The Boonnak Family

The Boonnak family invested in a bungalow to adapt for their severely disabled 6-year-old son, Finnan. Julia is an English as an additional language teacher at a secondary school and her husband, Teerasak, a lunch time supervisor at a local school alongside being the main carer for their youngest son. Unfortunately, the costs of the adaptation increased beyond expectation due to council regulations and we stepped in to help out.

The conversion for Finnan led to sudden additional, unexpected costs

Our youngest son, Finnan Boonnak, 6 years old, has Congenital Disorder of Glycosylation, a chronic and incurable genetic condition. We want Finnan to have the best quality of life possible. So in 2014, we bought a bungalow with the intention of settling in permanently and adapting the house for his needs. The mortgage for the house was the maximum we could borrow from the bank so it was a big investment and we really stretching ourselves financially. 

We applied for a disabled facilities grant from the local council to help us with the cost of the conversion which would be around £28,000. However, on assessment of the house the council said the box room, which our 9-year-old son lives in, did not satisfy criteria to be a child’s bedroom. If they were to convert the garage for Finnan, we needed to extend the house further. At the time I was sharing a bedroom with my daughter, my husband with Finnan, who needs caring for in the night and his brother was in the small box room. In order to secure the grant, we agreed to extend the box room. This added nearly £20,000 onto our personal costs for the house placing a lot of pressure onto our personal finances. We agreed as we knew it would benefit the whole family as well as secure the adaptations which would hugely help Finnan.

As we were already stretching our finances, the extra cost of £20,000 was a big worry for us. We would have to secure a further loan to be able to complete the work and had no savings we could use to reduce the cost. Our personal finances would take a big hit so we sought financial support to enable the building work to begin.

Finding support

We were lucky that the lady who was supporting our disabled facilities grant was incredibly knowledgeable about different funding we could be eligible for and pointed us in your direction. Applying for funding through you was a really simple and understandable process. We were delighted when we received confirmation of the maximum support of £3000 towards the costs of the building work.

It has made a world of difference to the whole family

Education Support Partnership funding has made a world of difference to the living standards of our family. The house is now complete and all 3 of our children now have their own bedroom, which means they have their own space with suitable storage and somewhere to call their own. Finnan in particular is really enjoying his new room, especially his new bed which includes soft play steps and a slide back down. He goes round and round having a lot of fun. His new wetroom makes bath time much easier and enjoyable and it’s great to have space for all his toys and pictures on his wall.

The support you provide was above and beyond what we expected and we are incredibly grateful to have received £3000 towards the cost. We have made a little thank you video for all your supporters who helped make our difference to our lives. We hope you enjoy it.

Education Support Partnership gave us support with no judgement

I would definitely recommend you to all my colleagues and anyone in education who could benefit from the support. Carl (the grants case worker) has been incredibly helpful and always approachable. It’s sometimes difficult to ask for support but Carl was so clear with his communication and easy to talk to, it made the process very much stress-free.

How we can help you

Our confidential grants service is here to help you manage your financial and money worries to get you back on track when you are struggling.

If you are working in or retired from the education sector and are suffering financial problems caused by unemployment, ill health, sudden life events, bereavement or a personal injury we may be able to offer support.

Please visit our grants page to find out more and apply.