A simple piece of specialist equipment will help open up a world of opportunities for the family of four-year-old Elliot Eland from Walton Le Dale near Preston.
They will now be able to visit friends and family for overnight stays and are looking forward to taking a much needed holiday next year, thanks to provision of a SafeSpace Voyager by leading children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation.
The equipment is, in effect, a portable room which offers a safe and comforting environment for children with complex needs.
Newlife was supported by the Elands’ friend and local (Preston) fundraiser Stefan Maslaczyk, who took part in the Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride earlier this month (July) and raised £200 to help fund the SafeSpace.
Elliot has Angelman Syndrome and epilepsy; while he has limited mobility he is able to crawl and pull himself up, 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 – who are expecting another child – 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. Thanks to the SafeSpace, we are now looking forward to renting a caravan next summer. We have friends in London and are planning to see them too.”
She added: “The SafeSpace is quite easy to set up and we’ve had a trial run with it at home. It is really going to open up lots of opportunities – not only for Elliot but for the whole family.”
The cost of the equipment – £2,754 – prompted the Elands to turn to Newlife Foundation for help. Newlife has funded more than £385,000 of specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children in Lancashire, 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’ like Stefan 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 children within the county boundary.”
If you would like to help disabled and terminally ill children in Lancashire, 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.
Newlife is currently working with another 14 families in the county, with equipment needs of £31,521.
Pictured: Elliot Eland.
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