The family of a Stafford five-year-old who has Downs Syndrome are finding it much easier to go out and about now they have a specialist car seat which helps with transfers in and out of the vehicle and also keeps him safe and supported – all thanks to fabulous fundraisers at Central England Co-operative.
Toby Baker from Moss Pit in Stafford also has a condition which affects his joints – they move far beyond the usual range – and he isn’t able to walk or stand without help. In addition, he has developmental delay and no awareness of danger. He had been using a standard car seat with a five-point harness to keep him safe, but this was becoming too small. Mum Sally was also struggling to get him in and out of the car seat, a situation made much worse when she broke her wrist.
With nothing suitable for Toby available on the mainstream market, and with the specialist equipment Toby needs costing £1,635, Sally turned to Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Thanks to the partnership between Newlife and Central England Co-operative, Toby was quickly able to receive the car seat he needed. Newlife has been Central England Co-operative’s staff-elected charity since 2012. Colleagues and customers have raised an amazing £1.3million for Newlife, which has helped more than 600 disabled and terminally ill children in the retailer’s trading area get the specialist equipment they so urgently need.
Mum Sally said: “Toby goes stiff when you try to get him into the car, but this seat has a turntable base which swings out, so it’s much easier to get him in and out now. He’s also more supported and really comfortable when we are in the car.
“As well as taking Toby to school I also need to take Jessica, aged 14, and Charlie, aged ten, to school, so that’s a lot of driving to and from three different schools.”
Gemma Highton, Store Manager at Silkmore Lane Food Store, in Stafford, said: “Central England Co-operative takes fundraising to help local communities very seriously, and we are committed to making a positive impact in the local areas in which we trade. Working with Newlife has provided a great opportunity for us to help make life easier for youngsters like Toby.”
Newlife provides equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness through a range of services. Equipment Grants fund permanent provision; Emergency Equipment Loans support children with unstable, life-threatening or life-limiting illness and those who face injury due to the absence of appropriate equipment; Play Therapy Pods offer loans of sensory toys which aid development; Comfort Capsules help families of terminally ill children make memories. All services are accessed through the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 (free from UK mobiles and landlines).
Newlife has helped 987 children in Staffordshire, with equipment totalling £1,071,970. However, right now there are a further 31 children waiting for help. To find out how you could help a child in the county, go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/staffordshire. Alternatively, call the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 – or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Toby Baker