Charity that supports families say parents of poorly children feel isolated and lonely

A charity has warned that the families of seriously ill children are much more at risk of suffering from social isolation and feelings of loneliness.

The WellChild charity says there are around a hundred thousand children with long term health needs in the UK - and that its mission is to help those families feel more connected and supported.

One of the parents that told the charity she had experienced this herself, is Cambridgeshire mum Kirstie Latta.

Her four-year-old son Michael has a number of serious medical conditions, and Kirstie has admitted that having to care for their young son has made the family feel cut off from the rest of the community.

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Kirstie and Michael at home in Needingworth Credit: ITV Anglia

Michael has suffered from bronchitis and pneumonia, and he also has learning difficulties and achondroplaysia - which is a form of dwarfism.

The WellChild charity supports children with serious illnesses and exceptional health needs and their families. According to them, 65 per cent of the people they help say they feel socially isolated and alone.

To try to reconnect with people outside of her family unit, Kirstie says she joined the WellChild forum, available to parents who want to discuss their lives with other people that understand what being a carer and a parent is really like.

"He has a lot of hospital admissions and a weakened immune system and really, it means that socialising with other people just doesn't really happen. You have to cancel a lot and eventually, the invitations out just stop." Kirstie said.

"The focus of our lives are very much based around the medical side of things and trying to make the best life possible for Michael and his sister so when you are with others you find that conversation doesn't flow like it should".

"Having other people in a similar boat - for instance on Christmas Day, we had a little group of us who were all doing night duty with their child and it just meant that in the middle of the night, we could ask each other 'how are you getting on?'. It's just so nice to have that."

Kirstie and Michael Credit: ITV Anglia