Big Lottery Fund
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BIG backing for families affected by Foetal Alcohol Disorder

Parents of adopted children who suffer from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) will be helped to support their children’s learning with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

FASD is a condition that often goes undiagnosed and covers a wide range of preventable birth defects caused by a woman drinking alcohol during her pregnancy, including facial abnormalities, growth problems, and long-term developmental and behavioural problems.

Parents for Children (PfC), a national organisation that provides support services for children with special needs including adoption and foster care, will use the award of £50,000 to deliver residential learning weekends for these children and their adoptive families.

Based on similar successful schemes in the US, the weekends will see the children taking part in activities such as juggling, keyboard playing, treasure hunts, cookery, swimming and drumming, which will help to improve their motor co-ordination and give them the chance to learn new skills in a relaxed, enjoyable setting.

The project will also enable parents to learn about the problems children with FASD are living with, share strategies for managing their child’s behaviour and discover new ways to help their children learn more effectively.

Mary Mather from Parents for Children, said: “Alcohol misuse in pregnancy causes a hidden, but very real disability in the affected child. Although many of these children can look perfectly normal and can often be very articulate, they have some devastating invisible disabilities; an inability to process information, to make judgements, and to link actions to consequences.

“They have significant learning, emotional and behavioural difficulties. They can be very challenging to parent and often have a traumatic journey through adolescence.  This exciting project, which is the first in the UK, aims to support these children and their families in an innovative way.”

The money comes from BIG’s Family Learning programme, which helps parents understand more about how their children learn and encourages adults and children to learn as a family.

Sanjay Dighe, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund’s England grant-making committee, said: “We’re very proud to be supporting this project, which will give these children a positive learning experience and help to boost their confidence around learning and education. It will also offer their parents the chance to meet and share advice with one another and enable the whole family to take part in more mainstream learning activities in the future.”


Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone:  0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website:


Notes to Editors

  • The Family Learning programme helps parents to understand more about how their children learn and encourages adults and children to learn together as a family. It opened for applications in September 2006 and is set to close for applications on August 29, 2008.
  • Up to £40 million is available through the programme and applicants can apply for grants of a minimum of £10,000 and a maximum of £500,000.
  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £22 billion has now been raised and more than 300,500 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.