Four-year-old Cory Woollacott will soon be getting a specialist car seat to support his health needs when travelling, thanks to the donation of equipment from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children working in partnership with Marks and Spencer.
Cory, from Chudleigh in Devon, has a complex condition including epilepsy, reduced muscle control and learning difficulties; he can’t walk or talk and has limited hearing and vision. Standard car seats don’t offer the postural support he needs to sit upright when travelling and mum Amy Boxall often has to stop the car to reposition his head so his breathing isn’t compromised. With his school 30 minutes’ drive away in Dartington and frequent medical appointments in Exeter and Torquay, travelling isn’t an option.
However, Amy will soon have peace of mind – as the £2,055 car seat Cory needs is now on order.
Amy said: “The new equipment has extra head and side supports and a five-point harness to keep Cory properly positioned in the seat – and it reclines so if he falls asleep his airway will remain clear, rather than his head flopping forwards which can cause problems. The additional padding means it will also be more comfortable; the ‘bog standard’ seat he has at the moment isn’t supportive for him so he cries and kicks a lot.
“This seat also has a swivel base, which will make it much easier to get Cory in and out of the car, especially as he gets bigger. One of the problems we currently have is that he flings his upper body about so if he is having a meltdown or even a seizure, he can bang himself on the car as I manoeuvre him in and out. So this will reduce the chances of him hurting himself.”
With no funding available from local statutory services, on the recommendation of friends who had received support for their disabled children Amy 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 is now providing 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 £458,530 of equipment for 328 under-19s in Devon. Right now, the charity is currently working with another ten families in the county with equipment needs totalling £6,107.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Devon go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/devon. 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 county.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Kent will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county.
Pictured: Cory Woollacott