Little Bella Campbell from Glasgow will soon be kept safe during the night, thanks to the donation of a permanent specialist bed from Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, working in partnership with Marks and Spencer.
Three-year-old Bella lives in the Oatlands area of the city with her parents Kirsty Gaughan and Steven Campbell and her six-year-old sister Miley. She struggles to speak, has sensory issues which cause her to feel quite overwhelmed by the world around her, a fascination with water and no awareness of danger. She is also being assessed for pica, a condition characterised by eating non-food items.
Bella struggles to sleep and takes hours to settle, often only sleeping for a few hours at a time. When she is awake she loves to climb and has fallen over the side of her cot in the night and injured herself. However, with no funding available from local statutory services and the appropriate specialist bed costing £6,695, Bella’s parents turned to Newlife charity for help. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.
Recognising the urgency of the situation, Newlife provided the loan of a safe sleeping environment for Bella while they sought to find a permanent solution. Bella’s nursery, TASK Childcare, raised £1,165 and a further £4,368 was donated from fundraising by Amanda Robertson – also from Glasgow – who had originally been fundraising in partnership with Newlife for a specialist bed for her granddaughter Amy. Now a partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer is providing the outstanding amount so Bella won’t come to any harm through the night.
Desperate to keep Bella safe, her parents put her in a travel cot in their room at night so they could watch over her, but this meant they got very little sleep themselves, especially as she would scream when she was awake.
Bella’s mum, Kirsty, said: “It will be amazing to have a permanent SafeSpace for Bella. The loan bed has been brilliant. Before, she would climb out of her cot and I was always scared she would fall and hurt herself, or get downstairs and eat something she shouldn’t. I didn’t sleep at all; it just kept going through my head what could happen – it was horrible.
“Because of the loan bed Bella was able to go back into her own bedroom, which is a lot better for all of us.”
As well as keeping Bella safe from harm, the safe sleeping environment, called a SafeSpace, which is often described as a room within a room, is a low sensory environment which help keep Bella calm and relaxed enough to go back to sleep when she wakes.
Mum Kirsty added: “I can’t believe how much it has helped, she gets a lot more sleep now and is happier and we know that she is safe and is really comfortable – but we really need a SafeSpace of our own.”
A partnership between Newlife and Marks & Spencer is now providing the remaining funding for the equipment.
M&S has worked in partnership with Newlife since 2006 as part of its Plan A commitments, donating returned products and clothing samples that cannot be sold, to the charity to be resold or recycled. The majority of the donated products are sold in the Newlife SuperStore in Cannock and the charity recycles the remaining items, all to raise money for children with disabilities. In October 2010, M&S launched a grants scheme, which has specifically helped fund over 240 pieces of essential equipment, totalling in excess of £815,000 for disabled children in local communities across the UK.
Jacquie Leonard, Community Programme Manager at Marks & Spencer, said: “Our partnership with Newlife is not only great for the environment but it also helps to improve the lives of disabled children by providing much-needed specialist equipment. We are delighted to be able to support such a vital charity.”
Sheila Brown OBE, chief executive of Newlife charity, added: “Our partnership with M&S benefits hundreds of children and their families. It is very encouraging to see the efforts of M&S in helping to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill children within the local community and across the UK. Equipment that costs hundreds to several thousands of pounds really can transform lives. We are very grateful to everyone involved and would encourage other groups and individuals to keep fundraising to help us make a difference.”
Newlife has helped provide £118,065 of equipment for 74 under-19s in Glasgow. Right now, the charity is currently working with seven families in the city with equipment needs totalling £11,236.
To find out more about how Newlife supports families in Glasgow go to: www.newlifecharity.co.uk/glasgowcity.The website includes contact details for the Newlife County Liaison Team – tel no 01543 431 444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – and shows specific ways people can help support children with disability and terminal illness and their families in the city.
Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of monies donated or fundraised in Glasgow will be used to specifically help children with disabilities and terminal illness in the city.
Pictured: Bella Campbell