A simple piece of specialist equipment will mean the Eland family from Walton Le Dale near Preston can finally go on holiday with their disabled four-year-old son.
They need a SafeSpace Voyager which is, in effect, a room within a room which offers a safe and comforting environment for children with complex needs.
Elliot has Angelman Syndrome and epilepsy; while he has limited mobility he is able to crawl and pull himself up – but, crucially, he has no awareness of danger. So at home he sleeps in a special high-sided bed to keep him safe.
Mum Gale Eland said: “Elliot can’t sleep in a standard bed. He would be up and playing – or falling out of it. And because he has no awareness of danger anything could happen!”
Gale and her husband Craig are members of the Angelman Syndrome Support Education and Research Trust and found out about SafeSpace Voyagers at one of the organisation’s conferences.
Gale said: “Since Elliot has grown too big for a standard cot, we haven’t been able to go away on holiday because we know we can’t keep him safe at night. We would love to be able to rent a caravan and go away – and the SafeSpace Voyager would allow us to do this. It would also mean we could stay with family and friends around the country.”
However, the equipment costs £2,754 – which has prompted the family to turn to leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has funded 242 Equipment Grants for children in Lancashire, totalling £358,639, and provides a range of other practical support services.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “As cutbacks continue to bite into local authority budgets we can expect to see applications for Newlife equipment services continue to rise. As a charity we are looking increasingly to ‘local heroes’ to help us help children in individual counties – and Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of all monies donated or fundraised in Lancashire can be ring-fenced to specifically provide equipment for disabled and terminally ill children within the county boundary.”
If you would like to raise money to help fund a SafeSpace Voyager for Elliot, the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on freephone 0800 988 4640. Any individual or organisation thinking of running a fundraising event is asked to contact the team, who can offer support and guidance.
Any monies collected surplus to requirements for Elliot would be used to provide specialist equipment for another disabled or terminally ill child in Lancashire. Newlife is currently working with 15 families in the county, with equipment needs of £40,278.
Pictured: Elliot Eland.