QEF, a charity which has been at the heart of the Surrey community for more than 85 years, is facing an uncertain future due to the impact of Covid-19 on its fundraising and donations.

With an estimated shortfall in funding of £1m by the end of July, Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for Disabled People (QEF) has done everything possible to try to find solutions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on its services. It still needs to raise £500,000 by September if they are to continue their vital work providing expert services to adults and children with disabilities or acquired brain injuries.

To support them in this mission they have launched the ‘Survive and Thrive’ appeal. In normal times, the charity supports more than 6,000 disabled children and adults every year, enabling them to develop key skills, increase their mobility, maximise their independence and receive life-changing support from its neurorehabilitation team. Today the future of these services, that thousands of people rely on, is at risk.  

QEF Chief Executive, Karen Deacon, said: “In January this year we were financially stable and looking forward to opening our new care and rehabilitation centre and celebrating our 85th anniversary – a huge milestone in any charity’s life – but now  like many others, we are struggling to keep our services going. This is not business as usual and we have been changing our approach to try to combat the financial losses we have suffered. Since March we have done everything we can to maximise self-help first, before asking for money; prioritising our essential, front line services to support the most vulnerable people, furloughing more than 100 staff, temporarily closing three vital mobility services and launching new virtual fundraising activities but it just hasn’t been enough.

We are launching this appeal now as we need help to ensure our expert services can survive, so that the disabled people that rely on us can thrive. We really value all the support the Surrey community has given QEF in the past, but we need them now more than ever. If we can bridge this gap in our funding, then we can ensure a positive future for the charity and the people who rely on our services.”

The charity had to temporarily close its three mobility focused services in March which resulted in the cancellation of 165 mobility and driving assessments, depriving adults and children of the chance to become more independent. 

This included subsidiary charity, MERU, which provides the Bugzi loan scheme for young disabled children under five years old. Bugzi is a small indoor powered wheelchair for young children with complex mobility challenges which offer them life transforming independence, allowing kids with limited or no mobility to move around and be able to play with their siblings or just explore the world around them more freely.

The charity has a host of fundraising activities planned over the next few months to encourage people to support them, including The Big Ride or Stride, a virtual bike ride and walking event, as well as the Queen Tea event, in honour of the charity’s founding supporter, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, where there will be the opportunity to win a virtual tea party with celebrities.

To find out more and support QEF’s Survive and Thrive appeal visit: qef.org.uk/surviveandthrive