The Athlone Trust (registered charity no. 277065) was formed in 1978 with assets of the former National Childrens Adoption Association. The objects of the Trust are to provide financial assistance for adopted children in the UK with special educational needs whose families are experiencing hardship.

In recent years we have received many applications to assist parents of adopted children with serious disabilities such as Asperger's Syndrome or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), often as a result of maltreatment or neglect before they were adopted. Indeed the funds are now invariably directed to help pay for school places in the private sector where classes are small so that children with special educational needs can receive appropriate individual help in cases where the fees cannot or will not be paid for by local authorities. In many instances the children are from single parent families where the parent, usually the mother, has decided to devote her life to caring for families of siblings with disturbed behavioural conditions.

Sadly the demand for assistance from the Trust has been increasing exponentially over the last few years. In the academic year 2013/14 the Trustees will have paid out grants of £22,562 to support twenty three children (about three times previous numbers) and have decided to award grants for the year 2014/15 of £25,000 bringing the total commitment over the two academic years to 2015 to £47,562. Of the families assisted, two have received grants towards school fees for two children adopted at the same time in each case and two families have  received grants for school fees for three siblings adopted on the same day; all had serious behavioural and emotional problems and all needed expensive special schooling.

This level of commitment has only been made possible by the generosity of donors in response to the fund raising appeals through the annual sponsored British 10K Run since 2008 and also a substantial legacy in 2011 and a smaller legacy earlier in 2014 from a Trustee. As a consequence, between 2007 and 2013 the available income, after administration and investment management expenses, has increased from £6,492 in 2007 to £17000.in 2013.. Of these amounts the Trustees awarded in the same period grants towards the fees of special schools from £6,738 in 2007 to £31,770 in 2013, and because of the exceptionally heavy demands made in the current and next academic years the Trustees have had to resort to capital...

None of the Trustees receives any remuneration and administration expenses are kept to a minimum. Though still small, the charity nonetheless provides valuable funds, without which seriously disturbed children might not otherwise be able to receive the proper care and specialist teaching needed.

Despite the increase in income from the legacies , the Trust continues to need additional funding - in the last month alone already four new applications have been received - if the Trustees are to be allowed not only to carry out our present commitments out of income, but also to meet the anticipated demand from adopted children with special needs.  With local authorities being exhorted to expedite the process of adoption of children in care whilst suffering cutbacks in funding it is inevitable that the the Trust's assistance is going to be even more urgently needed. All donations will be most gratefully received.