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A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES AWAITS ERIN

A simple piece of specialist equipment would open up a world of opportunities for Bolton teenager Erin Gregson.

Erin, aged 13, lives with mum and dad Mandy Black and Mike Gregson in Little Lever. She has Cerebral Palsy, limited vision and is profoundly deaf. Erin uses a wheelchair to get around, but needs to be hoisted in and out of it for safety. At home the family has a fixed ceiling track hoist to help them – but that means trips out can be for a limited time only as they usually have to go home to take care of Erin’s toileting needs.

Mum Mandy said: “Facilities with a hoist are few and far between at the majority of places we all enjoy visiting. If we want a day at the seaside we head for Blackpool because we know there are three places in the town that have hoisting facilities for public use. But the other nearby resorts either don’t have facilities or they are not in working order.”

She added: “Erin loves being outside – it doesn’t have to be sunny, just as long as it’s dry. She likes nothing more than to be pushed mile after mile, from first thing in the morning until tea time. Visiting gardens and going for walks in the countryside are a particular favourite – but our trips are always cut short because we either need to get Erin home or plan in a stop-off at a public-access toilet with a hoist.”

Erin also misses out on some of the fun of regular family and friend events all around the Bolton area – as she has to leave early to use the home equipment.

A portable hoist would make a world of difference – but this will cost £1,700 and there is no statutory funding available. Mandy and Mike have £350 towards this equipment – so contacted 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 and has supported 464 under-19s in Lancashire with equipment totalling £546,288.

But applications to the charity have risen by 64 per cent in the last five years, reflecting statutory service budget cuts across the UK. Which is why Newlife needs public support.

We need donors and fundraisers who want to really make a difference. To find out how you can support Erin go to www.newlifecharity.co.uk/lancashire and click on the Donate button next to her story. Alternatively, contact the Newlife County Liaison Team on 01543 431 444, email [email protected]

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Lancashire will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the county. Any money raised surplus to requirements for Erin will be used to help other local children – Newlife is currently working with a total of 22 families in Lancashire with combined equipment needs of £21,836.

Pictured: Erin Gregson

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