music therapy sessions
  • Outreach worker to help the family learn to play together
  • Meditation or mindfulness sessions
  • Equipment or expenses to enable CYP to join in activities with their friendship group
  • Access to social communications technology
  • Expenses to enable attendance at a conference with other families affected by the same condition/experience
  • Activity days to enable the whole family to spend fun time together
  • Respite care to enable parents and non-affected siblings to spend time together

What we are unable to support

  • Debts or payment of utility bills, rent, etc.
  • Trips outside the UK for medical treatment or holiday
  • Educational fees
  • Car seats, walkers, bicycles, pushchairs, mobility chairs
  • Specialist furniture, fittings or household appliances
  • Beds, cots, bedding, or clothing
  • Living expenses when a child is admitted to hospital away from the home town
  • Travel expenses to and from hospital

For those seeking this type of assistance, please see our list of other charities that could help, on the right hand panel of this page.

Who can apply

Applications to our Stronger Families Programme must be from our established 'Applicant Officers' (AO's), e.g. social worker, healthcare professional or charity representative.

If you are a parent or carer and feel we might be able to assist you, please contact your healthcare professional or social worker.

How to apply

If you are an AO who has received an email from us, and would like to make an application, please proceed to the application form.

If you are an AO and have not received any communication from us, but have a family that you feel meets our criteria and would benefit from funding, please contact the Grants and Finance Officer directly on 01494 892 170.

Application Guidance

Application and notification dates

Contact the Charity