Every time three-year-old Rowan Crockford goes to bed he’s in serious danger.
Rowan from Swanley in Kent has Cerebral Palsy. He can’t walk, has poor eyesight, epilepsy and no concept of danger so frequently throws himself over the sides of his cot or gets his arms and legs stuck in the bars.
Despite Rowan’s obvious complex health issues Kent County Council say his condition isn’t serious enough for them to provide a specialist bed, instead suggesting he sleep on a mattress on the floor!
Recognising the significant risk of injury Rowan was facing every night by not having a specialist bed, Newlife the charity for disabled children responded with an emergency loan of one through its equipment loan service.
Mum Kathryn said: “The council said they wouldn’t provide a bed because he didn’t require oxygen or have a tracheostomy – an opening in his throat for a tube to help him breathe.
“It’s frustrating when you explain how desperately you need help for your child, yet receive nothing because of how the council decides to spend funds.
“The battle for equipment is only something you understand when you are thrust into the world of children with special needs – you have to fight for everything. It’s exhausting to feel like doors are repeatedly slammed in your face.
“It’s not possible to just pop out and buy what you need, specialist equipment always comes with a specialist price tag which is why so many people end up turning to charities for help.”
This wasn’t the first refusal the family had received from Kent County Council. A year ago when applying for a special needs buggy they were told Rowan was too young to qualify, and instead suggested using rolled up towels to prop him up in his high-street pushchair. Once again Newlife came through for the family, providing a buggy costing £1,842 through its equipment grant services.
Mum Kathryn concluded: “When Newlife were able to help it really brought some peace. The bed has really made life better. Rowan is really happy to go to bed now and although he still wakes frequently, he can’t hurt himself.”
Newlife is the only charity providing emergency loans of specialist equipment for disabled and terminally ill children, and aims to deliver the equipment within 72 hours. Newlife then works with the family and local health services to ensure that a long-term solution is put into place.
Newlife has provided urgently needed equipment to more than 1,000 children in the last five years.
Carrick Brown, Newlife’s Senior Manager of the Care Services Department, said: “We’re seeing a worrying increase in the number of cases of children who are being denied equipment by local health services despite them being at significant risk of immediate injury or worse. Last year we provided 250 emergency equipment loans of equipment, a 16per cent increase on the previous year.
“Just £1,100 would provide two children with the emergency equipment they need to save or change their lives.”
Please help us to help children like Rowan by making a donation to our Emergency Response Appeal here: www.newlife.support/GiveEEL