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Seven Families project? You may or may not have heard of this fantastic charity led campaign which helped seven families facing financial difficulties due to unexpected illnesses.

What was the Seven Families all about?

Seven Families was a charity led initiative that was funded significantly by many UK insurance companies. The purpose of the project was to find seven families who had been experienced serious financial difficulty through long-term illness or disability, with a core breadwinner being unable to work.

The families that were selected to receive the benefits of the 7Families project, were given one years tax-free income, to help them get through the everyday difficulties that come with a serious long-term health condition. Some of the families used the money for medical treatment, rehabilitiation.

Who were the Seven Families?

Family 1 - The Clarke family

The Seven Families thing has just been an amazing adventure and an enormous blessing - Tracey

The first family to receive help from the 7Families initiative were Tim and Tracey Clarke. Tracey received £600 per month for one year, to help towards her standard of living after her eyesight reduced to just 2% and she was unable to carry on working. The Clarke's had to sell their home and live on a houseboat after she became blind. Tracey was able to use the money to purchase a laptop and specialist reading technology, as well as other things like solar panels for the houseboat and helping her daughter with her wedding. Tracey found the additional support of having experts and people to talk to through the 7Families more valuable than the money.


Family 2 - The Pinder family

I'm 50 years old now and I feel 35, my body feels 70, but feel more positive through 7families that I can look forward to the future. Life does not stop, life continues. - Daniel

Daniel Pinder was able to work despite being deaf and having epilepsy, until he was diagnosed with multiple scleroris. The 7Families charity stepped in to help Daniel and with their support he was able to access the RED ARC medical network who were able to facilitate his use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO), significantly improving the symptoms of the multiple sclerosis.


Family 3 - The Pickford family

Seven Families..has been literally been the only help and support that we have had. They have played a massive massive part - Vicky, Pauls' wife

Paul Pickford was the the third person to benefit from the 7Families project. Having had a brain stem stroke and being left paralysed, Paul was unable to carry on working for a long time. With the funds that he received from the 7Families, he was able to pay for additional rehabilitation and given access to experts who could help support his recovery.


Family 4 - The Thornley family

The support we have received from 7families has been fantastic, last couple of weeks has been really beneficial, especially obviously with my predicament (redundancy), and theres really given us the extra safety net shall we say for obviously paying bills and all other expenses that home life brings. - Phil, Nikki's husband

The fourth person to benefit from the 7families charity was Nikki Thornley, who was left paralysed following a motorcycle and unable to continue her current role as a police officer. The Thornley's had been planning on redesigning their house with their young children in mind, but with the new physical challenges that Nikki has with every day living, the new house build was altered to fit her needs. After many months of rehabilitation, Nikki was able to return to work, a huge personal achievement meaning that she could continue her lifelong dream of being a police officer.


Family 5 - The Snell family

I've had some great support from Seven Families, I mean, one of the biggest areas, there's a lady called Julie who offers like health psychology support, where she talks you through, how you feeling, how you are getting better, where you want to go, so looking at almost life planning. - Graeme

Graeme Snell was the fifth person to helped by the 7famillies project, following a double stroke. Through the 7families, Graeme had access to RedArc nurses and support groups who were able to help him to come to terms with having had a stroke. The income support provided by the charity allowed Graeme to take time to focus on his rehabilitation, rather than pushing himself too hard to get back to work. Graeme took the opportunity to start a new career as a trainer in his previous profession as well as take on some voluntary work.


Family 6 - The Norbert family

All the help that I've had, it's been a wonderful experience. With the help of Seven Families, you know, it has helped me to do things and achieve things, you know, which have put me in good stead. - Paul

The sixth person to benefit from the 7families initiative was Paul Norbert, who had worked as a driving instructor for many years, but eventually had to give up his job due to having bipolar disorder. 7families arranged for Paul to work with a Staying Well Care Coordinator to put in place a plan to manage his condition and start the process of returning to work. Through his hard work Paul was able to study for an Open University degree, take part in voluntary work and return to work as a driving instructor.


Family 7 - The Knights family

Thankfully, Red Arc and Seven Families came forward and said they would pay the appointments. Obviously the money has helped hugely, um, and I probably wouldn't have been able to afford to take the journey down and pay for the appointments for three of us had I have not had that. It's going to benefit us all. - Melanie

The final family to benefit from the 7families charity was the Knights, when mum Melanie had to give up work as a midwife due to arthritis, degenerative disc disease and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Melanie found it difficult to get help with her diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos due to the lack of specialists in the North East, but was able to learn about specialist medical centres available elsewhere in the UK, through support groups that she was introduced to. The financial support that she received from the 7families helped her to attend appointments and the travel costs of seeing these specialists, so that she could get the advice needed for both her and her children.

How will this work for others?

The 7Families project took a handful of case study families to give an annual income to, as an example of how protecting the household income in the event of ill health is so important. Whilst it has worked extremely well for the seven families above, it would not be possible for a charity to give such funds to everyone who is unable to work due to ill health. Ultimately, as with most things in life, it comes down to money.

The key lesson from the 7Families project is the benefit that can be had from protecting your income in the event of ill health, before you become ill. Yes, I am an insurance adviser and can arrange these products, and it could easily be argued that this guide is just an attempt on my part to generate business. But, the message I am trying to get across by writing this article is for people to genuinely stop and think about how they could afford to live, if they lost their income.

Use me, use a different insurance broker, just make sure that you have a clear picture in your head about how you would manage your finances if you fall ill. Any adviser worth their salt will happily give you a no obligation rundown of how to protect your income if you fall ill and become unable to work.

The Future of 7families

It would be wonderful to see further charity work like that of the 7families initiative, a project that doesn't just throw money at people and leave them to their own devices, but one that coordinates and makes practical steps to empower people with health conditions to live a rewarding life.

Ultimately, the 7families was an industry wide effort to showcase the importance of income protection. For the seven families that were helped by this campaign, the impact of having some income replacement in place, was invaluable. The funds gave access to specialist medical professionals, adaptive equipment and the peace of mind that rushing back to work was not needed. The income replacement allowed these families to focus upon adapting their lives to their new circumstances, without the added pressure of wondering where the next pay cheque would come from. Something, I think, that most people would be grateful for if they couldn't work.

To see more about the work of the 7families charity visit here. Here you can find out how financially stable you are with the Seven Families Fincible game.

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