A disability charity that provides a unique service to UK disabled people, family carers, and health professionals has seen a huge 40 per cent increase in demand since Covid-19 put a squeeze on vital resources.
Skiggle facilitates an emergency SOS system, which works by connecting a network of people across the UK who can provide specialist disability equipment and care consumables to one another as and when they most urgently need it. The charity matches anyone in need with Skiggle members who are willing and able to offer help and support.
The completely free SOS service has come to the aid of many families since Skiggle became a charity just over 12 months ago; from people who have forgotten vital equipment whilst away from home, to those who need something urgently when the only other solution would be a stay in hospital.
Founded by Preston mum, Christine Singleton and carer, Helen Taylor, Skiggle provides a lifeline for people with disabilities and their families. Christine’s eldest child, Will, 17, is profoundly disabled and Helen has worked with Will and been part of the family for the last seven years.
Commenting on the concept for Skiggle, Helen said: “When we all went on holiday and forgot a vital box of milk feed that Will was reliant on, staggeringly the only option available to the family was to travel home or check Will into a regional children’s hospital. It was then we realised how valuable it would have been to have known about a like-minded local family that could have spared a box of feed to let us carry on with our holiday. From there, Skiggle was born.”
In addition to the emergency SOS service, the charity also hosts an online Marketplace where people can donate any unused, unopened specialist disability equipment and care consumables.
Skiggle has a network of around 6,000 people in the UK, but the impact of Covid-19 has highlighted the need for even more people to sign up.
“The more people who sign up to the service, the more options of help there will be when needed,” said Christine. “Since Covid-19, we’ve seen an influx of SOS messages and the movement of products on our Marketplace has soared.
“Increasingly, people within the special needs world were experiencing nationwide stock shortages, our supply chain was cut, and stock was either late, wasn’t arriving, or just wasn’t available. The Department of Health simply stopped supplying the community as well as trying to pull stock back from families with disabled children to boost hospital supplies in case they were needed.
“Across our community, we were all just frantically trying to survive and protect our loved ones as much as we possibly could, so the Skiggle Marketplace really came into its own. It ended up being one of the only places where people could actually source vital supplies. What we have to do now is build on this by growing the charity further and continuing to be there to help people when they need it most.”
To find out more about Skiggle, visit https://www.skiggle.co.uk.