National Lottery Community Fund award

ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity are delighted to announce that the National Lottery Community Fund has awarded ERIC £358K over three years to support the ongoing work of the ERIC Helpline. This will enable us to further develop ERIC’s Family Services for our communities across England.

1 in 12 children are affected by a continence condition like bedwetting, daytime wetting, constipation and soiling. Many families struggle to get the help they need.

A parent who used our free Helpline service says: “Speaking to an ERIC advisor was a lifeline. They gave such clear and helpful advice. It made a huge difference and we were able to get our daughter’s toilet problems under control. It’s changed your family life for the better…without the support from ERIC we just wouldn’t have known what to do.”

The difference this fund will make

The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the impact of bladder and bowel conditions on children, young people and their families and importantly has confidence in ERIC’s plans to:

Increase capacity to support families, enabling everyone that comes to us to be able to access support. (Last year ERIC directly supported more than 3,500 families yet that’s 1 in 4 of the calls that are made to the Helpline!).

Develop service delivery so it is more inclusive, responds to families’ needs and engages communities that experience health inequalities including those with a learning disability, complex needs or cultural differences.

Addressing inequality

Juliette Rayner, ERIC’s CEO says: “During the pandemic, we learned a lot about our communities, what they need and how they like to access information and support. We experienced a huge increase in the number of families coming to ERIC as already diminishing NHS & public health services were eroded further or became more difficult to access during the Covid-19 crisis. It highlighted even more clearly the inequality that current exists within and across communities.

Our goal is to introduce a more flexible and responsive service, enabling us to reach out and support many more children, young people and their families than ever before.”

ERIC’s new family services will support all families to manage or overcome their child’s continence difficulties so that:

  1. Children and young people are no longer excluded from educational and social activities and are freed from feelings of shame and isolation.
  2. Parents and carers are better equipped and more resilient in supporting their children to overcome their challenges.
  3. The burden on NHS waiting lists for expensive referrals to secondary health care provision is reduced.

Next steps

Over the summer detailed planning will take place to establish a structured volunteer programme, as well as the recruitment of a second ERIC Nurse, volunteer co-ordinator and family services advisors. We aim to get started on the project in the autumn and will post regular updates on the ERIC website and social media. Watch this space!

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