THE charity which runs the Robin House children's hospice at Loch Lomond has launched a new bid to help families who have been severely affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), which supports babies, children, and young people with life-shortening conditions, is working to provide vital support through its Family Income Maximisation Service.

This provides advice to families who may be forced out of work to care for their children, are struggling to afford regular hospital transport, or are living in food poverty.

Laura Wingate, Marcus Dicks, and their sons Isaac and Theodore are one of the families who have benefitted from the service.

Theodore, whose twin died in utero, had to be delivered at 31 weeks at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness on March 8, 2020 and was born with chronic lung disease, brain damage, and a range of complex care needs.

Marcus found himself unemployed while having to care for his newborn son.

He said: “I was due to sit my bus driver’s licence test but due to lockdown this was not possible and they couldn’t put me on furlough because I started after the cut-off date.

"When I lost my job, sorting out benefits while sitting in hospital with Theodore was so stressful. CHAS helping us with our finances has made a real difference to our lives.”

Laura added: “It’s definitely helped massively, having someone there to give us a hand and make sure we’re getting what we’re entitled to and help with things we couldn’t really do before.”

Theodore, who is now two years old, came home from hospital on his first birthday, but needs 24-hour care as he is wheelchair-bound, ventilated, and tube-fed.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Theodore painting at Robin HouseTheodore painting at Robin House

Thanks to the support from CHAS, the family has been able to enjoy some much-needed respite at Robin House in Balloch.

Laura said: “The charity is also arranging for us to have some support at home via the CHAS at Home service.

"This will allow us the freedom of being able to go out without always having to take Theodore and all his equipment with us and ensure he has his feeds at the appropriate times.

"It will also mean we won’t have to constantly think about possible places we could stop the car in an emergency if Theodore was to become unwell.

“The support CHAS has given us literally has made our lives so much easier. We can’t thank them and the supporters who donate money to the charity enough.”

Monica Currie, CHAS family income maximisation officer, said: “The cost of living crisis has resulted in many of the families we support facing some of the worst financial difficulties they have ever experienced.

“Many don’t have a choice in whether or not they can turn the heating off as their home needs to be a set temperature for their child’s comfort.

"In order to maintain their child’s health, complex and various machines and equipment are required to be on 24/7. This has huge implications on their utility bills, even more so during the cost of living crisis.

“Over the past three years, our Family Income Maximisation Service has helped over 300 families, helping to unlock nearly £400,000 in much needed funds and we want to continue to offer this vital support.”

To donate to CHAS’s Cost of Living Crisis Care Appeal, visit the charity's website here.