Six-year-old Jacob Gardiner has just received specialist seating to support his health needs thanks to the donation of equipment from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, working in partnership with Marks and Spencer.
Jacob, from Liverpool, has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy; as a result his mobility is severely restricted. Statutory services have provided most of the specialist equipment he needs at home with his mum in Prescot – but he also requires supportive equipment when he and his brother Joshua stay with their dad in Old Swan.
Dad Paul said: “Jacob’s home address is under a different local authority, which means we can’t get duplicate equipment for my house – so Newlife has provided us with things like a bath chair and a seating system. Jacob was getting too big for the seat he had and his occupational therapist recommended a new, bigger, multi-adjustable seat on a mobile base to give him the best possible support and help prevent further health issues. This will also help Jacob access other activities with the family that he might otherwise struggle with – things that we can often take for granted.”
Paul added: “Jacob and his brother come to stay with me every weekend and for longer periods during the school holidays, so this seating is crucial.”
With no funding available from local statutory services and the seating costing almost £3,000, Paul turned to Newlife for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
A partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer has now provided the equipment.
M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Staffordshire and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 240 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £815,000 for disabled children in local communities across the UK.
Jacquie Leonard, Community Programme Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment. We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”
Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife charity, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK. Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”
Newlife has helped provide £585,069 of equipment for 628 under-19s across Merseyside. Right now, the charity is currently working with another 31 families in the area with equipment needs totalling £15,139.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Merseyside go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/merseyside. The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the area.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Merseyside will be used to specifically help local children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Pictured (L to R): Jacob with brother Joshua